Liberal leader Stephane Dion complained repeatedly during Canada's election campaign that Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Conservatives were easily re-elected, had "no plan" for the economy. Now, Dion has to come up with his own plan — to resign as leader — after the Liberals had one of their worst election defeats in history.
With pressure mounting in the party, Dion is expected to announce on Monday that he will quit after the Liberals elected 76 members in Tuesday's election, down from 103 in 2006.
As Harper's government still lacks a majority in the Commons, there could be another election within a couple of years and the Liberals need to rebuild.
"I'd like him (Dion) to go out with some dignity," Toronto Liberal Joe Volpe said.
The failure to properly explain the Liberal's proposed "Green Shift" plan with a new carbon tax didn't go over well with voters at a time of fiscal uncertainty.
An up-and-coming Liberal who might one day become leader is Justin Trudeau, son of late party icon and former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who was elected in the Montreal area.
The Conservatives elected 143 candidates, short of the 155 needed for a majority, and received 38 percent of the popular vote. The Liberals had 76 candidates elected, the New Democrats, 37, Bloc Quebecois, 50, and the Green Party was shut out.
The day after being re-elected, Prime Minister Harper said he does have a plan for the economy. His six-point plan includes meeting with provincial leaders and giving an economic update shortly — something similar in many ways to what the defeated Liberals had suggested.
"I want to assure Canadians that together we will weather the storm, and we will position our economy to emerge stronger than ever," he said.
During a congratulatory phone call from President Bush, the two leaders discussed the financial crisis and the international response.
News in brief
• The Mounties' terrorism unit is investigating a second explosion in a week along a natural gas and oil pipeline in northern British Columbia. The EnCana pipeline near the border with Alberta was damaged, along with one last week east of Dawson Creek. Police said a letter was sent to newspapers demanding that oil and gas projects be stopped. No reason was given, but critics say the lines pose a danger to the public.
• Quebec Judge Jean-Paul Decoste has found five animal-rights activists not guilty of getting too close to seal hunters off Canada's east coast in 2006. They were arrested while filming the annual slaughter of baby seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The five were from Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States.
Facts and figures
The Bank of Canada will lower its key interest rate by another half a percentage point in the next week to further stimulate the economy, the Royal Bank of Canada predicts.
The central bank cut its rate by 0.5 percent this month to 2.5 percent and commercial banks have now trimmed their prime lending rates to 4.25 percent.
Canada's dollar is higher at 84.58 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.1823 Canadian, before bank exchanges fees.
Stock markets were mixed during the week, with the Toronto exchange up at 9,740 points on Friday and the TSX Venture index down at 935 points.
Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 7, 9, 15, 21, 38 and 40; bonus 13. (Oct. 11) 7, 8, 23, 38, 39 and 45; bonus 47. Super 7: (Oct. 10) 2, 8, 10, 16, 21, 33 and 46; bonus 30.
• Ontario health authorities are investigating an E. coli outbreak linked to hamburgers served by Harvey's, a national fast-food chain. About 100 people have become ill with a potentially deadly strain of the bacteria. The outbreak is centered in North Bay but several cases in Sudbury and eastern Ontario also are being investigated. It's the same strain that killed seven people and made 2,500 others sick in 2000 from municipal drinking water in Walkerton, Ontario.
• A tentative deal has been reached to end a strike-lockout at Brandon University in Manitoba. There have been no classes since Sept. 29 for the 3,200 students because of issues involving 240 professors, instructional assistants and librarians.
• Recovery efforts are under way to pull two huge turbine rotors destined for New Brunswick's Point Lepreau nuclear generating station from the bottom of Saint John harbor. The rotors fell into the water as they were being loaded onto a barge.
Jim Fox can be reached at [email protected]