Canada’s Harper returned to power, but without majority in Parliament

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(Host) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was returned to power in this week’s elections, but not with the majority he had hoped to win.

Harper’s Conservative Party gained ten to 15 seats in Tuesday’s election. But the Conservatives fell short of the 155 seats that would have given it an outright majority in Parliament.

Antonia Maioni (my-own-ee) is director of the Institute for the Study of Canada at McGill University.

She says Harper gambled by calling early elections and didn’t gain much.

(Maioni) “Part of the problem is that he was expecting to go into a majority. And he called this election in part to see whether he’d be able to do so. So even though he’s strengthened in the House of Commons, I think his credibility politically is weakened across Canada.”

(Host) The Bloc Quebecois maintained its hold on power in Quebec, winning 50 of the province’s 75 seats in Parliament.

Maioni says she doesn’t anticipate many policy changes in Harper’s new term. But she says the results of U.S. elections could have an effect on Canada.

(Maioni) “In terms of Canada-U.S. relations, what’s going to happen should Obama win and the Democrats win in November, is that the relationship between Canada and the United States will now be slightly different because you’ll have a conservative, right-wing prime minister in Canada and perhaps a more moderate, centrist president in the United States.”

(Host) Maioni says Canada has begun to feel the effects of the global financial crisis. She says that could affect Harper’s government and its relationship with the U.S.

AP Photo/Sang Tan, File

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