Canada

Secret talks held to unite the right

The federal Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance parties have begun secret meetings to unite the right

The federal Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance parties have begun secret meetings in a last ditch attempt to unite the right and fight the Liberals in the next election, sources have told CBC News.

The talks are being held by a small group of advisors and MPs from both parties, including former Tory cabinet minister Don Mazankowski, former Ontario premier Bill Davis, and Canadian Alliance member Ray Speaker.

Conservative Leader Peter MacKay and Alliance Leader Stephen Harper have given their approval to the talks, but have not agreed to anything yet.

Proposals include the elimination of both the Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties, creation of a new party called the Conservative Party and the election of its leader as early as this fall.

The proposals would have to be approved by the current membership of both the Alliance and the Tories.

"Well, there are chances. And we have to make sure that we examine all the options. That's clearly what I have to do," MacKay said.

When asked if the parties were closer to an agreement, Harper said: "I shouldn't comment on that. Discussions are still going on."

Tory Senator David Tkatchuk drafted a proposal containing some of these ideas, but sources say what's under discussion now goes beyond that.

"I think it has to be sorted out no later than the second week in October," he said.

"If anything is to be done, it will have to be fast tracked," said Norman Doyle, a Tory MP for St. John's East.

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