Liberals Win Canadian Election, Ousting Harper, According To Projections
MONTREAL/CALGARY, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Canada's Liberal leader Justin Trudeau rode a late campaign surge to a stunning election victory on Monday, toppling Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives with a promise of change and returning a touch of glamor, youth and charisma to Ottawa.
Canada's major television networks projected a majority for the Liberals, a turn in political fortunes that smashed the record for the number of seats gained from one election to the next. The Liberals had been a distant third place party in Parliament before this election.
The projected win ends the Conservatives' nine-year run in power and reflected a political shift away from Harper's brand of fiscal and cultural conservatism.
Trudeau, 43, the photogenic son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, pledged to run a C$10 billion annual budget deficit for three years to invest in infrastructure and help stimulate Canada's anemic economic growth.
This rattled financial markets in the runnup to the vote and the Canadian dollar weakened on news of his victory.
Trudeau has said he will repair Canada's cool relations with the Obama administration, withdraw Canada from the combat mission against Islamic State militants in favor of humanitarian aid and training, and tackle climate change.
Trudeau vaulted from third place to lead the polls in the final days of the campaign, overcoming Conservative attacks that he is too inexperienced to govern to return to the Prime Minister's residence in Ottawa where he grew up as a child.
"When the time for change strikes, it's lethal," former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said in a television interview. "I ran and was successful because I wasn't Pierre Trudeau. Justin is successful because he isn't Stephen Harper."
The Conservatives were projected to become the official opposition in Parliament, with the left-leaning New Democratic Party in third.
Liberal supporters at the party's campaign headquarters broke into cheers and whistles when television projected that Trudeau would be the next prime minister.
Top Trudeau advisor Gerald Butts tweeted "Amazing work #TeamTrudeau. Breathtaking really."
At the Conservative election headquarters in Calgary, where Harper is due to speak later, supporters sat quietly, staring at giant TV screens as the results poured in.
The Conservatives weren't the only party that appeared headed for a crushing defeat. The third place left-leaning New Democratic Party's fall was highlighted in Quebec, where it had the majority of its seats.
Radio Canada projected it would end up with just seven seats, down from 54 in the last Parliament.
The Liberals' win marks a swing toward a more multilateral approach in global politics by the Canadian government, which has distanced itself from the United Nations in recent years.
The former teacher took charge of the party just two years ago and guided it out of the political wilderness with a pledge of economic stimulus and stirring appeals for a return to social liberalism.