OTTAWA, Ont. — The trucking industry finally has a federal Transport Minister it is optimistic about working with in Tony Valeri, but the Liberal barely managed to retain his seat in last night’s election.
The Liberal government will form a minority government following last night’s election, having won 135 of 308 seats. The Conservatives won only 99 seats, most of them in Western Canada. Jack Layton’s anti-truck comments didn’t appear to hurt his party, with the NDP winning 19 seats including Layton’s own Toronto-Danforth riding.
For much of the night it appeared Transport Minister Valeri would be on the outside looking in. He was nearly a victim of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek’s love-in with former MP Sheila Copps. Many of her long-time supporters opted to vote for the NDP rather than for Valeri, but he managed to hang onto his seat with a victory of less than 1,000 votes.
Prime Minister Paul Martin won his LaSalle-Emard riding quite handily, despite a strong showing by the Bloc Quebecois in that province. Predictably, the Conservatives dominated the West, particularly Alberta where they won all but two seats. Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan squeaked out a Liberal win in the riding of Edmonton Centre and was one of only two Liberals to achieve victory in Alberta. Nicknamed "Landslide Annie" because of her tendency to win elections by the slimmest of margins, McLellan didn’t disappoint this time either, winning by only a handful of votes.
After the election, Prime Minister Martin promised his government would do better, and have “a deep respect for taxpayers’ dollars.”
“Canadians expected, and expect, more from us and as a party and as a government we must do better, and we will – I pledge that to you tonight,” he told supporters following the election.
For his part, Conservative leader Stephen Harper appeared to take the loss in stride despite predictions by some observers that he would be Prime Minister when the sun came up today.
“Our party, in a very short time, has made historic strides across this country,” he told his supporters, who had gathered in Calgary to watch the results come in. “I will admit I feel some disappointment tonight, but you should feel none.”
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