Canada

'Devil we know' Martin better than Harper: Clark

Former Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark said he would rather see Prime Minister Paul Martin lead the country than Harper.

Former Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark said he would rather see Prime Minister Paul Martin lead the country than current Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

During an interview on CTV's Question Period on Sunday, Clark was pressed who, given the choice between the two, he would prefer as the nation's leader.

"In those choices, I would be extremely worried about Mr. Harper. I personally would prefer to go with the devil we know," he said.

But Clark said there's been a failure in both national parties and neither one merits support.

He said in the next election, Canadians should not vote for parties but for the best candidate in their constituency. He said he'll be helping candidates from both parties.

Worried by Harper's leadership

"I am that concerned with the imprint of Stephen Harper, not only what he stood for in the past, but the way he has led this party."

Clark said Harper and the new party will not get away with the "masquerade" that it is the Progressive Conservative party of the past. The old PC party offered Canadians a "broad, national alternative," he said.

But "I've seen nothing in the Stephen Harper-led party that on issues of human rights, issues like the environment, issues like bilingualism, issues like the nature of the country, this is anything like the governments (Brian) Mulroney or I led."

Clark said members of the Canadian Alliance dominate the new party while most of the Progressive Conservatives have been relegated to the sidelines.

Mulroney backs Harper

Clark's comments follow Mulroney's public endorsement of Harper at a party dinner Saturday in Moncton, N.B.

"I think what's clear today is that Mr. Mulroney has been playing a quite active role in the construction of this new party and the takeover of the Progressive Conservative party."

Conservative opposition house leader, John Reynolds responded to Clark's comments calling him a "bitter old man" and a political turncoat. Reynolds suggested Clark "is a traitor to the cause."