Monday's national election in Canada proved to be a decisive, historic turning point in the politics of America's largest trading partner and neighbor to the north. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party won an outright majority of seats for the first time in his five years of governing the country. But perhaps even more importantly, what had been a multi-party system for many decades, spanning the right, middle and left, now appears to be realigning to a simple two-party system of the right versus the left.
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The Liberal Party, which governed from both the center and center-left for most of the 20th century and with many significant accomplishments, fell to third place in a national election for the first time in their history, seemingly supplanted by the more social democratic and labor union-affiliated New Democrats (NDP) as the party of opposition to the Tories. And as for the left-wing secessionist Bloc Quebecois, their cause of Quebec separatism has suffered a thorough defeat, with the province's cultural nationalism certainly not going away, but instead now being represented from the left by the unionist NDP.
With all seats now projected by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Conservatives won 39.6% of the vote and 167 seats, a gain of 24 seats to put them above the 155 magic number needed for a majority in Parliament. The NDP rocketed to 30.6% and 102 seats, up from the mere 37 they had at the last election. The Green Party also won a single seat, too. And the big two losers were the Liberals, who took only 18.9% of the vote and 34 seats -- down from the 77 they won last time, which was itself viewed as an awful result for them -- and the Bloc Quebecois, which within Quebec only fell from 38.1% and 49 seats (out of 75) to 23.4% and a mere four seats this time, as the NDP went from just one to 58 seats in the province.