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Conservative Party of Canada

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Alternative meaning: Conservative Party of Canada (pre-1942)

Conservative Party of Canada
Current Leader:Stephen Harper
Founded:December 7, 2003
Headquarters:Suite 1720
130 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5G4
Political ideology:conservative

The Conservative Party of Canada is a right-of-centre political party in Canada, formed by the merger of the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in December 2003.

The party currently forms the official Opposition in the House of Commons.

Table of contents
1 Background
2 Leadership Election
3 Party leaders
4 Provincial parties
5 Controversy
6 External links


The merger to form the Conservative Party was announced on October 16, 2003, by the two party leaders (Stephen Harper of the Alliance and Peter MacKay of the Progressive Conservatives), and was ratified by the membership of the Alliance on December 5 by a margin of 96% to 4%, and by delegates of the PC Party on December 6 by a margin of 90% to 10%. On December 8, 2003, the Conservative Party of Canada was officially registered with Elections Canada. On March 20, 2004, Stephen Harper was elected the new party leader.

The merger was the culmination of the Canadian "Unite the Right" movement, driven by the desire to present an effective right-wing opposition to the Liberal Party of Canada for the 2004 Canadian election, to create a new party that would draw support from all parts of Canada and would not split the right-wing vote. The splitting of the right-wing vote is widely believed to have contributed to easy Liberal victories in the 1997 Canadian election and the 2000 Canadian election.

The party still is referred to as "Tory" by the media and retains the tie to the historical Conservative Party of Canada founded in 1854 by Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Etienne Cartier by virtue of the fact that the merged entity assumed all assets and liabilities of the Progressive Conservative Party.

[[Stephen HarperEnlarge

[[Stephen Harper


Leadership Election

Stephen Harper was chosen as leader of the new party on March 20, 2004, defeating former Ontario provincial Tory Cabinet minister Tony Clement and former Magna International CEO Belinda Stronach on the first ballot.

Some Conservative activists had hoped to recruit former Ontario Premier Mike Harris for the leadership but he declined, as did New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord and Alberta Premier Ralph Klein. Outgoing Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay also announced he would not seek the leadership of the new party.

See also:

Party leaders

See also:

Provincial parties

As of March 2004, it is unclear whether the provincial Progressive Conservative parties will formally link themselves with the new Conservative Party of Canada, or whether they will remain independent.

Unofficially, however, the Conservatives have the support of many provincial Tory members. Several Tory premiers, such as Ralph Klein of Alberta, Pat Binns of Prince Edward Island, Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador and Bernard Lord of New Brunswick, have also expressed their support for the new party.

While officially separate, federal Conservative Party documents, such as membership applications, can be picked up from most Provincial PC Party offices.

The Conservative Party, while officially having no provincial wings, is aligned to many provincial parties:

Provincial Party alignment Province
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Former Provincial wing, PC Party Ontario
British Columbia Conservative Party Former Provincial wing, PC Party British Columbia
Alberta Progressive Conservatives Former Provincial wing, PC Party Alberta
Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba Former Provincial wing, PC Party Manitoba
Saskatchewan Party No official alignment Saskatchewan
Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia Former Provincial wing, PC Party Nova Scotia
Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick Former Provincial wing, PC Party New Brunswick
Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador Former Provincial wing, PC Party Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island Progressive Conservative Party Former Provincial wing, PC Party P.E.I
Yukon Party No official alignment Yukon Territory

The Yukon Party (formerly the Yukon Progressive Conservative Party) changed its name and cut off all ties to the federal Progressive Conservatives during the Mulroney years.

The Saskatchewan Party was an unofficial merger of the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan and members of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party, which arose after the collapse of the Progressive Conservatives following the scandal-plagued government of Grant Devine in the 1980s. The Liberals still run candidates. While the Progressive Conservatives have officially withdrawn from politics, they retain a nominal organization and run paper candidates to maintain the party's treasury.

There is a strong possibility that some of these parties will affiliate or at least endorse the new federal Conservative Party.

The BC Liberal Party was once a provincial wing of the federal Liberal Party of Canada, but under Gordon Campbell has moved to the right and now contains supporters of the federal Conservatives and federal Liberals in its ranks. The BC Liberal Party is officially neutral when it comes to federal politics.

The Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ) and Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) have no relation to any federal party, although the Liberals are led by former federal Tory leader Jean Charest. Since becoming Liberal leader, Charest has brought many former supporters of the Mulroney Tories into leadership positions in the PLQ. He has remained silent on the question of federal politics since becoming Premier of Quebec and will almost certainly remain neutral in order not to alienate federal Liberal supporters within the PLQ.

The ADQ, in turn, is the most conservative of the three provincial parties in Quebec, and although ADQ policies on health care are close to those of the Conservatives, ADQ leader Mario Dumont has rejected any formal alignment with any federal party.

The British Columbia Conservative Party still exists and runs candidates, but they are not a major contender for office. In the past, the Progressive Conservatives have also maintained close relations with the British Columbia Social Credit Party. An attempt to "unite the right" at the provincial level in BC produced the British Columbia Unity Party, which ultimately failed.

See also:


The merger process was controversial.
David Orchard had a written agreement from Peter MacKay at the 2003 Conservative leadership convention excluding any such merger and led an unsuccessful legal challenge to it.

Four sitting Progressive Conservative MPss -- André Bachand, John Herron, former Tory leadership candidate Scott Brison, and former Prime Minister Joe Clark -- decided not to join the new Conservative Party caucus. Brison crossed the floor to the Liberals, and soon after was made a parliamentary secretary in Paul Martin's government. A former Alliance MP, Keith Martin, also left the party on January 14 and ran as a Liberal in the 2004 federal election.

Additionally, three Senators, William Doody, Norman Atkins and Lowell Murray, declined to join the new party and continue to sit in the upper house as Progressive Conservatives.

The new party has no MPss in Quebec as Progressive Conservative MP André Bachand announced he would not join the new party. Instead, he will leave federal politics after finishing the current session as an independent MP.

External links