A united right gives
hope for future, maybe
News the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives have
reached an agreement-in-principle to join forces probably doesn’t
have the Liberals quaking in their royal boots yet, but for
right-thinking voters a ray of hope has been beamed into what
used to be a perpetually dark tunnel.
Although the latest round of talks really only lasted weeks,
discussion of “uniting the right” has been at the
forefront of Canadian federal politics ever since the collapse
of the PCs a decade ago.
Just because it might be created doesn’t mean the new
Conservative Party of Canada is guaranteed electoral success — far
from it. The true good news is its existence will force some
degree of accountability upon the Liberal government, which
would have ruled in perpetuity had Alliance leader Stephen
Harper and PC leader Peter MacKay not reached a compromise.
Best of all, the deal leaves David “Red Tory” Orchard
out in the cold. Orchard, if you don’t recall, is the
scheming leftist who broached a deal with MacKay at the PC
leadership convention in exchange for his support. At the time,
the deal seemed to negate any chance of co-operation between
the Alliance and PCs, but MacKay likely realized the PCs would
be looking at eventual destruction if something drastic wasn’t
If caucus members and card-carrying members of both parties
agree to the deal, there’s still a lot of work to be
done. The creation of riding associations could be particularly
tricky, as local-level PC and Alliance members are thrust together
to organize and eventually nominate candidates for the next
A unified party would also have to worry about alienating the
core Alliance support in the West or the possibility of left-leaning
members of the PCs bailing out. The most important thing the
new party has to do is choose a leader. Mike Harris’ name
is already being thrown about and it is not even known if Harper
or MacKay will even run themselves.
No matter who throws their hat into the ring, it has to be
someone who can attract broad support, build consensus and
be enough of a leader to prevent the embarrassing little
gaffes that have plagued the Alliance, while still being
principled (unlike the weak-kneed, ambiguous aura that
has enveloped the PCs ever since Brian Mulroney retired).
A few months from now, hopefully Canadians will have reason
to be interested in the political process, rather than apathetic
and resigned to decades of Liberal rule.