Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Canadian Alliance

Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance
Founded:November 27, 2000
Dissolved:December 7, 2003
Colours:Green and Blue

The Canadian Alliance was the second largest party in Canada's House of Commons from 2000 to 2003. It was created as a vehicle to unite the former Reform Party with the Progressive Conservatives, and in December of 2003, its members voted to disband the party and integrate it into the newly formed Conservative Party of Canada.

Table of contents
1 Background
2 Conservative Party of Canada
3 Party Leaders
4 See also
5 External link


The Canadian Alliance was the most right wing of Canadian federal parties, it also had strong grassroots and neoconservative leanings. It began officially in 1987 as the Reform Party of Canada. Initially it was motivated by the need for democratic reforms and by profound Western Canadian discontent with the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney. Lead by its founder Preston Manning, the Reform Party rapidly gained momentum in western Canada and sought to expand its base in the east. Manning, son of Ernest Manning preimier of Alberta gained support partly from his father's old party, the Social Credit Party

With the collapse of a fragile Tory coalition composed of westerners, Ontarians and Quebec nationalists the Reform Party gained in prominence. The party achieved major successes in the 1993 Canadian federal election when it succeeded in replacing the Progressive Conservative Party as the leading voice in western Canada. Its platform and policies emphasized, inter alia, the rights and responsibilities of the individual, Senate and other democratic reforms and smaller more fiscally responsible government. In the 1997 election the Reform Party was even more successful becoming Canada's official opposition, however the party still failed to present a true challenge to the Liberal government, mostly due to inadequate support in eastern Canada.

Thus Manning, and many other members of the Reform Party, as well as many Progressive Conservatives, elected to try to form a new party. In 2000 following the second of two 'United Alternative Conventions' aimed at uniting Canadian conservatives under one banner the party voted to adopt the Alliance constitution and a new name - the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance (to be known as the Canadian Alliance). The federal PC party under Joe Clark refused to participate in these talks, but there was strong support from many provincial Tories, especially in Ontario and Alberta. Subsequently a leadership convention rejected Preston Manning, the founding head of the Reform Party, in favour of the younger, more charismatic Alberta treasurer Stockwell Day.

In 2000 the governing Liberals called a snap election that caught the Canadian Alliance off guard. Though disappointed with the election results in Ontario, the CA increased its presence to 66 MPs, including two MPs from Ontario. Nationally, the Party increased its popular vote to 25%. The Canadian Alliance remained the Official Opposition in the House of Commons. The Liberals retained their large majority and the Tories under Joe Clark remained in fifth place so the overall political landscape was not significantly changed.

However, the Alliance failure to win more seats in Ontario coupled with residual resentments from the Alliance leadership contest led to caucus infighting, which in the summer 2001 provoked a group of dissident MPs, led by Deborah Grey and Chuck Strahl, to quit the party and form their own parliamentary grouping, the Democratic Representative Caucus. The split forced Stockwell Day's resignation and in April 2002 Stephen Harper was elected leader. Once Harper assumed the leadership most of the rebellious MPs rejoined the Alliance party. Two MPs did not rejoin, however: Inky Mark chose to remain outside of caucus, and eventually joined the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, and the scandal-plagued Jim Pankiw was rejected when he applied for readmission to the Alliance caucus.

Conservative Party of Canada

On October 15, 2003, it was announced that the Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party would unite to form a new party called the Conservative Party of Canada. If successful this could lead to the realization of the Alliance's founding objective, but a good deal of both parties' ideology may have to be surrendered to achieve union. In particular, the Alliance's democratic reform and conservative social policies are seen as roadblocks to national appeal.

The union was ratified on December 5, 2003 (with 96% membership support) by the Canadian Alliance, and on December 6 by the Progressive Conservatives (with 90.4% membership support). On December 8, the party was officially incorporated with Elections Canada, with former Progressive Conservative Senator John Lynch-Staunton named interim leader until a leadership vote scheduled for March 2004.

Party Leaders

Canadian Alliance:

See also

Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party, List of political parties in Canada, Politics of Canada

External link