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Canada election results open thread

Just in case there isn’t news to report before I shut off for the night, I wanted to put up an open thread for folks to post about the results in the Canadian elections.

UPDATE (3:30 AM): AP reports Harper and the Conservatives won, but it will be a minority government.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper is seen after winning the federal election. (CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson)

Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party won national elections Monday and ended 13 years of Liberal rule, a victory expected to move Canada rightward on social and economic issues and lead to improved ties with the United States…With nearly all votes counted in the race for the 308-seat House, officials results showed Conservatives with 123 seats; Liberals with 103; Bloc Quebecois with 50, New Democratic Party with 28; and one seat to an Independent. Three seats still haven’t been determined.

…Prime Minister Paul Martin conceded defeat and said he would step down as head of the party, though remain in Parliament to represent the Montreal seat he won again. It was an unusual move to do both on the same night, but Martin appeared upbeat and eager to continue to fight the Conservatives from the opposition benches of the House.

The Canadian Press adds more detail:

The Tory leader won the election aided by gains in Ontario and a Liberal collapse of historic proportions in Quebec. But he failed to capture a single seat in the country’s three biggest cities – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver – indicating a stubborn urban-rural divide.

Harper’s government will be a far tamer animal than the mighty Liberal and Tory majorities of the last 20 years. With 124 seats, Harper could be forced to negotiate every piece of legislation that goes through the 308-seat House of Commons.

That should ease fears by many that he will try to ban gay marriage and that his backbenchers might try to reopen the abortion debate.

It’s a massive win for Harper, who was dismissed as unelectable less than two years ago when he took the reins of a new party born out of a merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives.

As expected, the Conservatives dominated in the West, taking most ridings in the Prairies and scoring a clean sweep in Alberta, while dropping several seats in B.C.

Their big breakthrough was Ontario, where they won 40 seats, up from 24 the last time around. They also collected 10 seats in Quebec, a province where they have been shut out.

In Atlantic Canada, the expected Conservative breakthrough didn’t materialize, delivering only nine of the 32 seats in the region, up just two from the last time around.

The Liberals lost seats nearly everywhere, but suffered the most damage in Ontario, where they gave up 21 of the 75 ridings won in 2004.

In Quebec, the Liberals suffered their worst defeat in history – matching the 13-seat low of 1882.

Voters take a chance, accept Stephen Harper for change

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding