Conservative Party Leader
The leader of the Conservative Party is Erin O’Toole who was elected to lead the party in 2020, after the resignation of Andrew Scheer from the role. O’Toole was declared the winner of leadership race on the third ballot defeating his principle challenger Peter MacKay.
Erin O’Toole is a Toronto-area Member of Parliament who represents the riding of Durham. O’Toole was born in Montreal in 1973 and grew up in Port Perry and Bowmanville Ontario. He served as a Captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron. O’Toole served as the Minister of Veterans Affairs in the government of Stephen Harper.
Provincial Conservative Parties
By its own constitution, the Conservative Party of Canada is not permitted to form provincial parties. However, it does in practice promote and maintain relationships with conservative parties at the provincial level. These provincial conservative parties include:
- The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario led by Premier Doug Ford
- The United Conservative Party of Alberta led by Premier Jason Kenney
- The Saskatchewan Party led by Premier Scott Moe
- The Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba led by interim leader Kelvin Goertzen
- The Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick led by Premier Blaine Higgs
- The Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island led by Premier Dennis King
- The Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia led by Premier Tim Houston
- The Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador led by Paul Davis
- The Yukon Party led by Currie Dixon
British Columbia and Quebec have minor Conservative Parties.
In BC, federal support mostly goes to the BC Liberal Party which is actually a coalition of Conservatives and Liberals in opposition to the other major provincial party in BC, the BC NDP.
In Quebec, federal Conservative support is split between the Quebec Liberal Party, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), and the Conservative Party of Quebec. The Quebec Liberal Party is the legacy party of federalist support in opposition to Quebec separatism.
Conservative Party colours
The official colour of the Conservative Party of Canada is blue (#0F2D52). The official secondary colour is red (#EA0029).
Conservative Party Slogan
The Conservative Party does not have an official slogan between elections. Previous election campaign slogans have included “It’s Time For You To Get Ahead” (2019), “Protect Our Economy” (2015), “Here for Canada” (2011), “[Stephane Dion is] Not a Leader” (2008), Stand Up For Canada” (2006), and “Demand Better” (2004).
Previous Conservative Party Leaders
Prior to Erin O’Toole, there have been 4 leaders of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Andrew Scheer, the Former Speaker of the House of Commons, led the Conservative Party in the 2019 election and held office as leader of the Opposition from May 27th 2017 to August 24th 2020.
Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose held office as Leader of the Opposition from November 5th, 2015 to May 27th, 2017.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper held the title of Conservative Leader from March 20th, 2004 to November 5th, 2015 and was Prime Minister from February 6th, 2006 to November 4th, 2015.
Dr. Grant Hill served as interim leader of the newly formed Conservative Party, and Leader of the Opposition from January 9th, 2004 to March 20th, 2004.
What does the Conservative Party Stand For?
The Conservative Party has often been seen as a party of fiscal discipline, emphasizing balanced budgets and limited government spending that does not exceed economic growth. This principle was significantly challenged during the 2008 economic crisis, however, the government returned to fiscal balance by 2015.
Compassionate social policy
The Conservative Party has maintained a policy of compassionate social policy. In recent history, this has included same-sex marriage, and abortion rights. That said, the social conservative grassroots of the party have sought to change the party’s stance on abortion, with little success. Stephen Harper pledged not to legislate on the issue and maintained the status quo throughout his time as Prime Minister, while Andrew Scheer, despite his personal convictions, also maintained the Conservative policy.
On same-sex marriage, the Harper government position was to preserve the newly won right to marry for same-sex couples. However, in order to allow the party to move on from the issue, Harper made a compromise with social conservative members to allow one final unwhipped vote on the issue, knowing the initiative to overturn same-sex marriage rights lacked majority support in caucus.
An initial lack of clarity on social issues dogged Andrew Scheer in the 2019 election prompting subsequent leader Erin O’Toole to speak unequivocably in support of the Canadian status quo on both gay rights and abortion rights.
Equality and individualism
Conservatives favour individual rights and responsibilities versus a collectivist approach. This is reflected in Conservative support for freedom of speech, worship, and assembly, support for due process and property rights. Individual responsibility favours being held personally reponsible for our actions. This is often reflected in the Conservative approach to criminal justice and the principle that Canadians provide for themselves (instead of having government provide for them). As a founding principle of the party, Conservatives also believe that all Canadians are equal.
The Conservative Party was founded with a belief in honouring Our Sovereign (the Queen) as the Canadian head of state and to honour and protect the traditions of Canada’s monarchy. Conservatives believe in the institution of Parliament and the democratic process.
Decentralization of power
Conservatives favour the decentralization of power meaning in practice that those that make decisions on the behalf of Canadians should do so closer to where Canadians live, when possible. Provincial decision making is favoured.
Though the modern Conservative Party does not have strong representation in French speaking parts of Canada, the founding principles emphasize the equality of English and French in Canada and their use in federal institutions.
Free markets and free trade
Conservatives believe in a free market economy minimally encumbered by government intervention. At the same time, the Conservative Party believes in a universal healthcare system that is available to anyone regardless of their ability to pay. Conservatives believe in free and fair bilateral and multilateral trade.
Conservative Party Election Platforms
- Conservative Party Platform 2021 – Leader Erin O’Toole
- Conservative Party Platform 2019 – Leader Andrew Scheer
- Conservative Party Platform 2015 – Leader Stephen Harper
- Conservative Party Platform 2011 – Leader Stephen Harper
- Conservative Party Platform 2008 – Leader Stephen Harper
- Conservative Party Platform 2006 – Leader Stephen Harper
- Conservative Party Platform 2004 – Leader Stephen Harper
How many seats does the Conservative Party have?
The Conservative Party sits as the official opposition in Parliament after winning 121 seats in the 2021 federal election. The Conservatives also previously held 121 seats as a result of the 2019 federal election. What does the Conservative Party do in official opposition? Quite simply, its constitutional role is to hold the government accountable and to check the government’s plan.
How do I join the Conservative Party of Canada?
Canadian and Permanent Residents over the age of 13 may join the Conservative Party of Canada. Membership is currently $15 per year and must be paid from one’s own personal funds. The party also requires that members support the founding principles of the Conservative Party of Canada and not hold membership in any other political party. Click here to join the party.
Why are Conservatives called ‘Tories’?
‘Tory’ is a colloquialism from British political tradition. The term origination as an insult from the Irish tóraí which means ‘one who is pursued [as an outlaw]’. In England, the Tories and the Whigs were the opposing factions to the Exclusion Crisis of 1678–1681. Whig was also an insult which meant ‘cattle driver’. The nickname for the Conservative Party of Canada’s chief rival – the Liberal Party – is ‘grit’, which is a wholly Upper Canadian invention that originated in 1850 from the ‘Clear Grit’ movement.