Canada Votes Amid Financial Upheaval
Harper leads, but global crisis clouds election's finish
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2008 6:46 AM CDT
Prime Minister Stephen Harper answers reporters questions at a news conference in Richmond, British Columbia Thursday Oct. 9, 2008.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Tom Hanson)
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(Newser) – Canadians vote today in the country's third election in four years, and polls predict a second minority government for Stephen Harper, the Conservative prime minister. But while his Tories have led Stéphane Dion's Liberals throughout the campaign, the global financial crisis—during which Toronto's stock exchange has dropped 20% in two weeks—has upended the race and left tonight's result in doubt, reports the Financial Times.

Harper and Dion have concentrated their efforts around Toronto and Vancouver, where several close races could determine the outcome. In Quebec, both parties have lost ground to the separatist Bloc Québécois, which has put independence on the back burner and campaigned on a populist platform. The left-wing New Democratic Party is also expected to perform well, and could enter into a coalition with the Liberals if the Conservatives stumble.