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Canadians will choose their next government on Jan. 23.

Paul Martin addresses his caucus after his Liberal minority government was defeated in the House of Commons. (CP photo)
The Liberal minority government fell Monday evening in a no-confidence vote, a year and five months since the day it was elected.

The opposition parties brought the Liberals down on a simple motion of no-confidence � "That this House has lost confidence in the government."

All the federal party leaders say they are ready for the campaign, and each will begin his campaign immediately.


Your letters:

As Canadians prepare to trudge to the polls in the new year, I hope the media - and the CBC in particular - set a higher standard of election reporting than the one we have seen in the recent past.

Canadians deserve more than just a steady stream of polling results, details of the day's media opps and finger pointing among the leaders. The media have a responsibility, on behalf of all Canadians, to wrestle the election back from the politicians and their handlers. This is our election, not theirs.

—Gerry Boudrias | Edmonton

The one good thing that will come out of this election which will again be a minority. Is that both the Liberals and Conservatives will likely replace their current leaders in the hope of winning a majority.

With both Harper and Martin gone there is hope that we may actually vote FOR someone rather than against them.

—Roy Hynd | Pitt Meadows, B.C.

As long as the Federal Conservative Party retains their current leader, they stand a better chance of winning the lottery than a majority in any election. I guess that means the next government will be Liberal; Hopefully a minority, so that nobody gets the opportunity to take the country for a ride.

While I'd like to see the NDP form a federal government, they lack the support among voters. This situation leaves the voter with little reasonable choice. Canadians don't want another Liberal Government but we don't have a viable alternative.

—Michael Tufts | Aylesford Nova Scotia

I'm tired of hearing whining when it comes to a "Christmas Election". First of all, it is your democratic duty to vote, regardless of the season or date. Secondly, it is not during Christmas, it's in late January. Lastly, remember those hundreds of millions of dollars taken from your pocket and spent on Liberal-friendly firms or spent on special interest projects...that calls for an election alone.

Grow up Canada and do what's right.

—Elvin Takeda | Ottawa

It's sad to read the letters posted here and to realize how poorly informed people really are about the issues. The fact that they are making decisions based on this scares me.

The Liberals are corrupt, they agree, but they won't vote Conservative because of what the Liberals have said about the Conservatives. How can you believe what the Liberals say is true if you admit they are corrupt??

I —W.Kozub | Calgary

Let's face it,when Paul Martin came in, he ordered the Gomery inquiry and was willing to face the music. The other bad guys are gone, but we need to see them pay the penalty.

Can we afford yet another election? We could end up with a minority government again. Would that make us happy? Why not spend the money on something that will truly benefit the tax payer?

—A. Jadunandan | Pickering, Ontario

Wow! After reading the various comments that have already been posted on thisweb sitee, I cannot believe the naivet� of so many!

The fact that they are blaming the opposition for bringing down the government is proof of that! The Liberals should have been brought down a long time ago, and would have if not for the opportunistic treachery of Ms. Stronach.

The Liberal government collapsed due to their own actions of deceit, cronyism and various criminal activities that should result in jail time for those involved!

As Canadians, it is our duty to ensure that our politicians are held accountable for their actions (or inactions). The Liberals have proven again and again that they cannot be trusted to lead this country for the good of all Canadians and are only concerned with lining their own pockets as well as those of their close friends. The only time that they are concerned about "tax breaks" is right before an election so they can buy our votes with our own money.

We must send a message to ALL politicians that we will not tolerate the kind of arrogant behaviour that the Liberals have been exhibiting for the past 12 years! It is time for central Canada (Ontario) to shake off the "devil you know" blinders and try to elect a government for ALL Canadians.

—P. Mackay | Calgary

What a pathetic state of affairs we are in. Stephen Harper and his gang haven't told us what they would do different - just that they are better because they aren't the Liberals.

Paul Martin and gang have become so arrogant they have forgotten that they work for us. PLUS, the Liberals have fueled theseparatistss fire in Quebec and Jack Layton - sorry, your fifteen minutes was up a long time ago.

So, we will likely end up with another minority lead by one party or another with Quebecseparatistss holding the balance of power. And, guaranteed that throughout the 56 days of drudgery, Paul and Stephen will hurl enough insults at one another that no matter who wins, theseparatistss in Quebec will be able to sell their vision on the fact that there is no real leader in Canada.

So my wish to Santa? That a real leader emerges to bring the country together. Unfortunately, there is no Santa and no hope of this happening. Maybe I'll vote for the Green party!

—Terry Gillis | Ilderton, Ontario

This election is again a test to see if the voters of Ontario will be so damngulliblee once again. How many millions and billions of a working person's tax dollars has to be wasted for thegulliblee people to wake up and make a change.

It's funny, the Liberals have had 15 months to bring forth all of their spending pledges they made in the past two weeks. Do thegulliblee Ontario voters see that it is their own tax dollars they are being bribed with.

—Ben Patterson | Brantford, Ontario

How shameful it is to see the two so called national opposition parties chumming up to the Bloc and giving them even more power. Are Harper and Layton really as stupid as they now appear to be?

Judging by Jack Layton's demeanor, it seems to be dawning on him that he may have taken his party from a position of real influence and positioned it to lose even more votes in the frenzy that is to come. The liberal party and its record of patronage and graft is no different than any of the other parties who have all had their own scandals and will again.

The historical argument for voting with the major parties was that by aligning oneself with a party, one could wield more influence in parliament. Well perhaps the time has come to bring some integrity and honesty to Ottawa in the form of independent candidates who can be trusted with representing the best interests of their constituents.

In a minority government, which we are sure to have again, such candidates wield real power and are unencumbered by a party line.

—Hans Wissner | Calgary

Looks like the a booming economy for the printers and the media. Maybe we should vote on not allowing any political party to do any advertising at all which would force each of them to go out and actually meet the voters face to face.

With the current as well as the past errors in judgement made by politicians, it becomes harder and harder to believe that what they say is what they will do. It's all right to do this because they did not know what the shape of the financial bag was before they made the promises.

If I made a promise like that to someone and then failed to come thru with the goods, it would probably be settled in the courts. Just once I would like to hear a politician say,"We will do what we have promised to do because we have done the research to back up those promises.

—Perry Bast | Strathroy, Ontario

I am still surprised that Harper went and brought the government down. He does not enjoy a poll lead over the Liberals, and people still do not trust him enough to support him. It is funny that Harper likes to talk about Liberal waste in government, while he, in all likelyhood, just wasted millions of dollars by forcing an election that Canadians did not want.

—John Bieker | Victoria

There is a real choice in this election, and that is to elect a lot more NDPers. Jack Layton has brought a new energy to the party, particularly with encouraging the anti-globalization movement to come and join the NDP.

Martin, and Harper are tired, worn out old white men who represent big corporate business interests. Don't we already have enough of those in Parliament? Our House of Commons is certainly not representative of the Canadian population nor its voting patterns -- we need electoral reform, proportional representation so that every vote really counts.

Government is supposed to be for the people. The only ones I see actually doing things for people like me is the NDP.

—Carol Auld | Toronto

Greens in or out? Will Greens be left out of the TV debate again, despite polling at over 5% and running about 3 times more candidates than the Bloc? Will they be shut out again just when people are looking for a sensible alternative?

Is it more important for non-Quebecers to see the Bloc debate, when they can't even vote for them? Call me cynical (and green)!

—Melanie Ransom | Ottawa

Ironic, isn't it, that the clear winners in this federal election are the separatists.

—Bruce Anderson | Rock Forest, Qu�bec

Well here we go again. I have been very disappointed in the behavior of the MP's in this last session. They talk about each other in terms of kids in a play ground and they in turn all act like bullies in the school yard.

I am really fed up with all the insults and would just hope that they could all act in a more dignified manner as is required for their position. What kind of example are they setting for our young people with all the nonsense that is going on. Is it any wonder that our youth is not interested in politics. I am getting to that point as well.

Let us hope that this will be a positive campaign and not have all the name calling and trying to see who can dig up the most dirt.

—Gloria Hamel | Ottawa

I do not want a majority government. It seems to me that when a minority government is in power, it must work in a coalition with the other parties to make parliament work. That is what happened last spring.

The NDP helped get social programs into the budget that wouldn't have been there otherwise. The Conservatives are simply sulking around because they didn't win the last election. Remember, if Stephen Harper had had his way, Canadians would have been in Iraq.

The next government will be a minority because the Bloc Quebecois will take most if not all of the seats in Quebec. I suggest that the House of Commons won't look much different on January 24, 2006.

—Sally Allan | Sointula, B.C.

I will vote Liberals again, thanks to those pompous morons the Conservative, NPD and Bloc. They gave more fuel to the independent voice in Quebec! For this I wish them a full minority government also. —Lise Brazeau | Quebec

It seems to me that it is not the politicians who must choose between the high road or the low road - it is the media. There is only a tiny window for sound bites at the start of each night's news to reach the majority of voters and so long as the media elevates canned attacks to be the duelling clips of each night, the politicians will have no choice but to provide the most dramatic attacks they can.

It was very telling to watch the live coverage of the vote, and instead of verbal blasts and storming rhetoric, the session ended with handshakes between opponents and a general appearance of seasonal good will. It was a joy to see and instantly made me more interested in the campaign to come.

Could there be some small room in election newscasts for the day's most insightful, unifying and/or inspirational quotation? Surely if a podium for positive messages was provided, the word weavers would quickly learn to use it?

—Thomas Cook | Ottawa

Of course we're cynical. We are again being asked to chose the best of a bad lot. We're being told to chose between the devil we know and the devils we don't.

This has to be the most infuriating moment in Canadian politics that I can remember. Those of us who think that voting is a right, a duty and a privilege are hamstrung by lack of choice. I sincerely have no idea where I will place my "X" when the time comes. And I suspect that the overwhelming majority of Canadians feel the same way.

While I'm convinced that we will end up with a virtual carbon copy of the House of Commons as it sat yesterday, the irony is staggering. This election was called because the opposition parties had "lost confidence" in the government. Well, so have we. The Gomery report made sure of that. But what alternative do we have? The election was called due to non-confidence and will be put to an electorate who has no confidence in any of the four parties.

I feel there are only two possible outcomes of this election. The first option is that Stephen Harper might suddenly come up with a way to stop scaring Canadians. Better still, the Conservatives might install a new leader. In either of those events, the Conservatives may pull a minority government out of the hat. Is this the best option? Hardly. I think that most Canadians feel as I do about the new conservatives. They are too far right for our taste.

The second option, however, is even worse. If we install another minority Liberal government, they may take it as vindication. God forbid. The arrogance of these people is such that they might actually take it as approval of their past actions. And so the feeding frenzy will continue. Hogs at the trough, if you will.

The Liberals need to be ejected, but it won't happen because of the alternative, or lack thereof. This is truly a sad commentary on the state of politics in our fair land. Oh, to have an option. The only real option is "none of the above".

—Debbie Burton | Newfoundland and Labrador

A pivotal election campaign is on. A chance to sweep the distaste of the corrupt Chretien/Martin years from Canadian history. But let's be clear here. This election will be won or lost in vote rich Ontario. We in the West can only appeal to our fellow voters in Ontario to be honest brokers in Confederation.

Remember the dishonesty and desperation of this Martin government! Trying to buy your votes with your money! Buying the affections of Belinda Stronach. Hopping into bed with the NDP at a cost of only $4 billion of your dollars! Toss these Liberals out!

—Barry Scammell | Beaumont, Alberta

I do not understand why the Conservatives forced an election at this time knowing the fact that they will finish 2nd again without gaining control of the parliament. It's a waste of time and resources.

If they have waited until they gained more votes, I may have voted for them but I will be voting Liberal again because I don't think the NDP or the Conservatives offer anything different or more.

—Ron | Vancouver

I would like to thank all those responsible for their vote of non confidence. You will cost me even more money on yet another election and waste more time.

We finally had a minority government and they usually do get some good things done. Not now thank you. Now I can only hope you all reap your just rewards and lose a lot of seats at the next election.

We at least know the dog that bit us but what about you the unknown. You have never proven yourself and so far all you do is talk.

—Rita Cline | Lakefield, Ontario

Bravo! I'm up for an election. Let's hope that Canadians will open their eyes this time.

If Mr Martin had his way Quebec would have the sponsorship program back in production and the party involved with the entire mess would be lining their pockets once again. This time I don't think so.

—Sheryl Stewart | St Catharines Ontario

It's just amazing to think that the Liberal party still retains the favour of more Canadians than any of the other political parties. How could someone justify going to the poll and checking a box next to the Liberals, while fully knowing in the back of their minds the history of their corruption?

—Milan Posarac | Montreal

I think Jack Layton shot himself in the foot and his body language would indicate that he knows that. He at the very least has moved himself from a position of power to a position where he might as well be in the public gallery.

—Don Thompson | Invermere B.C.

So now the opposition has decreed that we will have an election before we see what Gomery has to say in his final report. Are Harper and Layton now more scared of what Gomery might say than Martin is?

—Gideon Sheps | Toronto

What a stupid, selfish thing to do at Xmas time. Instead of spending money on an election, it would be better spent on health care or education. If Harper cannot even call for a vote of confidence at an appropriate time, is he able to lead a country?

For this dumb move, his party wont get my vote. Who wants to listen to election speeches during the holiday season? Who wants to go vote probably in a January Blizzard?

—Gladys Mackey | North Hatley, Quebec

Not exactly thrilled at yet another election, and a winter one at that...however, we've no choice thanks to the opposition parties. Realizing that the Liberal Government hasn't exactly set a good example for governing with it's recent scandals, the thought of Stephen Harper or Jack Layton at the helm, scares me even more.

—Mary MacDonald | Nova Scotia

This is a very sad day in Canadian history: not for the apparent defeat of the liberals but a failure of our elected officials to represent our best interests.

The rhetoric spewed by opposition officials suggesting that we as Canadians have been duped is pathetic at best. To date I am yet to see the 'leaders' in the opposition acting in the best interests of Canadians. While I can appreciate the misuse of public funds sparking an outcry (and it should!), the use of this simply to gain power in a fractured country is very childish. I feel less represented now than ever.

—Keith Wilson | Saint John

Election in December! Guess I won't be watching the news again until January. I can just imagine the vitriol we Canadians will be subject to in the next few weeks.

For myself, all I see is the ugliness of politicians fighting for power. How attractive! This is not an election about issues, it is an election about grabbing power. Where is the morality in this? Where is the integrity? It doesn't exist as far as I can tell. And we the public know it.

And now we have to spend the Christmas season watching a sub set of human beings behave at their very worst. This spectacle actually embarrasses me. How can we believe in the morality and integrity of any politician when their day to day language and actions portraits men who are loutish and boorish in their behaviour.

—Marie Spicer | B.C.

What is the point of this whole endeavour? The Conservatives talk about moral and fiscal responsibility yet want to plunge this country into a expensive election at the worst possible time. Do they even realize that the best they can hope for is MAYBE a minority government propped up by separatists or opportunistic NDP.

While the opposition has talked tough the only party that was actually trying to get something done was the Liberals. I could have been convinced a year ago to vote Conservative but they offered no vision other than typical hollow promises of opening the coffers to Canadians. They also threatened many social aspects that have been fought for tooth and nail by many. I couldn't vote for them now or ever. They are still the Reform/Alliance surrounded by a few desperate right wing PC's.

—aron Stechesen | Portage la Prairie, Manitoba

As this election begins I think the real challenge is for the CBC, the public broadcasting station, to keep the politicians talking about the REAL issues of the FUTURE of this country and to refuse to be pulled into media manipulation that has apparently started already.

I believe it to be your job, as the CBC, to keep the politicians focused on the issues that really matter instead of them SPINNING you madly off in all directions.

—Lane Mcgonigal | Moosomin,Saskatchewan

I have been a liberal for most of my life. Now my vote definitely will not be Liberal which I never in my wildest dream I ever thought was possible.

The change that has transpired is the major corruption which has taken place with no accountability by anyone so far. The average Canadian would have suffered immediate reverberations and subsequent consequences. Liberal corruption continues with such an arrogance that know one in good conscience could vote for them. Yet, sadly I am not so naive to think people will not continue to vote for this corrupt government. Lets face it money talks.

—Norbert Glatz | Edmonton

Now that the government has fallen I hope that enough voters in Ontario and elsewhere will vote for a change next time. The Liberals have governed for 55 of the last 74 or so years which has to be unhealthy in a supposed democracy.

If this was the situation in say South America or Africa we in the west would say that democracy was not working. It really is not working here especially when the popular vote is take into account. If enough people were to vote Conservative we would be able to break the line to the feeding trough.

And guess what, if we do not like what the Conservatives do in government we can turf them right out again next time, not that they could do anything extreme as they would almost certainly be a minority themselves. You gotta make a change people so go ahead and prove Ralph Kline wrong!

—John Timpson | Moncton, New Brunswick

As an ordinary Canadian I find this whole topple of Government a huge waste of time and money. We should have just left it as it was. I am not a Liberal or any of the other parties as I feel they are all basically the same.

—Gary Schauer | Edmonton

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The results

Your letters on the election

A new era


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