2003 Progressive Conservative leadership election

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2003 Progressive Conservative Party leadership election

← 1998 May 31, 2003 2004 (Conservative) →
  Peter MacKay crop.JPG Jim Prentice.jpg
Candidate Peter MacKay Jim Prentice
Fourth ballot delegate count 1,538
Third ballot delegate count 1,128
Second ballot delegate count 1,018
First ballot delegate count 1,080

  PC Scott Brison 2010.jpg
Candidate David Orchard Scott Brison
Fourth ballot delegate count Eliminated Eliminated
Third ballot delegate count 617
Second ballot delegate count 619
First ballot delegate count 640

Leader before election

Joe Clark

Elected Leader

Peter MacKay

2003 Progressive Conservative leadership election
DateMay 31, 2003
ConventionMetro Toronto Convention Centre,[1] Toronto, Ontario
Resigning leaderJoe Clark
Won byPeter MacKay
Entrance FeeC$
Spending limitNone
Progressive Conservative leadership conventions
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The 2003 Progressive Conservative leadership election was held on May 31, 2003 to elect a leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. Peter MacKay was elected as leader to replace former Prime Minister Joe Clark, who then retired as party leader. In the end, five candidates emerged as challengers for the leadership by the convention date. Two other candidates had participated in the race but both withdrew as contestants before the vote. Quebec Member of Parliament (MP) André Bachand withdrew his candidacy from the race due to financial concerns and backed Peter MacKay. Former Cabinet Minister and Quebec MP Heward Grafftey also withdrew his candidacy from the race due to health concerns and backed David Orchard.

The results of the race produced immediate controversy when it emerged that winner Mackay had signed an agreement with David Orchard in order to get elected. This deal promised the party would review the Canadian-American Free Trade Agreement, and that it would not cooperate or merge with the Canadian Alliance. This controversy continued when MacKay ignored the agreement, and signed an agreement to merge his party with the Canadian Alliance to form the new Conservative Party of Canada.[2] The merger was approved by party members in December 2003.




Delegate support by ballot
Candidate 1st ballot 2nd ballot 3rd ballot 4th ballot
Votes cast % Votes cast % Votes cast % Votes cast %
Peter-MacKay.jpg MACKAY, Peter Gordon 1,080 41.1% 1,018 39.7% 1,128 45.0% 1,538 64.8%
Jim Prentice.jpg PRENTICE, James (Jim) 478 18.2% 466 18.2% 761 30.4% 836 35.2%
ORCHARD, David 640 24.3% 619 24.1% 617 24.6% Endorsed MacKay
Scott Brison 2010.jpg BRISON, Scott A. 431 16.4% 463 18.0% Endorsed Prentice
CHANDLER, Craig B. 0 Withdrew before 1st ballot began; Endorsed Prentice
Total 2,629 100.0% 2,566 100.0% 2,506 100.0% 2,374 100.0%
First round
Final round

Chandler withdrew before voting began to endorse Prentice. Estimates suggest that Chandler had six committed delegates from Calgary ridings who voted in favour of Prentice. After the second ballot, Brison dropped off and supported Prentice. Brison was the only candidate to gain votes on this ballot compared to his first ballot result; all of the other candidates lost votes. After the third ballot, Orchard threw his support to MacKay after the two men signed an agreement committing MacKay to not merge the PCs with the Canadian Alliance, and to hold a review of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.


  1. ^ "2003 PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP CONVENTION". CPAC. Cable Public Affairs Channel. Retrieved 14 February 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Orchard hopes lawsuit will save Tory party". CBC News. November 21, 2003.
  3. ^ "MacKay to run for Tory leadership". CBC News. January 16, 2003.
  4. ^ "New Tory leader MacKay calls for unity". CBC News. June 1, 2003.
  5. ^ "Bachand bows out of PC race". CBC News. May 12, 2003.

See also[edit]