Joe Clark's Progressive Conservative party(PC) gained a minority victory in yesterday's Canadian federal election.
Prime Minister Pierre Eliot Trudeau, of the Liberal party, who has held office for 11 years, said at 1 a.m. today he will recomme d that Clark form the next government. Trudeau added, "I'll make a pretty good leader of the opposition."
Early morning returns showed the Conservatives winning 137 seats and the Liberals taking 113, while the NDP prevailed in 26 and Social Credit candidates siphoned off six seats in Quebec.
The Liberals, however, amassed 42 percent of the popular vote to the Conservatives' 35 per cent.
The PC wrested 25 seats from the Liberals in Ontario, including those of five federal cabinet ministers in surburban Toronto.
J. Stephen Dupre, King Visiting Professor and a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said last night, "I think it's a Conservative minority that could last a long time."
Dupre added that if Trudeau tries to maintain power, there may be "enough dissidents within the Liberal party who would want a leadership convention." Such a convention would force Trudeau either to resign or seek the leadership of the party again.
The Conservatives won only two seats out of 74 in Quebec, but they swept all the seats in Alberta and took a majority of seats in both Atlantic Canada and British Columbia.
About 250 people gathered at the State Street Bank's downtown club last night to watch a relayed telecast of the election returns. The Canadian consulate in Boston sponsored the affair.
Reaction to the PC minority victory was mixed last night. Harvard Canadian Club President John D. Weston '80 of Vancouver, British Columbia, said, "Like most Westerners I think it's time for a change." Weston said he felt the PC victory was "more a rejection of Trudeau than a positive thrust behind Clark."
Douglas F. Francis '80 from Edmonton. Alberta, said he thought it was "a great day for Canada."
"It's the end of 11 years of Trudeau's arrogance and his ignoring of justified demands from the West," he added.
Montreal native Gordon H. Baltuch '82 did not share Francis's enthusiasm. "I'm really disappointed-it's not too good for the country," Baltuch said.
Thomas H. Stevenson '82 of Toronto expressed concern at the election's divisive results. "With the Liberals holding almost all the seats in Quebec and very few elsewhere there's a real threat of political alienation," Stevenson said.
The Conservatives took only 14 per cent of the Popular vote in Quebec. In the 1974 federal election the PC garnered 21 per cent.
"I think the NDP and the Liberals will join together to form the government." Michael G. Harpe '82 said.
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