Canada held federal elections yesterday, after a no-confidence vote in March precipitated the collapse of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government. Here are four major storylines that are emerging as analysts sift through the results:
Conservatives Win Majority for First Time
The fall of Harper's government in March appears to have been a Pyrrhic victory for the opposition, given that the Conservative Party, exploiting a split in the liberal vote, won a majority of seats in Parliament after seven years of minority governments. What that means in practice, according to Bloomberg, is that Harper (celebrating his win above) will slash spending, cut corporate and personal income taxes, and open up industries to foreign investment in an effort to fuel economic recovery.
Liberal Party Devastated
Canada's Liberal Party got trounced in the election, with party leader Michael Ignatieff even losing his seat. Jack Layton's New Democratic Party assumed the role of the country's official opposition for the first time, with the Liberals relegated to a third party. Andrew Cohen at The Ottawa Citizen claims the Liberals "may well be finished as a national institution" and adds that we should expect the New Democrats to "sound sensible as a new centrist, progressive party, more liberal than social democratic. In this metamorphosis, the NDP will poach left-leaning Liberals and Tories unhappy with Stephen Harper's Conservatives. The talk of [a Liberal-NDP merger] will begin immediately."