QUE­BEC TAKES THE PLUNGE WITH NDP; DU­CEPPE QUITS

National Post (Latest Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BY KATHRYN BLAZE CARL­SON AND RANDY BOSWELL

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.”

CHRIS WATTIE / REUTERS

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