QUEBEC TAKES THE PLUNGE WITH NDP; DUCEPPE QUITS
Canadians elected a historic government to office on Monday, handing the Conservatives a long-coveted majority and promoting the NDP to Official Opposition status for the first time.
The Liberals were decimated to fewer than half the seats they won in the last election, and the Bloc Québécois was reduced to just a handful of seats in a province that, for the first time in 20 years, was set to hand the majority of its seats to a federalist party.
As a result, Gilles Duceppe immediately announced his resignation as leader of the sovereigntist party, declaring in his concession speech: “I am leaving, but others will follow, until Quebec becomes a party.” With all 308 ridings reporting, the Tories were leading or had won 166 seats — well past the 155 needed for a majority — and the NDP were leading or had won 104 ridings — nearly tripling the 36 seats it gleaned in 2008. A decimated Liberal Party was on track to win just 34 seats, and the Bloc Québécois only three.
Late Monday Green Party leader Elizabeth May narrowly won the party’s first elected seat, knocking off Tory incumbent Gary Lunn in her riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands
Both the Conservatives and NDP were picking up seats everywhere from a wounded, Ignatieff-led Liberal party that lost five of its east coast MPs and dozens of others throughout Ontario and Quebec.
Mr. Ignatieff said during his concession speech that he would “accept responsibility for what’s occurred.”