Former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark survived a challenge to his leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party Feb. 28 but was left with his political future somewhat in doubt by a lukewarm vote of confidence at his party's national convention in Ottawa.
Correspondent David Milne reports of 2,141 delegates voting in a leadership review, 1,409 expressed their confidence in Mr. Clark, while 714 voted in favor of holding a convention to elect a new Conservative standard bearer. The vote, 67 percent in favor of retaining Mr. Clark as leader, with 33 percent against, was considered insufficient to call a leadership convention.
But the strength of the anti-Clark vote did not bode well for the former prime minister, who governed Canada for nine months in 1979 and 1980 before his government was toppled in the Feb. 18, 1980, election that restored Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to power. Observers considered it likely that the Conservatives would have to hold a leadership contest sometime before the next national election, expected in 1983 or 1984.