When a government falls like this, the Governor General has the option of calling a new election, or asking the other side if they can collect enough votes on their side to take the place of the government. This just doesn't happen in the U.S., because you only have two parties, but if you have 3 or more, the way the vote divides can lead to just this kind of intricate balancing act.
Priscilla pointed me to this American blogger's view on the differences between Canada and U.S. highlighted by this episode, but there was one point that I think he missed. The "economic crisis" that has swept across the world has hit Canada too. Not quite in the same way (our banks weren't as exposed to danger as those in the U.S.), but our stock exchange has fallen, the fall in the price of oil has affected us, and the fall in the housing market is already resulting in layoffs and bankruptcies, just to mention the most obvious highlights.
However, in all this, our government basically "disappeared" for almost two months. The politicians have continued to talk about "crisis" and "emergency" and teetering on the brink of disaster, but unlike the U.S., they've pretty much sat on the sidelines, waiting for Parliament to return. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the politicians have barged their way to the front of the crowd, waving their arms and insisting that everyone get behind them as they "do something", which has turned out to be throwing astronomical sums of money around, week after week. Has all this flailing activity produced anything very different from Canada's enforced inaction? Here, our stock market has inched up a little, just like the Dow Jones, and we hear bad news about this or that company laying off workers, but there has been no catastrophe, people are not starving or homeless. For a "crisis", this is a very well-behaved one, and it's patiently waited around for almost 2 months for someone to attend to it. It makes me wonder if all the hysterical arm-waving in the U.S. has really made much difference after all.