Election 2008: Harper offers olive branch to fractured House

The economy took centre stage as Stephen Harper gave his victory speechTuesday night in Calgary.

Late last night, Harper addressed the cheering crowd in his home riding of Calgary South. His Conservative Party had just won a second minority in Canada’s 40th general election – 144 seats to the Liberals 76 seats. Harper said he is looking forward to continuing his work as Prime Minister.

“We have shown that minority government can work and at this time of global economic insecurity we owe it to Canadians to show it once again,” he said.

He acknowledged that Canada is facing tough economic times, but believes that history has shown the country can overcome such challenges.

“Friends, these are unstable times but our country is on a clear and steady course,” he said. “Our country has stared down challenges before; 141 years of history give proof that Canada’s character is unshakeable, our community is vibrant, our economy resilient, and Canadians strong and compassionate.”

The Prime Minister congratulated NDP leader Jack Layton for “speaking out on behalf of ordinary working people and their families.”

“We agree that in a time of economic uncertainty we must do all we can to protect the earnings, savings and opportunities of all Canadians,” Harper continued.

Harper called for unity among the parties to protect Canadian interests in an uncertain time.

“It is written that to every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose,” he said. “This is a time for us all to put aside our difference and partisan considerations and to work together for the benefit of Canada.”

Although the Conservatives performed better than some pundits expected, Harper was not completely happy with the results.

“Tonight, Conservatives were elected in places that we have not elected Conservative MPs in for at least a generation or even longer,” he said. “At the same time its scope is not as wide as it should be.”