Canadian voters have radically redrawn the country’s political landscape, handing the Conservative Party its long-sought majority in an election that decimated the Bloc Québécois and humbled the Liberals.
For the first time in history, the New Democratic Party will form the Official Opposition after an extraordinary breakthrough that propelled the party to more than 100 seats.
The extent of the transformation is startling. The Liberals now hold just four seats west of Guelph, Ont. The Conservatives, formerly shunned by Toronto voters, won nearly half of the seats in that city, twice as many as the Liberals.
The Bloc Québécois, which defined Quebec federal politics for two decades, no longer qualifies for official party status. And Green Party Leader Elizabeth May won the party’s first seat, and the right to a place in the next election’s debates.
Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe lost his seat and resigned. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff lost his riding. Both defeated leaders were squeezed, like many of their candidates, between growth in Conservative support and Jack Layton’s surging New Democrats.
The night belonged to Stephen Harper, who put his party over the top after five years of minority government and becomes just the third Conservative leader since Confederation to win triple victories.