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Tory minority

[PoliticsWatch Updated 2:00 a.m. January 24, 2006]

OTTAWA  — 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 seats. 

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 government.

"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 top job. 

"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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