Hot Air comments:
Stephen Harper’s gamble on elections paid off last night, although he didn’t quite hit the jackpot he wanted. Canadian voters gave the Conservatives a much stronger minority government but not quite a majority as they won 143 seats in Parliament. The Liberal Party stumbled to only 77 seats, and may be looking for new leadership.
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Dion’s Grits lost almost 20 seats in Parliament, a major setback and a verdict on Dion’s leadership of what had been the dominant party in Canada for many years. They have been reeling ever since the Adscam scandal in 2005 and have not found their footing since. Canadians trust Harper’s Tories and the Prime Minister’s leadership, especially in precarious times.
This also represents an endorsement of Harper’s policies in Afghanistan, which is why this election has some additional import for the US. Canada has been one of the most stalwart members of the NATO coalition, and one of the few willing to take a combat role in southern Afghanistan. The lack of effort from other NATO members had created a backlash against the Harper government as casualties mounted, but France and other European nations agreed to bolster their contribution of combat troops, and Canada remained in the coalition. This election shows that Harper still has the support of his nation for that mission.