CBC In Depth
Unite the right: Timeline
CBC News Online | Updated Feb. 2, 2006

Talks to unite the right have had their rocky moments. The most recent, conducted during the summer of 2003, appeared to have broken down by early October, with PC Leader Peter MacKay and Alliance Leader Stephen Harper publicly pointing fingers at one another.

But later in the month, the leaders announced an agreement to merge the parties. The Conservative Party of Canada was formed weeks later.

The merger was a long time in coming. Progressive Conservatives and members of the old Reform and Alliance parties have held talks, attended unite-the-right conventions and planned co-operation in elections for nearly 16 years.

The following is a timeline of the key developments.

Jan. 23, 2006
The Conservative Party of Canada � barely two years after its formation � wins enough seats for a minority government. The party makes a breakthrough in Quebec, taking 10 seats. The Conservatives make some gains in rural Ontario.

June 28, 2004
The Conservative party wins 99 seats � mainly in Western Canada. The party fails to make the breakthrough it sought in Ontario and Quebec. The Conservatives attract just less than 30 per cent of the vote, well under the combined total for the Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance parties in the previous election. Still, Liberal losses are enough to usher in Canada's first minority government in 25 years.

March 20, 2004
Stephen Harper wins a first-ballot victory to become the first leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Conservative party members gave Harper 56 per cent of the available points in the vote.

Dec. 6, 2003
90 per cent of 2,486 Tory delegates vote in favour of creating a new combined party to be called the Conservative Party of Canada.

Dec. 5, 2003
95 per cent of Canadian Alliance members vote in favour of merging with the Progressive Conservative Party to form a new party.

Dec. 4, 2003
David Orchard back in court to pursue legal action aimed at stopping the proposed merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties.

Nov. 21, 2003
David Orchard and a group of Conservative party members ask an Ontario Superior Court to rule that leader Peter MacKay violated the party's constitution with the merger plan.

Nov. 3, 2003
Canadian Conservatives express their disappointment after former Ontario Premier Mike Harris announces he is not interested running for leadership of a united Progressive Conservative-Canadian Alliance party.

Oct. 30, 2003
Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay kicks off a campaign within his party to drum up support for a merger with the Canadian Alliance.

Oct. 19, 2003
Alliance MPs approve of the deal by a vote of 51-1, with three abstentions. Nine MPs were not present for the vote.

Oct. 16, 2003
Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives announce an agreement in principle on merging the two parties under the name The Conservative Party of Canada.

May 31, 2003
MacKay elected leader of the Progressive Conservative party, after striking a deal with fellow leadership candidate Orchard that he would not enter negotiations to unite the right.

March 2002
Harper wins the leadership of the Canadian Alliance on the first mail-in ballot, taking 55 per cent of the vote. Day is runner-up with 37 per cent. All but one of the seven ousted Canadian Alliance members leave the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative Caucus and return to the Alliance.

Seven MPs either leave or are tossed out of the Alliance caucus for openly calling for the ouster of Stockwell Day as party leader. They form a short-lived coalition with the Conservatives, which becomes known as the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative Caucus. Headed by Joe Clark, Chuck Strahl and Deborah Grey, the caucus sits as a group in the House of Commons.

January - July 2000
In an attempt to unite the right, Preston Manning proposes a new party which eventually becomes the Canadian Alliance. Manning resigns as leader of Reform to seek the leadership of the new party. He loses to Day.

June 1997
Reform hits paydirt in the federal election, winning 60 seats and becoming the official Opposition. Preston Manning gets the keys to Stornoway. Not one Reform MP is elected east of Manitoba. The Progressive Conservatives rebound, taking 20 seats. The Liberals form a majority government with only 38 per cent of the vote, the same percentage won jointly by the un-united Reform and Conservative parties.

In the federal election Reform wins 22 of Alberta's 26 seats, 24 of British Columbia's 30 seats, five seats in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and one seat in Ontario, for a total of 52 seats. The PCs win just two.

Deborah Grey wins a byelection in Alberta, giving Reform its first seat in the House of Commons.

Reform fails to win a single seat in the federal election.

Preston Manning becomes the first – and only – leader of the Reform Party of Canada. The party calls for free trade, demands an elected Senate, wants less government, less social services and less Quebec.



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