Canada's election results are in, and Conservatives have secured a minority government:
Tories : 143 seats
Liberals : 76 seats
Bloc : 50 seats
NDP : 37 seats
Overall, the Tories came 12 seats short of a majority. Harper delivered Ontario (51 out of 108) and British Columbia (22 seats out of 36), but the Bloc effectively stopped the Tory tide in Quebec. With 10 seats in Quebec (75 seats), this was the province in which the Conservatives thought they could make the most gains. Without Quebec’s support, they could not form a majority government. Had there been no Bloc, Harper would be the PM of a majority government today. Yesterday clearly was a vote of confidence for Mr. Duceppe, as the Bloc sailed to a victory by a very large margin. But still, if you leave Quebec aside, yesterday was a victory for Mr. Harper.
Mr. Dion, on the other hand, lost almost everything. Liberal strategists, knowing they were heading for a defeat, had put the bar at 95 seats. Dion only delivered 76. It's the worst Liberal showing since 1988, when John Turner only got 40 seats for his party. You can expect Mr. Dion to hold on to his job as the leader of the Liberal Party; there are signs, however, that other Liberal heavyweights might want to force him out. No sooner than last night, after receiving news of the crushing defeat suffered by his party, deputy leader Michael Ignatieff made clear that leadership would be an issue to discuss in the coming months. The message is clear: Dion’s worst enemies are now within his own party, and the leadership struggle has already begun.
Will the conservatives prevail in the U.S. election as well? All signs point to the contrary, but what Mr. Harper’s victory showed yesterday is that in spite of polls, right-wing parties always tend to do a better job of motivating their base to go out and vote, as the results indicate that the Tories got more support than polls suggested. Add this to the so-called “Bradley effect” affecting black candidates in America, and McCain could still win in November despite polls giving Obama a 7 percent lead.
Only time will tell.