Canada. According to
CountryAAH, many expected Prime Minister Paul Martin to
announce new elections at the beginning of the year in order
to obtain a strong mandate to continue. However, his
position was weakened by a corruption scandal, which took
place in the mid-1990s, but the extent of which was now
On February 16 elections were held in Nunavut. All
candidates stood for independence. A few weeks later, Paul
Okalik was re-elected as head of government for the
In March, economist Stephen Harper was elected new leader
of the Conservative Party, which was formed in late 2003
through a merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and
the Canadian Alliance.
In April, the largest sales hunt began in 50 years -
350,000 animals would be killed by the end of May. This
aroused protests from animal rights organizations.
Authorities claimed that the seal strain had become so large
that it posed a threat to other animal species.
In the late spring, Paul Martin announced parliamentary
elections until June 28. The Liberal Party was for a long
time side by side with the Conservative Party in the polls.
The Liberals went to elections promising better care while
the Conservative Party promised to lower taxes and give more
money to the defense. The Liberal Party managed to maintain
its position as the country's largest party but lost its
majority in parliament. The party got almost 37% of the vote
and 135 of the 308 seats, while the Conservative party got
99 seats. Both the Quebec Bloc (BQ) and the Social
Democratic New Democratic Party (NDP) made good choices and
got 54 and 19 seats respectively.
The Liberals' victory was considered to be largely due to
the party's success in retaining many of its voters in
populous Ontario, despite the dissatisfaction with the
Liberal provincial government breaking a ballot promise and
raising taxes shortly before the election. The Conservatives
did the best in Western Canada, where the Liberals
previously had a weak position. The turnout was 60%. Martin
formed a minority government July 20, the first in Canada in
In order to push through its proposals in Parliament, the
Liberals must rely on the support of various parties. The
prime minister retained most of his ministers from the
former government. Among the newcomers were British
Columbia's former head of government, Ujjal Dosanjh, who
became health minister, and former ice hockey star Ken
Dryder was given responsibility for social development. The
popular Foreign Minister Bill Graham had to change jobs and
now became Minister of Defense.
In September, the provinces received an equivalent of
just over US $ 31 billion for health care investments. At
the same time, the provinces were given the responsibility
to develop a national strategy for pharmaceutical issues,
reduction of care queues and recruitment of health care
personnel. The larger cities received an extra grant to
extend child care until 2010.
On September 30, Martin extended Governor General
Adrienne Clarkson's term of office for another six years.
The provincial election in Alberta November 22 was won by
the Conservatives who won 61 of the 83 seats.
Partnership laws, which allowed same-sex people to marry,
were introduced during the year in Quebec, Manitoba, Nova
Scotia, Saskatchewan and Yukon Territory.
In early December, US President George W. Bush visited
the country, which was seen as an attempt to improve
contacts with Canada that had opposed the war against Iraq
in 2003. Martin's representative Jean Chrétien had a frosty
relationship with Bush.