Canada’s Founding Party
On October 16th, 2003, the leaders of the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada announced an agreement-in-principle to unite under a new political banner. In December 2003, the merger was overwhelmingly ratified by members of both parties and the Conservative Party of Canada was officially born. This unification of Canada’s conservative parties restored and rejuvenated the national political movement that has been building a stronger, safer, and better Canada for over 145 years. Conservative achievements include Confederation, women’s suffrage, the Canadian Bill of Rights, and the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
The Return to Power
The new Conservative Party of Canada elected Stephen Harper as its first leader on March 20th, 2004. When Paul Martin’s Liberal government was defeated on a motion of non-confidence moved by Stephen Harper in November 2005, Parliament was dissolved, setting the stage for a general election.
On January 23rd, 2006, Canadians voted for change. Two weeks later, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet were sworn in to lead the new Government of Canada. When the global economic recession threatened, the Harper Government took timely and prudent action to ensure Canada remained on track for long-term stability. And when faced with another general election in October 2008, Canadians trusted a Conservative Government to continue leading Canada on a path for economic success.
A Majority Mandate
Meanwhile, Canadians were witnessing an unfortunate display by the opposition. Secret backroom deals were crafting a Liberal-NDP-Bloc Québécois Coalition led by Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, and later Michael Ignatieff. Canadians, however, could see through the scheme.
The Coalition ultimately chose to reject our 2011 Budget and force an unnecessary and opportunistic election. On May 2nd, 2011, Canadians were faced with a choice. They overwhelmingly responded by electing a strong, stable, national majority Conservative Government.
Over the years, conservatives in Canada have fought elections under many different party banners, but the core principles of the movement have not changed: Canadian conservatives stand for sovereignty and a strong national defence; open federalism and national unity; free enterprise and individual achievement; and the opportunity for all Canadians, regardless of background, to achieve their dreams in a safe, healthy, and prosperous country. In short, we stand for a Canada that is strong, united, independent, and free.
A Legacy of Achievement
Since taking office, the Harper Conservative Government has replaced the old Liberal culture of entitlement with a new culture of achievement. It became one of the longest-serving and most productive minority governments in Canadian history, and is now on track for even more success with its majority mandate. Its many achievements include:
Providing Effective Economic Leadership for a Prosperous Future
Our Conservative Government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has helped guide Canada through the global recession, into recovery. Thanks in part to Canada’s Economic Action Plan, Canada has experienced recovery, economic growth and job creation. EAP measures also helped enhance the infrastructure – roads, bridges, transit, sewers and other facilities Canadians rely on in their communities or that are essential to our growing economy.
The Conservative Government has also been working hard to make life more affordable for hard-working Canadians and their families. By balancing major tax cuts with disciplined debt reduction and focussed, prudent spending, the Government has been planning for long-term prosperity while carefully guiding the Canadian economy through a period of global economic turmoil. We have cut taxes over 140 times, including the GST, income taxes and many more. This has helped household disposable income grow, and many hard-working Canadians have more money for saving through the Government’s new Tax-Free Savings Account, the single most important personal savings vehicle since the introduction of RRSPs.
Economic Action Plan 2012 helps prepare Canada for long-term prosperity, promoting innovation, supporting job creation and keeping Canada on track to return to balanced budgets.
Strengthening Canada’s Sovereignty and Place in the World
By rebuilding our Canadian Forces and adopting a new, values-based foreign policy, the Government is protecting Canada’s sovereignty and advancing our national interests on the world stage. Guided by our foundational values – freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, Canada is now asserting our sovereignty in the Arctic, pursuing new international free trade agreements and strengthening our contributions to global security, most notably through the mission in Afghanistan.
Strengthening the Federation and our Democratic Institutions
The Conservative Government is working tirelessly to bring Canadians together as never before. By restoring fiscal balance, practising open federalism, reforming our parliamentary institutions, and passing the historic motion recognizing the Quebecois nation within a united Canada, Prime Minister Harper has helped strengthened national unity as never before. The landmark Federal Accountability Act cleaned up government and weeded out corruption than had run rampant in previous Liberal governments. Meanwhile the Senate Reform Act will ensure the Senate remains democratic, accountable, and representative of all Canadians.
Tackling Crime and Strengthening the Security of Canadians
Recognizing that Canadian families flourish in safe communities, the Conservative Government is improving the security of our borders and reforming the criminal justice system to ensure the rights of law-abiding citizens trump the rights of criminals. The Tackling Violent Crimes Act delivered mandatory prison sentences for gun crimes, and a higher age of protection to combat sexual predators. Keeping a 17-year old promise, the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry was abolished; after all, it only criminalized honest Canadians and did nothing to combat real crime. Passed within the first 100 sitting days of the 41st Parliament – as promised – the Safe Streets and Communities Act is delivering tougher sentences for drug crimes and sexual offences against children, as well as real support for victims. Public safety, security and justice will remain important priorities in the Harper Government’s future.
Improving the Environment and Health of Canadians
The Conservative Government is taking comprehensive action to improve the environment and protect the health of Canadians. Canada now has tough new regulations against toxic chemicals and an aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our Government has protected vast land and marine areas, increasing the area protected by Parks Canada by over 50 per cent. The expansion of Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories, to six times its former size, is the conservation achievement of a generation. Record high Canada Health Transfers (CHT) to the provinces means support will increase to $40 billion by the end of the decade. The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act has replaced 40-year old legislation and imposes stricter rules on manufacturers of Canadians products. Meanwhile, the Harper Government is delivering Responsible Resource Development to ensure that major projects concerning our natural resources are streamlined and focused on environmental safety.
A Great Conservative Future
Today, the Conservative Party of Canada is a vibrant national organization with strong grassroots support from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Backed by the Party and its members, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government is upholding the proud Canadian Conservative tradition. Indeed, Canada is on a Conservative path to a future of unlimited possibility.