[PoliticsWatch Updated 2:00 a.m. January 24, 2006]
Prime Minister designate Stephen Harper.
Get used to it.
The economist turned political leader helped lead the Conservative
party out of the political wilderness and back into power on Monday
night, winning over 120 seats.
The Tory victory ends 12 years of Liberal rule in Canada.
But the Tory win was not decisive, as Harper and his party is 30
votes short of controlling Parliament.
The NDP was also a big winner in the vote, picking up 11
The defeat for the Liberals prompted a quick resignation by Prime
Minister Paul Martin as Liberal leader. Martin told his supporters
he would not lead the Grits into the next election.
"I have never been so proud of this country and I am overwhelmed being asked to lead
it," Harper told supporters in Calgary.
"I look forward to working with all of the parties and all of the members of Parliament to build consensus and move this great country forward."
Harper will have to as he lacks full control of the House.
NDP Leader Jack Layton told supporters in Toronto that the NDP
planned to cooperate with Harper.
"We will be working hard to find ways to cooperate with the new government in
Parliament," Layton said.
"That said, while the people of Canada asked Mr. Harper to form a minority government, the people of Canada also asked New Democrats to balance that
"Canadians have asked New Democrats to oppose it everywhere where it should be
opposed. Canadians want us to challenge and scrutinize its proposals, to propose better ideas and to make sure that Parliament puts working families first."
While the Liberal party was not decimated in the election, as many
had predicted, its defeat was still very damaging.
Not only has its leader resigned, but the election-night casualties
include Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, Government House Leader
Tony Valeri, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew, and Treasury
Board President Reg Alcock.
Four other cabinet ministers were defeated Monday night.
The most surprising thing about the Conservative victory was the
breakthrough in Quebec.
No one could have predicted the Conservatives winning more than one
seat before this campaign started, but the Tories picked up 10 seats
in Quebec, including Lawrence Cannon in Pontiac and Josee Verner in
Louis -- St. Laurent. Those two are expected to in Harper's cabinet.
"Together we will give Quebec power, authority and pride,"
Harper said in his victory speech.
Harper also reached out to Western Canadians, which have grown
alienated with the country's inability to elect westerners into the
"The west has wanted in. The west is in now."
Former prime minister Brian Mulroney congratulated Harper on his
victory, but offered limited advice.
"All I can do is wish him well and tell him to say close to his
family," Mulroney said.
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