|Contributor||The Oncoming Storm|
|Last Edited||AJ - April 02, 2009 12:31am|
|Description||The Conservative Party of Canada (French: Parti conservateur du Canada) is a right wing political party in Canada, formed by the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in December 2003. |
The merger to form the new Conservative Party of Canada was announced on October 16, 2003, by the two party leaders (Stephen Harper of the Canadian 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 new Conservative Party of Canada was officially registered with Elections Canada.
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 federal election and the 2000 election.
The party is still 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-Étienne Cartier by virtue of the fact that the merged entity assumed all assets and liabilities of the Progressive Conservative Party. Peter MacKay and many other high-profile former PCs, including Brian Mulroney see the CPC as a "natural evolution" of the conservative political movement in Canada. MacKay has suggested that the CPC is a reflection of the reunification of conservative ideologies under a "big tent." MacKay has often alluded to the historical fact that fractures have been a natural part of the Canadian conservative movement's history since the 1890's and that the merger was really a reconstitution of the movement.
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.
It is somewhat unclear whether all of the provincial Progressive Conservative parties will formally link themselves with the new Conservative Party of Canada, or whether they will remain independent or non-aligned to the federal Tories.
While officially separate, federal Conservative Party documents, such as membership applications, can be picked up from most provincial Progressive Conservative Party offices. Several of the provincial parties also contain open links to the federal Conservative website on their respective websites.
The Conservative Party, while officially having no provincial wings, works formally with the executives of several provincial conservative parties. CPC leader Stephen Harper has attended multiple provincial PC party conventions as a keynote speaker and he has encouraged all federal party members to purchase memberships in their provincial conservative counterparts.
The merger process was controversial. David Orchard had a written agreement from Peter MacKay at the 2003 Progressive Conservative Leadership convention excluding any such merger and led an unsuccessful legal challenge to it.
Source: Wikipedia [Link]