Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Canadian Election Results – Liberals Still Rule, Sorta

From the Globe and Mail:

Liberal Leader Paul Martin was handed a minority government in a surprising election outcome Monday that marked the party’s fourth-straight mandate but a return to the House of Commons with diminished clout.

The NDP improved its seat totals, giving the Liberals a possibly ally in the Commons. According to latest results, the two parties are just one seat shy of a majority.

Few had predicted that the Liberals would win a strong minority Monday evening, but with most polls reporting, the Liberals were winning or elected in 135 ridings, the Tories in 99, the Bloc Québécois in 54 and the NDP in 19. All four party leaders won in their ridings.

In any case, Canada has its first minority government since the Joe Clark’s Tories held power for six months in 1979. The seat totals were nowhere near the huge victory that Mr. Martin had been predicted to win when he took over as Prime Minister last December, or even the small majority the party was expected to receive when the writ was dropped five weeks ago.

The electorate decided that Mr. Martin deserved to lead the country, but gave the Liberals the message that they must be less arrogant and power hungry. The Liberals got 36.7 per cent of the popular support compared with 29.6 per cent for the Conservatives and 15.7 per cent for the NDP.

“Canadians have expected and expect more from us. As a party we must do better and we will,” Mr. Martin said in a speech early Tuesday.

Mr. Martin learned a lesson that some people need to learn down here.