I consider myself to be a Main Street, mainstream Conservative, and I think there are a lot of Canadians who place themselves there.

I don't think anyone can accuse me of having put my interests ahead of the party's or the country's. I simply felt this was the right thing to do.

What Canada has to do is to have a government connected to the priorities of the people of which it is elected to serve. Those priorities include ensuring medicare is sustainable, support for the military, and tax and justice systems that work.

My understanding is that it was five or six.

We have to be focused on growing the party and getting young people to see us as a viable option.

I am a competitive person, and I didn't win the leadership of the PC party with a mind to stepping down so soon afterwards. But no regrets.

I want to lead the Progressive Conservative Party, a party that will promote true conservative values and principles. I can tell you right now, I am not the merger candidate. I am not interested in institutional marriages with other parties.

We have to stress our conservative credentials and emphasize that we are the natural, national alternative to the Liberals. Clearly the Alliance has shown it can't break out of its Western box. The Alliance is at single-digit support in three quarters of the country.

I believe I can be the person who can bring together conservatives across this country in a spirit of cooperation so that we can once again form government. This is not an agreement for merger with other political parties. Merger is a mathematical equation which does not guarantee victory.