I attended the founding meeting of the Conservative Party of Canada for the electoral district of Kingston and the Islands. I would estimate that approximately 250 showed up to establish the new organization.
I met a lot of former members of the Progressive Conservative party and former members of the Canadian Alliance. Everyone seemed enthusiastic to start the process of making this Conservative Party of Canada a veritable force against the Liberal incumbent Peter Milliken and his Liberal leader, Paul Martin.
During the meeting, I was nominated and subsequently elected to the board of directors. A couple of other Queen’s students were also elected to the board along with a student from St. Lawrence college and two others from RMC. I summarized my enthusiasm for this showing of youth interest in our party during my short address to the members. I pledged to get more youth involved as I believe that this party does represent many of the concerns of youth voters. I am confident that my belief is shared by the soon-to-be-declared leadership candidate Belinda Stronach. While not much is known politically about this contender, she has been a motivator of youth to get involved within the political process. Her “As Prime Minister” essay contest is testament to this very fact.
Finally, I learned something else at the meeting. While older people may be hesitant to accept the political involvement of youth, once they know that you are very energetic and enthusiastic they have nothing but sincere encouragement and enthusiasm themselves.
With the game of musical chairs (or seats) going on in Ottawa these days, it’s just another day as rumours swirl about party defections and betrayal. The latest particular rumour seems to have a little more substance as we learn that Sheila Copps, a former deputy prime minister and a former leadership contender for the Liberal Party of Canada, is being forced to walk the plank of the Liberal ship and, further, she may even be saved by Mr. Jack Layton in the rubber dinghy of the NDP.
A political veteran of the Liberal party and a Liberal member of the house for 20 years, Ms. Copps may have to contend for the nomination for her own riding against a Martin supporter who doesn’t even live in the riding! By stifling any Liberal who differs from Paul Martin in opinion, the coronated Prime Minister seeks to widen the democratic deficit within his own party rather than to narrow it as he had promised.
If Ms. Copps is forced to leave her party, I predict that the left flank of Paul Martin’s personal party will leave with her giving another breath of life into the NDP. By attempting to co-opt the policies of the centre-right, Mr. Martin is losing his support on the left and burning Ms. Copps may only be the spark that starts the fire.
Regardless of the policies for which Sheila Copps stands, Canadians of all political affiliations will wince when they see a woman, who has given her heart to public life, become trampled by the Paul Martin machine.
Former Ontario health minister Tony Clement announced yesterday that he will seek the leadership of the new Conservative Party of Canada and will soon mount a campaign to compete for the post against Stephen Harper.
As the former health minister of the nation’s most populous province and as former Ontario Progressive Conservative party president, Tony Clement will bring his knowledge and experience to the leadership race. His experience and leadership, during one of the most trying health crises in Canadian history, further attests to his qualities as a leadership contender. Particularly encouraging is that regardless of the outcome of the Conservative leadership race, he has explained that he will run for the party in the next federal election.
So, great news! Tony Clement’s announcement today is particularly encouraging due to his high profile in Ontario and thus he brings another degree of national marketability of the Conservative Party. He is no stranger to the alliance caucus either as he was a founding member of that former party. Yet, he may be a stranger to voters outside of Ontario, thus he has a considerable campaign to mount in the next couple of months.