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The end of the First World War marked many changes in Canada and the world. Another change which was underway as the post war years began was that of the changing of the guard for both the Liberal and the Conservative parties. The earth shaking events of the Great War, the Russian Revolution, and the general reallocation of people and resources in the Canadian economy and community, had created a new political landscape.

In 1917 Mackenzie King, who was the incumbent MP for the York North riding had decided that he would not run in the upcoming general election. The Laurier banner had lost it's lustre in Ontario, the conscription question would hurt his chances in a pro-conscription riding and the fact that thousands of women, who would back the Conservatives, would now be able to vote, all conspired against him, It was only when Laurier made a direct appeal to King telling him "you must run" that he gave in and joined the election fray. He lost, but only by about 1,000 votes which was not bad considering the Conservative landslide in most other parts of Ontario.

King channelled his efforts into developing his skills as a mediator and student of labour management relations. He worked for the Rockefellers and Andrew Carnegie in the U.S. wrote a book on labour economics. On February 17, 1919 word came that Laurier had passed away and King was immediately at work determining his chances of successfully running for the leadership of the Liberal Party. He shrewdly analysed the situation and realized that he had stuck with the party during the rough times and had not deserted to the Union banner, he was a young dynamic contender going up against W.S. Fielding who was over 70 and had voted for conscription, and the Liberals would start with a lock on Quebec due to the Conservatives conscription position.

King also knew that the Liberals were well positioned to win the general election due to the grass roots strength the held across the country, the view many had of the new Conservative leader and an overall desire for change in government. He came in out favour of old age pensions, unemployment insurance, a form of medial support, pensions for widows and  a role for labour in the economy. His speech at the convention in August, was very good and his praise of Laurier and portraying himself as the heir to the Liberal tradition brought the delegates to their feet. By the fourth ballot he final managed to pull ahead of Fielding, 476 votes to 438.

Arthur Meighen had first meet Robert Borden in the small Manitoba town of Portage la Prairie where they exchanged a few brief words, but Borden was impressed. By 1911 when Border took power, Meighen was elected as an MP and by 1913 he was made Solicitor General which started him on his climb to the party leadership. During the war he investigated was profiteering and ran up against Sam Hughes and another future Conservative Prime Minister R.B. Bennett. He also wrote and guided the Wartime Elections Act through Parliament in 1917 and then took responsibility for implementing the conscription laws. This relationship with these two pieces of legislation made him damage goods in Quebec for the rest of his life.

After the war he became the Federal representative during the handling of the Winnipeg General Strike and during that event he alienated the labour forces completely by being a strong backer of business and the authorities.

By the spring of 1920 Sir Robert Borden was exhausted and tired. He had been in politics since the death of Macdonald and was ready to retire. He supported Meighen as his handpicked successor and on July 10th, 1920 after Meighen had won the Conservative leadership race, Borden and Meighen made a visit to the Governor General's residence and Meighen was sworn in as Prime Minister.

At 46 Meighen was the youngest Prime Minister in Canadian history and seemed fit to continue the Conservative dominance in the Federal parliament. Meighen and King had been classmates at the University of Toronto and Meighen was sure he could handle King, as were many other Conservative leaders for the next 30 years. By December 29th, 1921 he was out of office and Mackenzie King was Prime Minister. The transition to new leadership had been made and it was to prove to be a tough one for the Conservatives.