24 January 2006

Harper wins. . . or does he?

After a dozen years in power, the Liberal Party has been defeated, and the Conservatives will form a minority government, with leader Stephen Harper as Prime Minister. With 36.25% of the vote, the Conservatives have won 124 seats, including 10 seats in Québec, where Conservative voters are generally scarce as hen's teeth. Paul Martin's Liberals won but 103 seats, with 30.22% of the vote. Although Martin himself retained his own seat, he has announced his intention to quit as party leader.

The cloud in Harper's silver lining is that the separatist Bloc québécois now holds the balance of power, having won 51 seats and 10.48% of the vote. Will he be able to govern with the help of the Bloc, or is this the beginning of the end of Canadian unity? Jack Layton's New Democrats have 29 seats, with 17.49% of the vote.

A few items of interest:

  • Chris Charlton won my own riding of Hamilton Mountain for the NDP, beating out the Liberals' Bill Kelly.

  • Rob Merrifield held onto Yellowhead in Alberta.

  • David Sweet won the seat for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, thus making a lot of people I know very happy indeed. Sweet has a copy of my book and has read it.

  • Big name Michael Ignatieff, lately the Carr Professor of Human Rights at Harvard, won a seat in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. He has his eyes on Paul Martin's job. But read this about Ignatieff.

  • Olivia Chow won the seat for the NDP in Toronto's Trinity-Spadina riding. She is married to party leader Jack Layton.

  • Political turncoat Belinda Stronach holds on to Newmarket-Aurora for the Liberals.

  • Former Ontario provincial minister of finance Jim Flaherty won the riding of Whitby-Oshawa for the Conservatives. Flaherty was the author of the Equity in Education Tax Credit, which was subsequently undone by Dalton McGuinty's government in 2003.

  • Conservative candidate Rick Dykstra barely edged out the second-place Liberal candidate in St. Catharines. Dykstra is the son-in-law of my Redeemer colleague, Dr. John Vriend.

  • Voter turnout was up, at 64.9%, from an historic low of 60.9% in 2004. It had declined steadily after the historic 1993 election.

  • Here is a downloadable map of Canada showing riding-by-riding results. I found it useful for my Canadian politics class this morning.
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