Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party will no longer have to experience the frustration of being a minority government. In today’s elections in Canada, the Tories won 167 seats in Parliament, easily surpassing the 155 necessary to form a majority. This will be Canada’s first majority government in nearly 10 years, which should make it easier for Harper to pass many of the items on his agenda, including the budget his party proposed in March.
The Liberals will no longer be the official opposition party, either. The New Democratic Party came in second place, with 102 seats to the Liberals’ paltry 34, so they will now sit opposite the Conservatives in Parliament. The Bloc Quebecois was also roundly defeated in its home province of Quebec, where the NDP did surprisingly well. As such, it seems like there are really only two viable parties in Parliament now: the Conservatives and the left-leaning NDP.
In the Northwest Territories, incumbent MP Dennis Bevington (NDP) handily beat his competitors in a hard-fought race. He came in first place with 45% of the vote, while Conservative candidate Sandy Lee was in a distant second place, with 32% of the vote, demonstrating that the was was not as close at it had seemed. Upon his re-election, Bevington commented,
“I’ve worked with the Conservatives before over the last five years, I’ll work with them again…A Conservative majority means we’re going to be dealing with a lot of issues around crime that perhaps are not what Northerners want, but we’ll try very hard, I’m sure, to work with them.”
In the neighboring Yukon Territories, Conservative candidate Tory Reef surprisingly defeated Liberal incumbent Larry Bagnell. In Nunavut, Conservative incumbent Leona Aglukkaq won as well. She stated to reporters,
“I’m very proud of the results today…I think Nunavummiut recognize the contributions that the Conservative government has delivered in the North, and I want to get back to work as soon as I can.”
Thus, two of the three representatives of the territories will probably support Harper’s plans for the Arctic, along with the Northern Strategy. With Bagnell, the former Official Opposition Critic for Arctic Issues and Northern Development, out of office, perhaps Bevington will take over this role.
I’ll have more analysis on the consequences of the Conservative victory on the Arctic in the coming days.
Full election coverage from the Globe and Mail