A brief timeline of the Conservative Party of Canada under the tutelage of its leader Stephen Harper.
Created by chrisjai on May 2, 2011
Last updated: 05/02/11 at 07:01 PM
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Harper succeed in managing the economy through the global recession but the spending resulted in a massive deficit. In Parliament, relations between the parties appeared more hostile than ever and the opposition promised to vote against the budget. Days before that happened the government was defeated on a vote on non-confidence after being found in contempt of Parliament for withholding information from MPs. Harper was accused of being a controlling bully.
After strong opposition to the fiscal update, the three opposition parties banded together and threatened to send voters back to the polls. Instead Harper sought and received permission to prorogue Parliament after 14 sitting days. Harper strongly attacked the legitimacy of the coalition effort, his popularity soared and the coalition collapsed.
Despite a law fixing the next election date, Harper declared Parliament “dysfunctional” and called an election. He increased the Conservative seat count to 143 but were a few seats short of a majority government.
The party spent a year trying to soften Harper’s image and distance itself from some of the more controversial policies that alienated urban voters. They were rewarded with 124 seats and a minority government. Harper was sworn in as the 22nd prime minister in February.
Tired of vote splitting, Harper and new PC leader Peter Mackay negotiated a merger between the two parties of the right. A general election was called weeks later and the new Conservative Party flirted briefly with top spot in the polls. After some gaffes and missteps during the campaign they went on to form the official opposition with 99 seats.
Harper became leader of the Canadian Alliance, the new name for the Reform Party. The Canadian Alliance struggled to broaden its base beyond Western Canada and almost imploded in 2001 under the brief leadership of Stockwell Day. Vote splitting on the right between the Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party helped keep the Liberal Party in power since 1993.
Won a seat in Parliament but resigned in early 1997. He became president of a right-wing lobby group, the National Citizens’ Coalition.
After failing to win a seat in the general election he became executive assistant to Reform MP Deb Grey, elected in a 1989 byelection.
Founding member of the Reform Party and helped draft the election platform of the Western based populist party.