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Conservative Party Wins in Canada Election

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By BETH DUFF-BROWN, Associated Press Write

2006_01_23t223404_450x328_us_politics.jpg

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party won national elections Monday and ended 13 years of Liberal rule, giving Canada a leader who was expected to move the country to the right on social and economic issues and bolster ties with the United States.

Prime Minister Paul Martin conceded defeat after official results gave the challengers a near-insurmountable lead. However, it appeared likely the Conservatives's victory margin would be too narrow to avoid ruling as a minority government, making it difficult to get legislation through a divided House of Commons.

There were cheers at the Conservative Party headquarters in Calgary as the media predictions were announced. Harper was expected to give his victory speech later in the night after all the results are announced.

"We know that there is an undeniable and unstoppable sentiment for change in the country," deputy Conservative leader Peter MacKay told supporters. "A change towards a new, clean, constructive attitude that will exist within a Conservative government."

Relations with the Bush administration will likely improve under Harper as his ideology runs along the same lines of many U.S. Republicans.

Harper has said he would reconsider a U.S. missile defense scheme rejected by the current Liberal government of Prime Minister Paul Martin. He also said he wanted to move beyond the Kyoto debate by establishing different environmental controls, spend more on the Canadian military, expand its peacekeeping missions in

Afghanistan and Haiti and tighten security along the border with the United States in an effort to prevent terrorists and guns from crossing the frontier.

According to official results, Conservatives either had won or were leading in races for 122 seats; the Liberals had either won or were leading in races for 103 seats; the separatist Bloc Quebecois appeared to have 50 seats and the New Democratic Party was poised to gain 31 seats. The country's major media outlets called the election for the Conservatives shortly after polls closed nationwide at 10 p.m. EST.

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.

"I have just called Stephen Harper and I've offered him my congratulations," Martin told a subdued crowd at his headquarters in Montreal. "We differ on many things, but we all share a believe in the potential and the progress of Canada."

The Conservative victory ended more than a decade of Liberal Party rule and shifted the traditionally liberal country to the right on socio-economic issues such as health care, taxation, abortion and gay marriage.

Many Canadians had grown weary of the broken promises and corruption scandals under the Liberal Party and were apparently willing to give Harper the benefit of doubt, despite fears the 46-year-old economist was too extreme in his views opposing abortion and gay marriage.

During the campaign, Harper pledged to cut the red tape in social welfare programs, lower the national sales tax from 7 percent to 5 percent and grant more autonomy and federal funding to Canada's 13 provinces and territories.

The Liberals have angered Washington in recent years, condemning the war in

Iraq, refusing to join the continental anti-ballistic missile plan and criticizing

President Bush for rejecting the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions and enacting punitive Canadian lumber tariffs.

Martin, 67, had trumpeted eight consecutive budget surpluses and sought to paint Harper as a right-winger posing as a moderate to woo mainstream voters. He claimed Harper supports the war in Iraq, which most Canadians oppose, and would try to outlaw abortion and overturn gay marriage.

Harper denied those claims and said Sunday that Martin had failed to swing voters against him.

"Canadians can disagree, but it takes a lot to get Canadians to intensely hate something or hate somebody. And it usually involves hockey," Harper quipped.

Voters cast ballots at 60,000 polling stations amid unseasonably mild winter weather. Turnout from the country's 22.7 million registered voters was expected to be better than the 60 percent of the June 2004 election, the lowest number since 1898.

William Azaroff, 35, voted for the left-of-center New Democratic Party but conceded a Conservative government was likely to win.

"I think it's a shame," said the business manager from Vancouver, British Columbia. "I think the last government was actually quite effective for Canadians. I think a Conservative government is just a backlash against certain corruption and the sense of entitlement."

Martin's government and the 308-member House of Commons were dissolved in November after New Democrats defected from the governing coalition to support the Conservatives in a no-confidence vote amid a corruption scandal involving the misuse of funds for a national unity program in Quebec.

An investigation absolved the prime minister of wrongdoing but accused senior Liberals of taking kickbacks and misspending tens of millions of dollars in public funds.

Just as campaigning hit full swing over the Christmas holidays, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced they were investigating a possible leak by Liberal government officials that appeared to have influenced the stock market.

When the 38th Parliament was dissolved, the Liberals had 133 seats, the Conservatives had 98, the Quebec separatist party Bloc Quebecois had 53 and the New Democrats had 18. There also were four Independents and two vacancies.

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(salam)

(bismillah)

Yay! No more Paul Martin and his scandals! :)

I voted Conservative as well.

Edited by Ali al-Mahdi

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Lanat on the conservatives...

Those of you who voted for them will soon realize the mistake you've made..

Is Harper not for turning?

If the Conservative leader is cut from the same cloth as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Mike Harris, expect him to slash government programs, says James Laxer

Jan. 20, 2006. 01:00 AM

A popular theory that has emerged during this election campaign is that Stephen Harper has moderated and that the former head of the National Citizens Coalition is no longer the hard-line conservative he once was.

Some analysts have speculated that he could even end up like former Ontario Premier Bill Davis in office, a mellow, centrist who would not rock the Canadian boat.

People who make such comments are whistling past the graveyard. In recent decades, both in Canada and abroad, neo-conservatives have not moderated when they have taken office. If anything, they have become more hard-line.

The records of a quartet of conservatives eloquently illustrate the point:

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher was the first of the major neo-conservatives to come to power in a British election that opened the door to what came to be called the Thatcher Revolution.

Within a year of her victory, her harsh monetary policies plunged Britain into a severe recession. Many industrial jobs lost during the Thatcher years were never regained. The Thatcher government privatized telephone and electric power utilities and water distribution companies at low prices that were so advantageous to investors that former Conservative prime minister Harold Macmillan accused her of "selling the family silver."

During her decade in office, as under the other neo-conservative regimes of the quartet, the income gap between the affluent and the rest of the population widened appreciably. "The lady's not for turning," it was said of the Thatcher who became known as the Iron Lady, a tribute to her refusal to compromise.

The year after Thatcher's victory in Britain, Ronald Reagan was elected to the White House, with a pledge that he would restore America to its former glory.

The key elements of his program were tax cuts and a steep increase in military spending. Reagan's policies drove the U.S. government to massive high deficits. By the time he had been president for five years, the United States had become a net debtor nation — America owed more to foreigners than foreigners owed to Americans, for the first time since 1919.

Reagan's legacy, like Thatcher's, was the loss of millions of jobs in the industrial heartland of the United States, jobs that were later replaced by what were nicknamed "McJobs," low-paying positions in the service sector of the economy. Genial though the Gipper was, he also believed in staying the course.

Mike Harris rode the Common Sense Revolution to power in Ontario in 1995.

During the election campaign that year, Harris pledged deep tax cuts, and promised to pay for them through steep reductions in all government programs, except for those in the areas of health care, classroom education and law enforcement.

Upon assuming office, he cut the payments to those on welfare — the poorest people in the province.

He delivered on his income tax cuts, handsomely rewarding the highest-income earners with savings of thousands of dollars a year.

By the time his successor Ernie Eves was defeated in the election of 2003, the Conservatives had downloaded responsibilities to municipalities that couldn't afford them and had left the educational system in a shambles. Whenever he was asked if he would moderate his programs, Mike Harris always answered that Ontarians got what they voted for.

In his youth, the playboy son of a well-positioned father, George W. Bush seemed to have little on his mind when he ran for president in 2000. He promised lower taxes and won applause at rallies when he talked of restoring the military greatness of America.

The terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 gave Bush a mission and brought out the latent ideologue in him.

Since that date, America has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and in his second inaugural address last January, Bush made this bombastic pledge: "America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof."

Under Bush, America's military is mired in a war it seems unable to win, and the United States is plunging ever more into debt to the rest of the world.

At home, Bush has created a surveillance state in which the government spies on the people, and has made court appointments that could imperil the right of women to abortions.

Is it fair to anticipate that Stephen Harper is cut from the same cloth as the members of the quartet and that he has not moderated or "evolved" to use his own word?

The signs that the Conservative leader is an ideologue with a strongly right-wing agenda are readily at hand, his recent outburst about the courts and the civil service being only the latest example.

In power, Harper will reopen the debate about Canada signing on to U.S. missile defence and is likely to cancel Canada's commitment to the Kyoto environmental accord.

He refuses to commit himself to honouring the far-reaching aboriginal development program agreed to by first ministers last autumn. He will not throw Ottawa's weight behind the establishment of publicly funded, not for profit, child care across the country.

And, as he said on day one of the election campaign, he plans to reopen the issue of same-sex marriage.

Perhaps the best clue that Harper has not moderated comes from his commitment to resolve the so-called fiscal imbalance in Canada.

In plain English that means that a Harper government would sharply reduce Ottawa's role in setting the nation's socio-economic agenda. That pledge, one of Harper's top five priorities, could well become his mantra as he slashes government programs in the days to come.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

James Laxer is a professor of political science at York University.

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(bismillah)

The Conservatives got 122 seats while the Liberals got 103 seats; so it’s not that big of a difference people in percentage; the Conservatives are heading a minority government and they will have to make Canadians really happy (on social and economic issues) or they will face the same thing the Liberals faced.

Maybe this is a good time for the Liberals to remedy the corruption that brought down their government.

I also would like to say that the NDP seats went from 18 (in the last government) to 31 seats; that’s wicked :D

P.S.

I wonder if the Conservatives will overturn Gay marriages and Abortion laws; I wonder what they will do regarding immigration as well.

(salam)

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The PCs don't have a strong enough mandate to change abortion or gay marrienge laws. As a christian although a disagree with both, its only the day you stand before the almighty that really matters and both issues in a personal sense don't effect me nor do I even really even worry about it.

Immigration ???? I don't know what kind of service we are doing bringing in people to do [Edited Out]py jobs, mind you I don't really know what the quality of life is like outside Canada ( besides my army days ).

Canada has to do more to reconize the proffessional status of new Canadians. Its is absolutely insane in Alberta. When a plumber can make 100 dollars an hour in Fort Mac, its makes it almost impossible for anyone outside a doctor, lawyer or indian chief to live there. We need more skilled people.

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Guest faithful8876_

(bismillah)

^ That was not cool :angry:

Anyhew, the people who voted conservative, I'm very interested in knowing why, if you don't mind that is

wa salaam

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I voted NDP cause there is not a chance in hell they would win and I didn't want the clowns in power to be my fault.

Plus, there was that social agenda and not being corporate puppets thing too.

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Do you realize that Canada was once invaded by the United States and we won. Its was along time ago but still people say Vietnam is the only war America ever lost and I have to clear my throat. :lol:

Canada and the United States are two completely different countries and we are not going anywhere :lol:

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(bismillah)

(bismillah)

The Conservatives got 122 seats while the Liberals got 103 seats; so it’s not that big of a difference people in percentage; the Conservatives are heading a minority government and they will have to make Canadians really happy (on social and economic issues) or they will face the same thing the Liberals faced.

Maybe this is a good time for the Liberals to remedy the corruption that brought down their government.

I also would like to say that the NDP seats went from 18 (in the last government) to 31 seats; that’s wicked  :D

P.S.

I wonder if the Conservatives will overturn Gay marriages and Abortion laws; I wonder what they will do regarding immigration as well. 

(salam)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

(salam)

Brother where did you read that the NDP won 31 seats I thought it was only 29?

To all the Conservative fans out there, remember, The Majority in Parliment still swing to the left. :)

I'm happy that NDP won big where I live.

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(bismillah)

^

hmmmmmmmmm, its Qat not Qud .... :) And Canada is really nothing, they should just be anexted by America so everyone can be happy at the end... :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

(salam)

Thats a strange comment considering you don't like the US. Also everyone would not be happy. The Majority of Canadians would not be happy.

Also if your judging the greatness of a country by how many wars it can start and how many people it can kill and how much land it can steal, then I feel sorry for you.

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(bismillah)

Also if your judging the greatness of a country by how many wars it can start and how many people it can kill and how much land it can steal, then I feel sorry for you.

Good for you :) A nice post indeed.

I would also like to mention that Canada has one of the highest living standards in the world; not to mention our Healthcare system is excellent; we need to do something regarding the lengthy wait times, and shortage of Nurses but I’m sure we’ll manage. Hopefully the Conservative Led government will improve and invest in Healthcare and Education/Social programs.

(salam)

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Im glad the conservatives won, and hopefully they will show progress in Canada. Many people voted for Conservatives because they wanted to punish the Liberals for not keeping their promises. So heck lets give the conservatives a try, i mean they heaven't been in power for a while now.

I aslo predict the Conservatives will win majority in the next elections. Keep that in your heads.

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The Conservatives will do great. Canadians gave them this opourtunity to really prove how effective and successful they can be. Hopefully when important occassions arise they will have the style, clarity and sharpness to please the Canadian people.

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