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Canadian Government Ousted by No-Confidence Vote

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority government was ousted Monday by a parliamentary vote of no confidence. There will be new elections in Canada, probably in late January.

There were cheers after the three opposition parties in Canada' s Parliament joined together and passed a no-confidence motion in the Liberal Party government on Monday night. The 171-133 vote ousted Prime Minister Paul Martin's government just 17 months after it took power.

Mr. Martins opponent, Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party, organized the no confidence vote. He says he hopes revelations of a scandal that saw millions of dollars in government contracts go to supporters of the Liberal Party under former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, will convince Canadians to change leaders.

Opposition leaders forced the no-confidence vote last week after the prime minister rejected their demand to dissolve parliament and hold new elections early next year. The opposition was hoping to make political gains from highly publicized corruption scandals involving leaders of the Liberal Party. Even though the prime minister was absolved of wrongdoing, the public's sentiment against the government is running high.

Prime Minister Martin was upbeat after the vote, saying he will campaign in the next election on the strong Canadian economy.

"Today in Canada inflation is low. Interest rates are low. It's easier to buy a home. It's easier to get a job. And that is the result of the hard work and the good management of a Liberal government," he said.

Early polls show the new parliament might not look very different from the current one. As Canadians prepare for their first winter vote in 26 years, Mr. Martin's Liberals hold 35 percent support, followed by the Conservatives at 30 percent and the left-leaning New Democratic Party at 20 percent.

The separatist Parti Quebecois, which will only campaign in Quebec, has 60 percent support there.

But while the opposition is cheering the downfall of Mr. Martin's government, political analysts says the new election, now expected to be scheduled for for January 23, might not change the next parliament very much.