While the world was watching the news coming out of Pakistan about Osama bin Laden, closer to home voters in Canada went to the polls on May 2 and gave Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper a solid majority in Parliament.
Conservatives have won or are ahead in 167 of the country’s 308 electoral districts. Harper will head the first conservative majority government in Canada since 1988.
The Christian Science Monitor is calling it a “political earthquake” for Canada, noting that the traditional center-left Liberal Party finished a distant third with only 19 percent of the vote and that the separatist Bloc Quebecois was almost wiped out. The bad news for conservatives is that the socialist New Democratic Party “essentially grabbed the left-of-center votes from the Liberals,” coming in second with 31 percent.
Voters rewarded Harper’s economic management during the global recession and were apparently pleased that Canada’s economy continues to outperform its southern neighbor. This has been confirmed by Canada’s ranking in the Index of Economic Freedom, where it scored ahead of the U.S. in 2011 for the second year in a row as the U.S. fell into the merely “Mostly Free” category.