Harper vows to get down to work with first focus on accountability
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 | 5:17 AM ET
"We will honour your trust, we will deliver on our commitments," Harper said to a crowd of jubliant supporters in Calgary.
Canada's next prime minister said his first act in Parliament will be to propose a federal accountability act.
GST cut on track
He said this will be followed by his plan to cut the GST, provide a child-care allowance to families, toughen criminal sentencing and establish a patient wait times guarantee.
Harper said that through all the different governments in different eras one constant binds all Canadians. "Canada, strong, independent and free!" he shouted.
The Tory leader acknowledged that although Canadians voted for change they have not given any one party in the House of Commons a majority.
"They have asked us to co-operate, to work together. And to get on with tackling the real concerns of ordinary working people and their families. I look forward to working with all of the parties."
'I am honoured and overwhelmed'
"I have never been so proud of our great country and I am honoured and overwhelmed to be asked to lead it."
Over the next weeks, Harper will have the difficult decision of picking his cabinet, deciding among veteran party stalwarts and newly elected MPs.
Meanwhile, the Liberals will soon find themselves in a leadership race. Paul Martin announced that he will step down as leader after the party lost 32 seats from the 2004 vote.
- Related Story: Martin to quit as Liberal leader
The Conservatives were elected in 124 ridings, the Liberals won 103, the Bloc took 51 and the NDP was elected in 29. Quebec sent one Independent to Parliament Hill.
Tories gain in popular vote
The Conservatives picked up more than 36 per cent of the popular vote, an increase of seven per cent from 2004. This compared to the Liberals with 30 per cent and the NDP with 17.5 per cent. The Green party captured 4.5 per cent.
The NDP made major gains nationally, up 10 seats from the 2004 vote.
The Tories made significant gains in Ontario and Quebec, elected in at least two dozen seats. In Quebec, where they were shut out in 2004, the Tories made major inroads, capturing 10 ridings.