Today I watched Belinda Stronach jump into the leadership frenzy while I was on campus. Her announcement speech was very good and she handled the following press conference very well.
I must admit, I am very excited about Belinda Stronach’s bid. As a political rookie she brings a fresh approach, face, and sense of trust to the contest for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Many observers had been concerned that as new face, Stronach would be shy on policy and people wouldn’t know where she stands on many political issues. In her announcement, and in her subsequent news conference, she came on strong. There are two fundamental issues for which she will fight: to make Canada into a competitive economic force worldwide (as it should be yet we have much ground to recover) and to get youth involved in the political process (that’s me).
Stronach explained that she believes that policy doesn’t go from the leader-down, it comes from the grassroots-up. Belinda is a believer in grassroots politics! The 37 year-old mother of two is also progressive yet strictly conservative on issues such as keeping marijuana criminalized and handing down tougher sentences on criminals who commit their crimes with guns. So, she’s pro-duck hunter and anti-gun violence… what a concept!
While I consider myself an avid follower of political news and a supporter of the political party, many Canadians do not consider themselves as such. Belinda Stronach brings the much needed flair and electricity to our new party and she’ll cause a lot of people to pay attention. A fellow student, who happened to be watching the announcement on television beside me exclaimed numerous times about how impressed she was with this woman and what she has accomplished. Resigning a lucrative job to serve one’s country is indeed an impressive act.
I believe that she’s got a great shot at the leadership race; her campaign has exploded out of the gates with her jazzy online presence @ belinda.ca. Her website features a section where you can become a Belinda recruiter and keep track of your successes in recruiting for her campaign. Also of note, another example her campaign’s superior web savviness is her placement of google searchword advertisements; type “Belinda” into Google and her ad shows right up!
Combine incredible business success, progressive conservatism, and great media presence and you’ve got Belinda Stronach. She is an ideal candidate to represent many Ontario conservatives.
This will be one to watch…
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.
What is happening in federal politics?!?
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.