Tags: Chretien | Wins | Third | Straight | Majority

Chretien Wins Third Straight Majority

Tuesday, 28 November 2000 12:00 AM

The Liberals held solid leads in elections for 172 seats in the 301-seat parliament, the prime minister's biggest victory since he was first elected in 1993.

"Welcome to the 21st century," Chretien said in a victory speech, echoing former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's "Welcome to the 1980s" two decades ago. He said the size of his victory came as a surprise to him.

With three straight majority governments, Chretien was now seen to be historically just a step behind Sir Wilfred Laurier, who won four straight majorities at the turn of the century.

By no coincidence, Laurier was Chretien's role model, but the prime minister was seen unlikely to try for a fourth term.

The Liberals retained their stranglehold in Ontario, winning 100 of the 103 seats in the province, compared to 101 in the outgoing House.

Right-wing leader Stockwell Day of the Canadian Alliance was heading for 67 seats, or nine more than he held in the last Parliament, but made few gains in Ontario, where he had hoped to make headway.

A big surprise came with the losses suffered by the Bloc Quebecois, which lost several significant constituencies to the Liberals in Quebec, and was winning 37 seats in parliament, down from 44 in the last legislature.

The left-wing New Democratic Party's performance was another surprise. It won 13 seats, keeping its party status in Parliament, for which a minimum of 12 seats are required.

NDP leader Alexa McDonough, who admitted she had feared losing party status, was clearly pleased, though her strength in the Parliament was reduced by six seats.

Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark, whose own seat in Alberta had been in doubt, ended with 12 seats in Parliament, including his own, and was also pleased he had retained his party status in the House.

Clark has been fighting off attempts by the Canadian Alliance to absorb his party in a "unite the right" campaign, and commentators said that if he had lost party status in Parliament, the battle may have been lost.

Alliance deputy leader Deborah Grey attributed the Liberals' big win in Ontario to the fact that the right-wing vote was divided between her party and the Conservatives, "allowing the Liberals to come up the middle" to take the province.

However, she said Day had done remarkably well in the election, considering that he had been party leader for only 103 days.

Commentators pointed out that Day has never lost an election before in his home province of Alberta, and this election gave him his first taste of defeat.

Copyright 2000 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The Liberals held solid leads in elections for 172 seats in the 301-seat parliament, the prime minister's biggest victory since he was first elected in 1993. Welcome to the 21st century, Chretien said in a victory speech, echoing former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's...
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2000-00-28
Tuesday, 28 November 2000 12:00 AM
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