Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday December 10, 2003
Tory stalwart Joe Clark partyless
The new Conservative Party of Canada lost three MPs yesterday, hours after a proud announcement that it had officially registered for business and begun operations.
Former Tory leader Joe Clark and fellow MPs Andre Bachand of Quebec and John Herron of New Brunswick said they couldn’t bring themselves to participate in the new organization, formed through a merger with the Canadian Alliance.
“This is not my party,” Clark said as he arrived for what he called his last Tory caucus meeting. “This is something entirely new. I will not be part of this new party.”
Herron, like Clark, said he had notified Speaker Peter Milliken that he would serve out his current term but would keep calling himself a Progressive Conservative — the old party name that was ditched in the merger.
“I sought a mandate to be elected as a Progressive Conservative,” Herron said. “I plan on fulfilling my mandate.”
In effect, Clark and Herron will be treated as independents under Commons rules, with reduced opportunity to ask questions, participate in debates and serve on committees.
Bachand, who has been courted by the federal Liberals, said he hasn’t decided whether to remain in politics but, if he does, it won’t be under the banner of the new Conservative party. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)