Harper Conservatives leading in early vote counting

Elections Canada sign greets voters at a Toronto riding in today’s federal election. (POLLING_STN_SIGN)

At 10 o’clock this evening, most major media outlets in Canada have declared a Conservative Party victory in the 2011 federal election.

Until today, pollsters were predicting a so-called “orange surge” with the New Democratic Party under Jack Layton challenging the governing Conservatives. They were correct, but few predicted a majority for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Tonight, it appeared that the Harper Conservatives were on their way to a majority government – more than 155 seats in the House. A half hour after the polls closed across the country, the Conservatives were leading or elected in 165 seats, the New Democrats in 109 and the Liberals, under leader Michael Ignatieff, in 29.

At dissolution, the House of Commons was comprised of 143 Conservative MPs, 77 Liberals, 47 members of the Bloc Quebecois, 36 NDP representatives and two independents.