Some Conservatives still thrive on old tribalisms. But the details from before 2003 really should not matter as much as what happened after
A crash course in CPC leadership history, for those who may be unfamiliar (after all, it was 17 years ago). MacKay led the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, while Stephen Harper led the Canadian Alliance. In the interest of future electoral viability and an attempt to shake the dominance of successive Liberal wins, MacKay made the risky decision to support a merger of the parties, the result of which is today’s Conservative Party of Canada.
Of course, that’s not the whole story, and some Conservatives still thrive on old tribalisms. But I would submit that 17 years later, the details before 2003 really should not matter as much as what happened after.
So what did? MacKay went on to be a major part of the united Conservative party’s success. He was a necessary, valued voice around the table for Atlantic Canadians. His youthful energy, alongside fellow front benchmates John Baird, Jason Kenney, James Moore, Rona Ambrose and Lisa Raitt, gave life to a cabinet where the easy choice may have been to fall back on legacy party stalwarts. And even Stephen Harper — as “true blue” as you can get, in my books — saw fit to install MacKay in some of the most senior cabinet roles under his watch.