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Canadian Alliance

The Canadian Alliance is the second largest party in Canada's House of Commons.

The Canadian Alliance is the most right wing of the major Canadian federal political parties. It began as the Reform Party of Canada, primarily created to express western discontent with the central Canadian domination of federal politics. This was brought about after a fragile Progressive Conservative Party coalition of small-c conservatives, Red Tories[?] and Quebec nationalists collapsed. The result was both Reform and the Bloc Québécois. The party achieved major successes in the 1993 federal election when it succeeded in replacing the Progressive Conservative Party as the leading voice of right wing opinions. It has been further right both fiscally and socially than the PCs. In the 1997 election the Reform Party became Canada's official opposition.

In 1999 the Reform Party was renamed the Canadian Alliance in an attempt to escape its perceived position as a party of western Canada, and with the express goal of "uniting the right" by merging with the Conservatives. The first name chosen for the party was the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party, which the media quickly noticed created the unfortunate acronym, CCRAP. A rather more serious embarrassment consisted in distressing electoral irregularities in the leadership convention that rejected Preston Manning, the longtime head of the Reform Party, in favour of the younger, charismatic Alberta treasurer Stockwell Day.

In 2000 the governing Liberals called a surprise election that caught the Canadian Alliance off guard. The CA's election campaign was plagued by embarrassing gaffes by Stockwell Day, whose intelligence and ability soon began to be called into question. Liberal Party politicians also made an issue of Stockwell Day's Evangelical Christian beliefs.

There was further embarassment when their proposal for a mechanism to call for a national referendum when a certain percentage of the electorate signed a petition calling for it was famously satirized by the comedy television series This Hour Has 22 Minutes. They called on viewers to sign a petition for a referendum to change Stockwell Days' first name to Doris. The minimum number of signatures as by Alliance's criteria was obtained and as a result, the platform item was soon quietly dropped.

The election saw no great breakthrough outside of western Canada and no dent created in the Liberal Party's governing majority.

The failed election led to severe caucus infighting, which in the summer 2001 provoked a group of dissident MPs, led by Deborah Grey[?] and Chuck Strahl[?], to quit the party and form their own parliamentary grouping, the Democratic Representative Caucus. This has since dissolved. The split forced Stockwell Day's resignation as leader. He was replaced in April 2002 by Stephen Harper.

Despite the intent of the party's creation, the Progressive Conservatives have shown little inclination to merge with them, though several politians left the PC party to join the Canadian Alliance

See also Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party, List of political parties, Politics of Canada

External Links http://www.canadianalliance.com -- The Canadian Alliance Website



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