Canada. On March 25, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative minority government lost a vote of no confidence in Parliament. The vote was carried out on the initiative of Liberal Party (LP) leader Michael Ignatieff and the government was cast with 156 votes to 145. The reason for the distrust was that a parliamentary committee, led by the opposition, had concluded that the government had defied the law when it proposed in its budget proposal for the coming year did not report all the costs of its plans on reduced corporate taxes, the purchase of fighter aircraft and tougher criminal legislation. A few days before the vote of no confidence, Harper appealed to the opposition parties to approve the budget instead of demanding new elections. The Conservative government had prioritized economic measures after the 2008 international financial crisis and Canada’s economy had recovered faster than most other industrialized countries. For example, they had managed to create as many jobs that disappeared at the beginning of the recession, but in spring 2011 unemployment was still close to 8%.
According to Countryaah official site, Harper and the Conservative Party (CPC) had been a minority government since they came to power in 2006 because they lacked a majority in parliament. The upcoming new election – the fourth parliamentary election in seven years – did not seem to change anything in practice. The Conservative Party was expected to win again and form a new minority government.
The day after the vote of no confidence, Parliament was dissolved and new elections were announced until May 2. In the polls before the election, the Conservative Party looked to be winning. During a TV debate, Harper accused the opposition of forcing an unnecessary election at a time when Canadians should instead focus on the economy. The economy was a major issue, although the Liberals also tried to focus on cheaper housing and other social improvements, as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
In the recent election, the Conservative Party won a surprisingly large victory and, for the first time, got its own majority in the lower house. The party received 40% of the vote and 167 of the 308 seats. The elections also meant major changes in the political arena. The New Democratic Party (NDP) went strong – much thanks to its popular party leader Jack Layton – and became Parliament’s second largest party with 102 seats. The Liberals, who ruled the country during much of the post-war period and were otherwise the largest opposition party, made their worst election ever and more than halved their mandate to 34. Party leader Michael Ignatieff lost his own seat in parliament and resigned after the election. The Quebec Bloc (BQ), which wants an independent Quebec, also suffered a major defeat and was only allowed to retain 4 of its 47 seats. Also BQ’s party leader, Gilles Duceppe, lost his seat in Parliament and therefore resigned. BQ, which had been the dominant political player in the French-speaking province of Quebec for 20 years, lost its votes to the NDP mainly.
At the end of May, the Liberal Party elected Bob Rae, who had previously been head of government in Ontario, as a new temporary party leader.
Popular NDP leader Jack Layton died of cancer in late August. It was largely thanks to him that the NDP in the May elections went from having been the fourth opposition party to become the largest. Layton turned 61 years old and had been the leader of the Social Democratic Party since 2003. On his own proposal, Nycole Turmel, newly elected Quebec MP and former union leader, was appointed temporary party leader. She was relatively unknown among voters. The NDP had been considered by many as “Layton’s party” and there was a fear that his death would weaken the party and the entire opposition. After the election, when the Conservatives won big, the media talked about the possibility of a merger between the NDP and the LP to create a center-left alternative for the Conservative government.
An unusually mild penalty for a rape and a statement about “slut” by a policeman at the beginning of the year led to a protest march in Toronto that soon grew into an international movement for women’s rights. It was during a lecture on crime prevention at a university in Toronto in January that police said “women should avoid dressing as slums so as not to be exposed” to abuse. He later apologized for his statement. The following month, the clothing issue and the woman’s behavior came up in a rape trial and the perpetrator received an unusually mild sentence. This led to some women arranging a ‘slutwalk’ in Toronto. The purpose was to protest against the guilt of women being abused. Since then, the protest walks have spread throughout the world and have been carried out in Sweden, among other things.
In July, the Canadian military left Afghanistan as planned. Canada had sent the first soldiers to Afghanistan in 2002, shortly after the US-led NATO invasion. Since 2008, 2,800 Canadian soldiers have been in the troubled Qandahar province in southern Afghanistan. The presence was disputed at home and led to several political debates. The military engagement cost nearly 160 Canadian soldiers their lives, and even in economic terms, the effort was great. Canada still has about 950 educators in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. Until 2014, they will help prepare the Afghan army and police to assume responsibility for security in the country.
At the International Climate Summit in South Africa (COP17) in December, Environment Minister Peter Kent announced at the end of 2011-12 that the Kyoto Protocol, the agreement on reduced greenhouse gas emissions that several countries signed in 1997, left. The United States and China are not affiliated to the protocol. Canada received harsh criticism for its departure from other countries and environmental organizations.