Canada re-elects Stephen Harper, its pro-Israel prime minister

Canada’s staunchly pro-Israel prime minister, Stephen Harper, was re-elected by a wide margin.

Harper, who heads the Conservative Party, has gone from heading two successive minority governments to a healthy majority.

In Monday’s federal elections, Harper captured 167 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons, or 40 percent of the popular vote.

In a stunning reversal, the left-leaning New Democratic Party replaced the Liberal Party as the official opposition. The NDP won 102 seats and the Liberals dropped to 34.

Harper, with his strong and clear support for Israel, drew many Jewish voters away from the Liberals.

In heavily Jewish districts, Israel emerged as a key election concern. In two Toronto-area districts, Jewish Conservatives played up the government’s support for Israel and defeated longtime Liberal lawmakers

In Montreal, Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister and well-known human rights advocate, won his district in a tough and close race against an Orthodox Jewish city councillor. Cotler, whose victories in the past were assured, won by fewer than 1,000 votes.

In Winnipeg, Jewish Liberal lawmaker Anita Neville lost to the Conservative candidate.