Media Day

What a day! Final memberships to vote for leader of the new Conservative Party of Canada and to vote for my nomination are due tonight at midnight. As I’ve been working selling memberships for my nomination, I had the opportunity to speak with both the Kingston Whig Standard and to Rex Murphy on Cross Country Checkup on CBC Radio One.

The Whig reporter called today to find out a little bit more about who I am and why I’m running. I mentioned that the new Conservative Party represents a chance for previously sidelined conservatives to be heard and that the formation of the party represents “a real opportunity for democratic change in this country”.

On Rex’s call-in show, Rex introduced me to the country and again to Stephen Harper. Subsequently, I asked him the following question, “Hi Mr. Harper, I’m seeking the Conservative nomination here in Kingston and the Islands. I’m 23 years old and when we had the opportunity to meet and discuss the issues we didn’t have the chance to discuss youth issues. Now, I think that this new party can be the party of youth in this country and I’ve been working hard to realize this goal. I’d like to ask you what your commitment is for the sustainment of a youth wing of the party and whether you’ll be seeking youth input if you’re the leader.” Now, I know what I said, but I can’t begin to present Mr. Harper’s response without a transcript, so I’ll present the exchange when it becomes available from CBC.

Update:I can do one better than a transcript. Here’s the audio of the interview with Stephen Harper. I’m on the air at around the 44 minute mark.

Click here to listen to the audio

Busy day…

Leadership Membership Dealine

I’d like to post a reminder to everyone that is interested in joining the new Conservative Party of Canada. The deadline for membership sales in order to vote for leadership is tomorrow (February 29th). You can, of course, buy a membership anytime after this date, but in order to participate in the leadership vote you must purchase a membership by tomorrow.

Here is a link to sign up through the Conservative Party of Canada:
Conservative Party Memberships

Through Tony Clement:
Tony Clement’s membership sales

Through Stephen Harper:
Stephen Harper’s membership sales

Through Belinda Stronach:
Belinda Stronach’s membership sales

Please note that the last date to purchase memberships to vote in the Kingston and the Islands Conservative nomination meeting is tomorrow as well. Thank you to all of you who have signed up through my website. I have been overwhelmed by your level of support. In order to process your membership application before the deadline tomorrow, please sign up through the Conservative Party of Canada’s membership sales webpage. You will still be able to purchase memberships after the deadline from my website, but for now please use the link above. The nomination meeting is on March 22nd and I hope to see all of you there.

Prime Minister Tony Clement?

tonypic.jpgI haven’t said too much about Tony Clement’s bid for leadership and indeed, my level of attention has been paralleled among most Canadians. However, I do believe that Mr. Clement does require a closer look. The man just might clinch this race, not by his visibility, not by his organization, but by his mere unthreatening image that he poses to the leadership candidates and to all Canadians. This leadership race is becoming polarized with Tony merely floating precariously in the middle. This contest, as it is, has become a “Stronach not Harper” or a “Harper not Stronach” race.

We all know the story. Supporters of Belinda Stronach feel that she’s the most likely Ontario Tory to secure the race and they believe that a Stephen Harper victory will only reflect a Alliance takeover of the Progressive Conservatives. A Western politician, they believe, will be unelectable east of Manitoba. Conversely, supporters of Stephen Harper believe that Belinda Stronach’s inexperience in politics will present a liability to politics at home and politics abroad. The numerous admirable qualities of the two candidates each respectively outweigh the petty detractions but when the voters choose the leader, they’ll add up the negative aspects of the candidates and then decide. We should decide based on the positives, but it seems as though the negatives are more prominently etched in our minds.

So, where does this leave ‘lil Tony Clement? He’s in the unique position were he can take the high road — not by choice, but because it’s the road less traveled. He’s correct when he said yesterday that he’s everyone’s second choice. Tony’s lack of visibility and Stronach’s knack for visibility makes Tony the second choice of Harperites, while his personal non-threatening nature and Ontario Tory roots make him the natural second choice among the Belinda Boosters. Indeed, enough Conservatives may add up the negatives of the two apparent front-runners and vote Clement as their first choice. These Conservatives may also believe that in an election, Tony’s unknown yet ‘non-threatening’ image may indeed draw voters who usually vote Liberal to vote Conservative because these voters couldn’t, in clear conscience, vote for the modern-day Liberal Party of Canada. Tony could indeed be the “anybody but” vote in both the Conservative leadership race and in the next federal election. This is Tony Clement’s greatest drawing factor and he knows it.

An optimist would say that Tony Clement’s campaign has nowhere to go but up. If Tony does well in the debates, which is most likely, he may just surprise us all, himself included.

Tony Clement is coming to Kingston on Saturday, February 21st. Mr. Clement will be speaking and meeting potential voters at Aunt Lucy’s Restaurant (Princess & Portsmouth) at 4pm.

Update:I met Tony Clement at Aunt Lucy’s. Lou Grimshaw, our riding president, was nice enough to announce that I’m seeking the nomination in Kingston and the Islands. The first declared nomination contestant!

Tony Clement.jpg
With Tony Clement – Click to enlarge