Bulte loses seat as Conservatives win in Canada

Sarmīte “Sam” Bulte, a Latvian-Canadian member of parliament from the Parkdale-High Park riding of Toronto, has lost her seat in the House of Commons in Canada’s general election.

Bulte, a member of the Liberal Party, lost to Peggy Nash of the New Democratic Party in an election that ended 13 years of Liberal rule in the federal government. Nash earned 40.3 percent of the votes, according to preliminary results reported by Elections Canada, while Bulte got 36 percent.

Two years ago, Bulte easily led a pack of six candidates to retain her seat in the House of Commons. Nash came in second in the 2004 vote in Parkdale-High Park.

Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin’s minority government, plagued by scandal, fell on Nov. 29 after a no-confidence vote in Parliament. Now Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper will lead a new minority government.

As the Canadian campaign began in late autumn, Martin’s Liberals seemed assured of a victory. But the Conservative Party, according to media reports, benefitted in part from Canadians simply being tired with Liberal rule. The Conservative Party, according to Elections Canada, received 36.35 percent of the national vote and captured a total of 124 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons.

Bulte was first elected in 1997 and re-elected in 2000 and 2004. Among her other political and cultural activities, Bulte has served as a member of the board of the Latvian National Federation in Canada (Latviešu Nacionālā apvienība Kanādā).

Sarmīte Bulte

Sarmīte “Sam” Bulte, a member of the Liberal Party, has lost her seat in the Canadian House of Commons.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

3 thoughts on “Bulte loses seat as Conservatives win in Canada

  1. The comments posted by “Jem” refer to a fundraising dinner for Sarmite Bulte attended by many prominent members of the Toronto arts community and was perceived by some as conflict of interest given Sarmite’s role as a lawmaker actively engaged in copyright legislation an issue of particular interest to those in the arts community.

    These comments do not do justice to Sarmite’s three term tenure as Member of Parliament in the House of Commons. To my knowledge, no other Latvian has ever been elected to the federal parliament of a western country. Sarmite was the first. While Laila Freivalde in Sweden has and is filling far more senior positions, these are ministerial appointments to cabinet positions and not elected positions to a legislative body.

    Sarmite built up a reputation as an effective and high profile member of the women’s caucus of the Liberal Party of Canada as well as being a good constituency Member of Parliament for residents of her riding addressing local issues and concerns. They included many Latvians both inside and outside her riding who turned to her constituency office for help in dealing with various matters.

    Sarmite is perhaps best recognized for her work as an advocate for Toronto’s arts and cultural community and for an insight into that role, the reader is referred to a tribute written in the January 25 edition of the Toronto Star – Parkdale loses a valuable arts advocate

  2. I’d have to dissagree. Bulte was never seen in Parkdale / High Park and was no friend to the arts unless you mean big media companies.
    As for the tribute in the Star I think the letter in the letters section the next day provides a decent rebuttal.
    As a partial Latvian Canadain I am sad that we have lost a Latvian voice but frankly I don’t think Sam was a good voice for Canada.
    Her attack (largly funded by big media) against the public domain was not in the interest of the average Canadian and she seemed to refuse to consult anyone but the media barrons in her campaign to tighten copyright law in Canada. This culminated with her office actually floating a proposal that would have seen schools paying to access web sites that the rest of us access for free.
    I think the sadest part of Sam’s campaign was the threats of law suits she made near the end.
    Sorry but I will not miss her presence in my riding in the slightest especially since she never was here except durring election time anyway.

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