The Conservative Party of Canada (French: Parti conservateur du Canada), colloquially known as the Tories, is a political party in Canada. It is positioned on the right of the Canadian political spectrum. The party’s leader from 2004 to 2015 was Stephen Harper, who served as Prime Minister from 2006 to 2015.
The Conservative Party is the successor to multiple right-wing parties which have existed in Canada for over a century. Until 1942, one of the party’s predecessors was known as the Conservative Party of Canada, and participated in numerous governments. Before 1942, the predecessors to the Conservatives had multiple names, but by 1942, the main right-wing Canadian force became known as the Progressive Conservatives. In 1957, John Diefenbaker became the first Prime Minister from the Progressive Conservative Party, and remained in office until 1963.
Another Progressive Conservative government was elected after the results of the 1979 federal election, with Joe Clark becoming Prime Minister. Clark served from 1979 to 1980, when he was defeated by the Liberal Party after the 1980 federal election. In 1984, the Progressive Conservatives won with Brian Mulroney becoming Prime Minister. Mulroney was Prime Minister from 1984 to 1993, and his government was marked by free trade agreements and economic liberalization. The party suffered a near complete loss after the 1993 federal election, thanks to a splintering of the right-wing; the Conservatives’ other predecessor, the Reform Party, led by Preston Manning placed in third, leaving the Progressive Conservatives in fifth. A similar result occurred in 1997, and in 2000, when the Reform Party became the Canadian Alliance.
In 2003, the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives merged, forming the Conservative Party of Canada. The unified Conservative Party generally favours lower taxes, small government, more decentralization of federal government powers to the provinces modeled after the Meech Lake Accord and a tougher stand on “law and order” issues. The party won two minority governments after the 2006 federal election, and a majority government in the 2011 federal election before being defeated in the 2015 federal election by a majority Liberal government.
The party is currently led by Andrew Scheer, the winner of the leadership election, which took place on May 27, 2017.
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