2005 Conservative Convention
Palais des congrès – Montreal
The Conservative Party of Canada held its founding policy convention in Montreal following the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives and the 2004 election that left the new party as Official Opposition. However, a controversial plan to assign delegates nearly derailed the proceedings.
►About 2,900 delegates met with the goal of producing policies to battle Liberal claims of an extreme, hidden right-wing agenda. Deputy lead Peter MacKay told the convention: “This is our opportunity to put the lie to Liberal fearmongering.”
►Ontario MP Scott Reid, a former Canadian Alliance member, supported a proposal to change representation at conventions. Ridings with more than 100 members could send a maximum of 10 delegates. Smaller ridings would send one delegate for each 10 members. Larger riding associations, mostly in the west and Ontario, would benefit more compared to those in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
Reid was booed on the floor when speaking in favour. Delegates ultimately rejected the plan.
According to reports, MacKay left an emergency caucus meeting over a disagreement Reid on the riding. MacKay called it a betrayal of the 2003 Canadian Alliance-Progressive Conservative merger terms and was a “deal-breaker.” He said its adoption would leave the new party in jeopardy.
►Opposition Leader Stephen Harper promised a bill to define marriage as one man, one woman. His introductory video included a tribute from Brian Mulroney, and his leadership received 84-per-cent support.
►The Quebec wing was resurrected, but most of the province’s policy resolutions didn’t have enough support to reach the floor. They included the safe federal use of chrysotile and provincial participation in international treaty negotiations.
►PASSED RESOLUTIONS: no regulation of abortion (55%), more help for stay-at-home parents, a review of the Kyoto climate change agreement, more tax cuts, and opposition to an expanded definition of marriage.
A resolution to create a Conservative party youth wing failed (48.3-per-cent support). Three young MPs, Jeremy Harrison, Pierre Poilievre, and Andrew Scheer, opposed the plan.
The convention produced a 112-point policy declaration and 19 founding principles.
►Harper left the convention saying the party had a “moderate, mainstream program which reflects Canadian values proudly and faithfully.”
- The collapse of Jetsgo airline led to worries of reduced attendance, especially from the western provinces.