[JURIST] Canadian Prime Minister-elect Stephen Harper [party profile] pledged Monday night to clean up government corruption and get tough on crime after his Conservative Party [party website] defeated the governing Liberals in Canada's federal election and won enough seats [Elections Canada final results] to form a minority government [Mapleleafweb backgrounder] in association with two other smaller parties and one independent MP. Speaking [official text; recorded video] to supporters in his Calgary, Alberta, constituency, Harper vowed:
First and foremost, we will clean up Ottawa by proposing and passing the Federal Accountability Act. We will do this because shuffling the deck in Ottawa is not enough. We need to change the system. And we will change the system to strengthen our institutions and make them more accountable to you, the Canadian taxpayers.... We will [also] reform our justice system to make it stronger and to ensure that we turn back the growing plague of guns, gangs, and drugs in our cities and communities.The government of outgoing Prime Minister Paul Martin [official website] had been plagued by the so-called sponsorship scandal [JURIST news archive] which had seen large advertising contracts go to Liberal ad agencies in Quebec in return for little or no work, and was otherwise seen as weary and short of new ideas. In the dying days of the campaign Martin assailed Harper for criticizing "activist" judges and allegedly threatening to politicize the Supreme Court of Canada [JURIST report] and roll back rights recognized under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but Harper made no reference to those attacks in this Monday night address, preferring instead to deliver a general message of reassurance. He has previously said, however, that he would allow a free, non-party line vote in the House of Commons on the issue of same-sex marriage, legalized across the country by a federal bill [JURIST report] last year. CBC News has more.