Ex-PM bows out of new united-right party
There is now officially a new national political party in Canada. The Conservative Party of Canada has been registered with the chief electoral officer.
The new party will be led by Sen. John Lynch-Staunton until a leader can be elected.
The moves follow the decision by both the Progressive Conservative party and the Canadian Alliance to merge into the new entity.
However, there are still a lot of Tories who remain uncomfortable with the change. At least three MPs confirmed on Monday they intend to sit as independents, including former leader Joe Clark.
The PC caucus held its final meeting on Monday afternoon. Some members sat mute as leader Peter MacKay was introduced. At least three said they're leaving, including Clark.
"I came to say goodbye," the former prime minister told reporters. "This is not my party, this is something entirely new . . . . I will not be part of this new party."
New Brunswick MP John Herron is also leaving, as is the only Quebec Tory MP, Andre Bachand. "This is a question of integrity," said Bachand. "I am not leaving the boat. The boat is not there anymore."
There could be more defections. Manitoba MP Rick Borotsik says he'll decide early next year and Newfoundland MP Rex Barnes says many people are nervously watching to see what happens next. "If MacKay or (former Alliance leader Stephen) Harper become leader, there will be more defections," he said.
Adding to the tension is a spat between the management committee of the old PC party and MacKay over appointments to an interim joint council.