Historic Shift: Canada’s Conservatives Win Landslide Election Victory
Canada’s Conservatives stormed to a decisive victory in Monday’s federal election, winning 54 percent of the seats in Parliament and securing a stable four-year term in power after vowing to focus on the economy.
The Conservatives grabbed 167 seats in Canada’s Parliament, well above the 155 they needed to transform their minority government into a majority, according to provisional results. They won about 40 percent of the vote, beating expectations.
The victory, a relief for Canadian financial markets, left support for the separatist Bloc Quebecois in tatters and the party’s leader without a seat. Bloc Quebecois advocates independence for the province of Quebec.
The Liberals, who have ruled Canada for more years than any other party, were reduced to a dismal third place showing with their worst ever seat haul.
The nightmare scenario of an unstable minority government headed by the pro-labor New Democratic Party never came to pass. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper now has free rein to keep corporate taxes low in the nation of more than 34 million people, and bring in a string of tax breaks once he balances the budget, projected within four years.
In a classic understatement, and recognition of the obvious, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff lamented to his party’s faithful that “We have seen tonight, I think, the emergence of a polarization in Canadian politics.”