And the winner is ....
|Capt. Paul takes a victory lap after winning
the race for 24 Sussex.
OTTAWA - Paul Martin and the
Liberals eked out a win but fell 20 seats short of a majority, in an
election campaign that saw negative ads, name calling, mudslinging
and resulted in a record low voter turnout of 60.5 per cent.
The Liberals defied the pre-election-day
polls showing they were neck and neck with the Conservatives and won
36 more seats than the Tories' 99.
Some are saying the difference was a large, last minute shift of NDP
voters to the Liberals across the country.
Despite the victory, the Liberals were dented badly, losing 34 seats
and five cabinet ministers, including the Defence Minister, David
Pratt. And despite the loss of seats in Quebec, the Liberals
performed strongly in Ontario, winning 45 per cent of the popular
vote and 75 of the province's 106 seats.
Ontario's decision to back the Liberals in large numbers was the
difference between a Conservative minority and a Liberal minority.
The Conservatives won 24 seats in the province, which is 20 seats
more than they had going into the election, but still not the gains
many were predicting before election day. Credit is being
given to the Liberals' efforts to paint the Conservatives as a
socially conservative party for hurting the Conservatives in urban
Ontario, where the Tories were shut out of seats in Toronto and won
just one in Ottawa. The trend was similar in urban areas in Quebec,
Manitoba and British Columbia as well.
Although they gained votes and seats, the NDP also failed to meet
expectations, winning 19 seats. Another seat would have given NDP
Leader Jack Layton enough to create a majority when combined with
the Liberals' 135. For now, the Liberals will have to work with two
other parties, not just the NDP, when they want to get something
through the House.
The Bloc Quebecois is the only party to meet expectations and emerge
stronger after election day. The Bloc won 48.8 per cent of the
popular vote in Quebec, which translated into 54 of the province's
75 seats. The 54 seats matches an all-time high for the Bloc,
reached in 1993 when Lucien Bouchard became leader of the Official
Opposition. The Bloc appears to have hit its ceiling in terms of
support and seats and is probably in no rush to return to the
campaign trail as their influence in Ottawa may never be greater.
The prime minister remains the prime minister. Finishing second to
Stephen Harper and the Conservatives could have been a fatal blow to
Martin's long campaign to be prime minister. And even though Martin
doesn't have a majority, he believes that is a minor problem and
last week compared his situation to that of former prime minister
Lester Pearson, who lead two minority governments in the 1960s, and
former Ontario premier Bill Davis, who also did not have a majority
for a five-period in the 1970s. With no coalition with other
parties, Martin must now perform a delicate balancing act, seeking
support from the Bloc and the NDP on some items -- Kyoto -- while
seeking support from the Conservatives on others -- missile defence.
The last minority federal government in Canadian history - Joe Clark
in 1979 -- lasted nine months and was defeated in the following
election. With the high level of political animosity in Ottawa over
the past year it will be interesting to see how long Paul Martin's
minority government will last and whether he is more like Lester
Pearson or more like Joe Clark.
POLITICSWATCH ELECTIONWATCH 2004 HIGHLIGHTS
majority, no problem: PM says he has a mandate and won't cut any
deals; will test confidence "in due time"
(June 29, 2004)
Prime Minister Paul Martin says he has already
spoken with Governor General Adrienne Clarkson but did not say when
he will test if he has the confidence of the House, saying he will
recall Parliament "in due time."
gets his mandate, but Layton gets pull; Ontario comes through
big time for the Liberals
(June 29, 2004)
Prime Minister Paul Martin says he's received
Canadians' message and promised the Liberals will do better after
voters stopped the Liberals from winning their fourth majority
government. The Conservatives failed to breakthroughs in Ontario,
and the NDP, even though they did not win the 40 seats they were
targeting, are elated with the results as they now hold the balance
of power. Green Party shut out.
election editorial: A message to the youth of Canada: Darwinian Democracy and why your vote counts
(June 28, 2004)
PoliticsWatch.com has decided to publish a rare
editorial for today's election. But instead of endorsing a party or
candidate, we are endorsing democracy.
home stretch feature: It's down to the wire! ElectionWatch 2004
(Updated June 22, 2004)
neck and neck in the homestretch between Paul Martin and Stephen Harper . Our special ElectionWatch 2004 page
gives you an overview of the race for 24 Sussex to date and provides the
links to all kinds of voter information, the big media outlets, and
the best political blogs.
sandwiched by wedge issue
(June 16, 2004)
In a microcosm of the
English-language debate, Prime Minister Paul Martin had to fend off
attacks from Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe on where he and his
party stands on same-sex marriage.
war rooms: A debate blow-by-blow from the party war rooms
(June 15, 2004)
See what its like to be a
political reporter's BlackBerry, as PoliticsWatch gives you an
overview of the Liberal, Conservative and NDP electronic spin
machines in action during the French-language leaders' debate.
platform demands better and $58B
(June 5, 2004)
The Conservatives released their
platform today with a cost of an additional $58 billion in spending
and tax cuts over the next five years.
platform looks to move Canada forward
(June 3, 2004)
Prime Minister Paul Martin
unveiled a Liberal Party platform in Windsor today that focuses on
social spending, such as child care, but has a price tag of just
between $26 and $28 billion over five years. The Conservatives
will release their platform Saturday.
NDP Leaves Grits,
with platform (May 26, 2004)
While the NDP is promising a Canada where no one is left behind, today it left behind the two other national parties in releasing its election platform, which calls for cutting tuition fees and restoring the federal commitment to health-care spending to 25 per cent while at the same time balancing budgets.
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