Deirdre McMurdy

It's not likely that Charlie Sheen has been following Canada's 2011 federal election campaign, even though his words best sum it up: "d'uh, winning."

Stephen Harper won his long-sought majority government. The NDP also won, replacing the Liberals as the Official Opposition and taking political control of Quebec. The Green Party finally won a seat and two party leaders, Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe won their freedom from political life.

Perhaps the biggest winner of all, however, is Canadian capital markets. There's nothing that investors and traders despise more than uncertainty and after seven years of minority government, they now have a measure of certainty. Even the nationalist sentiment in Quebec — which markets have fretted about in the past — has been, at least for now, silenced.

The Canadian dollar is set to strengthen — for better and worse — now that it's clear Jack Layton is not the new prime minister and that there was no obstreperous coalition in the works.

With the Conservatives poised to push through their budget for 2011/12, stock markets had further cause to exhale. The promise of corporate tax cuts is one that appeals to domestic and international investors as does the relatively benign attitude towards foreign ownership. (This is of particular interest to those who track telecom and the current foreign ownership restrictions in place for the sector.)

The promise of a $4-billion cut to government operations and the pledge to balance Canada's books by 2014 are the policy equivalent of ice cream for markets. And if the crusade to create a national securities regulator resumes, that will be the sprinkles and the syrup.

Speaking of which, both the finance (Jim Flaherty) and industry (Tony Clement) ministers were re-elected. So, if required, continuity won't be an issue on those key files.

The certainty that has come with the Tory victory is especially significant because of its national breadth. Stephen Harper finally succeeded in replicating what Jean Chretien did: gaining seats right across the country. That includes Ontario and urban ridings that had shunned the Conservatives in the past.

So what happened and why?

Well aware that Canadians are generally middle-of-the-political-spectrum kind of people Mr Harper steadily pushed his party toward the centre and away from the right. As he staked out that turf, he pushed the Liberals to the left and into the traditional patrimony of the NDP.

Recently, as the NDP gained popular momentum, the right-of-centre Liberals threw their lot in with the Tories rather than back the NDP. The frustrated voters of Quebec did the rest of the job.

All of which is to say that the stage is set for decisive action, clear direction and who knows? Maybe the Prime Minister will even give his Cabinet colleagues a little leash now that they have secured a majority — or at least loosen the choke chains.

It's not likely that Charlie Sheen has been following Canada's 2011 federal election campaign, even though his words best sum it up: "d'uh, winning."

Stephen Harper won his long-sought majority government. The NDP also won, replacing the Liberals as the Official Opposition and taking political control of Quebec. The Green Party finally won a seat and two party leaders, Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe won their freedom from political life.

Perhaps the biggest winner of all, however, is Canadian capital markets. There's nothing that investors and traders despise more than uncertainty and after seven years of minority government, they now have a measure of certainty. Even the nationalist sentiment in Quebec - which markets have fretted about in the past - has been, at least for now, silenced.

The Canadian dollar is set to strengthen — for better and worse — now that it's clear Jack Layton is not the new prime minister and that there was no obstreperous coalition in the works.

With the Conservatives poised to push through their budget for 2011/12, stock markets had further cause to exhale. The promise of corporate tax cuts is one that appeals to domestic and international investors as does the relatively benign attitude towards foreign ownership. (This is of particular interest to those who track telecom and the current foreign ownership restrictions in place for the sector.)

The promise of a $4-billion cut to government operations and the pledge to balance Canada's books by 2014 are the policy equivalent of ice cream for markets. And if the crusade to create a national securities regulator resumes, that will be the sprinkles and the syrup.

Speaking of which, both the finance (Jim Flaherty) and industry (Tony Clement) ministers were re-elected. So, if required, continuity won't be an issue on those key files.

The certainty that has come with the Tory victory is especially significant because of its national breadth. Stephen Harper finally succeeded in replicating what Jean Chretien did: gaining seats right across the country. That includes Ontario and urban ridings that had shunned the Conservatives in the past.

So what happened and why?

Well aware that Canadians are generally middle-of-the-political-spectrum kind of people Mr Harper steadily pushed his party toward the centre and away from the right. As he staked out that turf, he pushed the Liberals to the left and into the traditional patrimony of the NDP.

Recently, as the NDP gained popular momentum, the right-of-centre Liberals threw their lot in with the Tories rather than back the NDP. The frustrated voters of Quebec did the rest of the job.

All of which is to say that the stage is set for decisive action, clear direction and who knows? Maybe the Prime Minister will even give his Cabinet colleagues a little leash now that they have secured a majority - or at least loosen the choke chains.