OTTAWA - The Conservative Party of Canada has spoken. Stephen Harper fought
off a strong challenge from political neophyte Belinda Stronach and former
Ontario health minister Tony Clement to win the Conservative leadership race on
the first ballot, garnering 55 per cent of the points.
"I am proud to lead our new, strong, united party as we focus our efforts on delivering the change that Canadians demand and
deserve," Harper said in a statement to his supporters.
"Working together, we can elect a strong Conservative government to replace the tired old Chrétien-Martin Liberals. Together, we know we can get our country back on track to achieving the great things we all know is within our collective grasp."
National breakdown of
Conservative leadership vote results.
To stay informed on
the race to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of
Canada by returning
to the PoliticsWatch Conservative Leadership Race
RACE FOR LEADER INDEX:
leadership contenders, ranking, bio, photo, Web site and contact information
Recommended Background links
contact and Web site info
Stephen Harper -- 55.5%
is considered a strong candidate to lead the new party. Just 44-years-old, the
bilingual Harper is a veteran in political circles, and has been leader of the
Official Opposition since 2002. While having the experience of leading a
party can be considered a plus, many are concerned that having Harper as leader
will make the merger of the Alliance and the Conservatives look like a
37-year-old CEO of Magna International has never held elected office, but played
a key role in negotiating an agreement to create the new party and has been a
major political fundraiser in recent years. Her friends tell the media that she
is seriously considering entering the race. "If it was five per cent before, it's 75 per cent now," an associate
told Canadian Press. "She's been almost overwhelmed by the number of people calling her."
Stronach's fundraising abilities and political contacts would make her a serious
challenger if she entered the race.
Tony Clement -- 9.5%
former Ontario Health Minister is believed to be the heir of former leadership
hopeful Mike Harris' political machine in Ontario. Since being defeated in last
year's provincial elections, Clement has been hired by the law firm Bennett
Jones and the University of Toronto law school. The Toronto Star reports that
Clement's team is so serious about their man making a run that they are
soliciting volunteers and are looking at office space in Toronto and Brampton.
OUT OF RACE
the Tory caucus leader enters the race it will be his third campaign in less
than 10 months -- if you include the Conservative Party ratification process. The
38-year-old reportedly delayed his decision to run, waiting for a decision by
fellow Maritimer Bernard Lord. MacKay can be credited with successfully
negotiating an agreement with Harper that factored in the equality of ridings in
the leadership selection process. But at the same time, many believe that
MacKay's breaking of his leadership floor deal with David Orchard not to merge
with the Alliance has damaged the young Nova Scotian politico.
Updated Jan 13, 2004: Saying
his heart said, "Go," but his head said, "No," MacKay
announced today that he will not enter the race.
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lawyer Jim Prentice placed second to former Tory leader Peter MacKay at the May
2003 PC Leadership Convention. He announced his candidacy unofficially in a
December interview on CTV's Question Period. Prentice acknowledges that he is
relatively unknown. "Some of you may be wondering, 'Who is this guy
anyway?'" he asks in his campaign website biography. "Fair question."
Updated Jan 12, 2004: Citing
a lack of campaign financing, Prentice announced his withdrawal from the
bit of a dark horse, but well liked and well known on Parliament Hill, Strahl is
a 46-year-old grandfather of two who was first elected to Parliament in 1993,
making him the candidate with the most federal political experience. The
Alliance MP is considered one of the party's strongest performers in Question
Period. Strahl says he is considering entering the leadership race because
without a substantial field of candidates it "runs the risk of being
Updated Jan 16, 2004:
Canadian Press reports that citing a lack of financing, Strahl announced that he
will not seek the party's leadership.
these stories and features
in Conservative race
in, Stronach next
says it's not his time
says he's "ready to go"
to enter race to lead new party
won't drop out for Lord
Conservative Party official
comes to the Hill
THE NEW CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF
CANADA WHO WILL LEAD (CBC.CA)
Canadian Political Party Leaders
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