Conservative Party of Canada
BRIEF HISTORY: Founded during confederation in 1867, the Progressive Conservative Party was originally known as the Conservative Party (and, for a period in the late 1800s, the Liberal-Conservative Party). In 1942, the party renamed itself the Progressive Conservative Party -- popularly known as the Tories -- which remained the PC's name until it was dissolved in 2003. Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, was a member of the party. The federal Tories governed Canada for over forty of the country's first seventy years of existence. However, the PC spent the majority of its history in opposition as the nation's Official Opposition party. Between 1896 and 1993, the PC formed government five times: 1911-1921, 1930-1935, 1957-1963, 1979-1980 and 1984-1993. The Tories were the only Canadian party to ever win more than 200 seats in an election, and it did so twice: 1958 and 1984. The party suffered a period of sharp decline following the disasterous 1993 federal election, and was formally dissolved on December 7, 2003, when it merged with the more socially conservative Canadian Alliance to form the new Conservative Party. The Progressive Conservative caucus met for the last time in January 2004.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Progressive Conservative Party was generally centre-right in ideology. For most of its existence, the party was identified with Protestant social values, British imperialism, Canadian nationalism, and constitutional centralism. This was highly successful until 1920, and to that point in history, the party was the most successful federal party in the Dominion. "Red Tories" were more moderate in their economic and social policies, and generally supported protectionist trade policies. "Blue Tories" were generally more socially conservative, fiscally libertarian, and generally supported free trade policies. For most of its history, Red Tories dominated control of the party.
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© 2007 by Ron Gunzburger.