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Harper to mull over future

Globe and Mail Update with Canadian Press

Stephen Harper mused about his role in the Conservative Party Tuesday after a disappointing election result despite a campaign that seemed to have incredible momentum.

Mr. Harper, who helped create the new party out of the Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance only six months ago, did not win the minority government that many, including Mr. Harper, had been predicting. His party ended up with 99 seats to the Liberals' 135 and the NDP's 19.

In Calgary Tuesday, Mr. Harper was asked about continuing on at the party's helm after the election results were less than what had been predicted. While the party did improve on its results of 73 seats at dissolution, it did not make the huge inroads in Ontario, where it picked up only 24 seats.

"I'm always willing to serve so I'm going to take a little bit of time with my family," he said in answer to a questions about his continuing leadership on Tuesday in Calgary.

"And obviously I'm already talking to people across the country."

But he added: "My sense is our people are pretty happy of where we've come in a short time."

Monday night, the Tories had a solid standing in Western Canada, British Columbia and the East Coast despite the failure to overtake the Liberals in Ontario.

He blamed the final election result on a "last-minute swing of the NDP to Liberal. That's the bottom line."

But he added that he felt generally good about the results.

"I thought we'd won a few more seats, but, in the end, the big picture looks pretty good. The world is unfolding a little slower than we thought, but it's still unfolding."

He defended his party's performance since its creation in December, saying it has done well in a short time.

"In the end, we have a historic result."

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