Reform Party of Canada
LEADER: Preston Manning.
BRIEF HISTORY: The Reform Party was originally founded in 1987 as a Western Canada-based protest party, and attempted to expand eastward into a nationwide party in the 1990s. The party was founded by of a coalition of discontented Western interest groups who were upset with the Mulroney government and the lack of a voice for Western concerns at the national level. They believed the West needed its own party to be heard in Ottawa. Their main complaints against the Mulroney government were its alleged favouritism towards Quebec, lack of fiscal responsibility, and a failure to support a program of institutional reform for the Senate. The roots of this discontent lay mainly in their belief that a package of proposed constitutional amendments -- the Meech Lake Accord -- failed to meet the needs of Westerners. Shortly after it was founded, it began moving sharply to the right on issues. In 1988, Reform fielded 72 candidates, none were elected, and captured 275,767 votes (2.1%). In a 1989 by election in Alberta, Deborah Grey won and became the first Reform member to sit in Parliament. In 1993, Reform fielded 207 candidates, won 52 seats (gain of 51 seats), and captured 2,559,245 votes (18.7%). In 1997, Reform fielded 227 candidates, won 60 seats (gain of 8 seats) and Official Opposition status, and captured 2,513,080 votes (19.4%). In the aftermath of the 1997 election, Reform worked to create a larger coalition to establish a stonger conservative national party. This led to the creation of a new party named the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance (more commonly known as the Canadian Alliance). After the new party was launched, Reform disbanded in March 2000 and was officially folded into the Canadian Alliance.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Reform Party was a populist party espousing social and fiscal connservativism. The party opposed the Meech Lake Accord, opposed creation of the GST, supported cuts in social spending, supported tax cuts, supported tougher immigration restrictions, opposed official bilingualism and multiculturalism, opposed any preferential treatment for Quebec, and opposed gay rights.
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© 2007 by Ron Gunzburger.