Election Results Surprise Many

May 5, 2011, 3:10 PM EST

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As the final results of the 2011 federal election were broadcast across the country, they came as a shock to many, in what is being called an historic election.

Few political analysts and commentators predicted the rise of the Stephen Harper Conservatives to such a strong majority position, the NDP leaping into the official opposition with more than 100 seats or even the near collapse of both the Liberal and Bloc Quebecois parties. Add to that the success of Green Party leader Elizabeth May in finally winning her seat, a first for the Green Party, and it all added up to a truly historic election.  

"NDP leader Jack Layton's success in Quebec and the momentum that resonated throughout Canada as a result of that shift was a significant story that had a huge impact on this campaign," said Lewenza.

CAW members made important contributions to many campaigns, including those of a number of CAW members who ran for the NDP. Assistant to CAW National President Peggy Nash was successful in regaining her former seat in Parkdale - High Park. Nash had earlier occupied the seat from 2006 to 2008.

In addition, CAW member Malcolm Allen held his seat in Welland, Ontario and Peter Stoffer in Sackville Eastern Shore in Nova Scotia. Joe Comartin, an honourary member of CAW Local 444, retained his seat in Windsor-Tecumseh in Ontario. In Quebec, Claude Patry, a CAW retiree and previous president of Local 1937, which represents workers at Rio Tinto Alcan, was elected for the NDP in Jonquiere-Alma.

Lewenza lamented the fact that the Conservative Party will lead a majority government, even though they received less than 50 per cent of the popular vote.

"The majority of Canadians voted against the Conservative government, yet they received a comfortable majority," said Lewenza. He indicated that the union should push for ways to strengthen democracy, such as considering supporting proportional representation or other methods of increasing popular representation and voter turnout.

In the 2011 federal election only 61.4 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, up slightly from 2008 when only 58.8 of eligible voters exercised their democratic right -the lowest turnout on record.

Lewenza thanked all CAW leadership, members and staff for their hard work and dedication throughout the election.

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