MONTREAL, Quebec, April 8--Liberal leader Lester B. Pearson has emerged as Canada's next Prime Minister on the basis of today's nationwide elections. As of 1130 p.m. he did not have a working majority, but this party had won or was leading 128 ridings. The majority figure is 133.
Early returns from the Maritime Provinces indicated new successes for the Liberals. In Newfoundland, the Liberals took two Progressive Conservative seats, to make a clean sweep of the island's seven ridings. (congressional districts, constituencies) In tiny Prince Edward Island, the Liberals gained two P.C. seats to split the province's four seats with the P.C. party.
New Brunswick remained exactly the same, giving six seats to the Liberals and four to the conservatives. At 11:30 p.m. Nova Scotia had given four of its 12 seats to the P.C.'s, and five to the Liberals. Last year's election saw nine P.C.'s. two liberals and one New Democratic Party for the province.
In the key province of Quebec, Social Credit representation was cut down from 26 seats to 18. The Conservatives also lost ground, dropping from 14 to seven seats. The Liberals added 15 representatives to their previous total of 35. The island of Montreal gave 21 of 22 seats to the Liberals, losing only one to P.C. incumbent Georges Valade. Social Credit made no inroads on the island, the largest city in Canada.
The largest Canadian province, Ontario, was disappointing to the Liberals. Although they added 16 seats to the 35 they had in the last Parliament, the Liberals had hoped to gain even more of Ontario's 85 seats. The N.D.P. retained its six seats, although David Lewis, deputy leader of the Party, lost his York South riding to Liberal Marvin Gelber. Liberal leader Lester Pearson easily won his Algoma East constituency.
Prime Minister Diefenbaker's stronghold in the Prairie Provinces remained loyal to their benefactor. All of Saskatchewan's 17 seats went to the P.C.'s for the first time in history. Diefenbaker retained his own riding of Prince Albert. Liberal Hazen Argue suffered a surprise upset in his riding of Assiniboia.
In neighboring Manitoba, the Liberals picked up one seat, increasing their representation to two. The N.D.P. also won two seats, leaving the remaining 10 for the Conservatives.
The Conservatives retained their 15 seats in Alberta, while the Liberals picked up their only seat in this province from Social Credit. Contrary to the prediction of political pundits, Social Credit took only one seat in the province.
At the time of this dispatch, results from British Columbia were sparse. Liberals had been elected in three ridings and were leading in five, Conservatives had been elected in three, leading in nine; Social Credit was leading in one; and the N.D.P. had taken six seats, leading in four.
Big disappointments for the Conservatives included the defeat of Cabinet Ministers Fleming, Sevigny, Bell, and Fairclough, and that of the president of the Progressive-Conservative party, Egan Chambers. At 11:30 p.m. Minister Howard Green was also behind in his Vancouver quadra riding in British Columbia.