Harper's Conservatives win parliamentary majority in Canada

13:27, May 03, 2011      

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Photo released by Canada's Conservative Party shows its leader and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses a rally in Stratford, Prince Edward Island, Canada, May 1, 2011. (Xinhua Photo)

A landslide victory of Canada's Conservatives led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Monday's general elections will allow the party to form a majority government, the first in seven years in the North American country.

Having seen three minority governments since 2004, Canadian voters bought Harper's pitch for a strong and stable government to boost efficiency.

According to projections, the Conservatives would garner 166 of the 308 seats up for grabs, the New Democratic Party (NDP) would triple its number of seats to more than 100 and become the official opposition.

The Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois went down to defeat with 34 and three seats respectively. The Green Party would have one seat in parliament.

In 2008 elections, the Conservatives won 143 seats, the Liberals 77, the Bloc Quebecois 49, and the NDP 37 seats.

In the electoral campaign, Harper had warned that the opposition parties might form a coalition to force him out of office. He often warned of a "reckless coalition" of opposition parties.

Some Canadian observers saw the division of parliamentary seats between Harper's neo-conservatives and Jack Layton's leftist NDP as a polarization of Canadian politics.

As the official opposition, the NDP will enjoy a far larger parliamentary budget, a special status in the House of Commons, a government-owned mansion for its leader, and much more media coverage.

NDP leader Layton saw voters' aspirations for change. "You voted to end the same old wars and political games," he told his supporters.

"Canadians have asked New Democrats to take on more responsibility in parliament. For the first time, they have asked us to serve as the official opposition in parliament. We're going to work very hard to earn the trust that Canadians placed in us. I have always preferred proposition instead to opposition."

The Liberal Party, led by Michael Ignatieff, a former Harvard professor and British Broadcasting Corporation commentator and war correspondent, suffered a crushing defeat.

Ignatieff, the former leader of the opposition in parliament, even lost his seat in the House of Commons.

The Liberal Party was one of the world's most long-time and successful political parties. Even before Canada became a country in 1867 the Liberals were an important force.

It held power through most of the 20th century because it enjoyed massive popularity in Quebec and the most populated province of Ontario.

Quebec's seats make up almost 25 percent of the seats in the House of Commons.

However, Ignatieff did not resign as party leader on election night. He promised to accept "any role" that his party would choose for him as it would rebuild.

"Democracy teaches hard lessons, and we have to learn them all," Ignatieff told his supporters.

"Defeat is a teacher. I have learned more in my life from those defeats than from my victory ... There was a yearning for change. We can be proud of our responsibility for creating that yearning, but unfortunately we were not the beneficiaries of it," he said.

The Conservatives made strong inroads into the former Liberal stronghold of Toronto, winning almost all seats in the suburbs, an area that has lots of immigrant votes.

However, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and two other cabinet ministers Gary Lunn and Jean-Pierre Blackburn lost their parliamentary seats.

Elizabeth May was elected as the first Green Party member of parliament. "Today we proved that Canadians want change in politics," she said.

Harper's Conservative government fell on March 25 in a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons.

Source: Xinhua

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