Alliance dissidents to form 'Democractic Representative Caucus'
The remaining 12 dissident Alliance MP's have decided to form a new parliamentary caucus.
Dissident Chuck Strahl calls it a difficult decision. Strahl says when the leadership crisis in the Alliance is resolved, then they may be able to get back together.
Strahl said neither he nor any other dissidents plan on seeking the leadership of the Canadian Alliance.
Earlier on Thursday, senior dissidents in the Canadian Alliance party lost one of their members as they gathered in Ottawa to discuss their options in the wake of leader Stockwell Day's call for an early leadership race.
- INDEPTH: Canadian Alliance leadership race
MP Brian Fitzpatrick says he doesn't support his colleagues' moves towards closer ties with the Tories and approves of Day's plan.
Fitzpatrick, who represents Prince Albert, Sask., made the comments as he left early from a meeting of dissident MPs Thursday.
The meeting was to consider the group's options ranging from the status quo, to seeking recognition from the speaker as a separate caucus, which is what they chose.
Strahl said he's disappointed that Day's plan doesn't make any effort to unite the opposing sides.
"Right now, there's no effort to bring everybody together," he said. "I have real concerns for the party as this drags on."
Before the new caucus announcement, party whip John Reynolds had said the dissidents would be welcomed back if they apologize.
- FROM JULY 18, 2001: Timing of Alliance leadership vote causing more division
- FROM JULY 19: Day finds support lukewarm in New Brunswick
Before she went into the meeting, dissident Deborah Grey flatly refused to beg. "I've been in office for 12 1/2 years. I don't intend to crawl anywhere," she said.
Grey also accused Day of playing a "cat-and-mouse" game by not revealing whether he will be a candidate. She said she's not interested in the job but expects there to be many good candidates. Observers have cited Strahl and former MP Stephen Harper as possible candidates.
Later Thursday the party's National Council will hold a conference call on the timing and rules of the leadership race.
But party president Clayton Manness says he doubts there'll be a quick decision and the race could be delayed until next year.