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Party of Canada: Uniting the Right
The Conservative Party of Canada
The Quest to Unite the Right
In May 2003, Peter MacKay won the leadership of the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party
after fellow candidate David Orchard threw his support behind MacKay. Later, it was
revealed that MacKay made a deal with Orchard on the convention floor in order to gain
his support, which involved a commitment by MacKay not to consider merging with the
Canadian Alliance. However, less than a month later, journalists were reporting on “secret”
meetings between Tory officials and their Canadian Alliance (CA) counterparts. After
months of on-again, off-again talks, on October 16th, Peter MacKay and CA leader Stephen
Harper held a joint news conference to announce they had reached an agreement in principle
to merge the two parties. This agreement was followed by a vote by members of both parties,
in which the agreement to merge into the new Conservative Party of Canada was approved.
The party now faces the challenges of preparing for the next federal election, expected
in Spring 2004. This will involve selecting a new leader, developing a new party policy,
and stemming the tide of former Progressive Conservatives who are leaving the new party.
This feature explores the issues and difficulties in uniting the two parties. It is
divided into the following sections:
- What does the term mean?
- Historical overview, and what happens now
- Examination of sources of opposition to the merger, details of legal action taken
to save the Progressive Conservative Party, as well as the exodus of former Preogressive
- Summary of the leadership election process, and background on who’s in the election
and who’s out
- Comparing and contrasting Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance policies
- Will voters view the Conservative Party of Canada as a credible alternative to
the governing Liberals?