March 09, 2005

Conservative Convention Buzz -- Media Gleefully Hoping for Dissension

Socially conservative Tories worried party trying to muzzle debate Ian Bailey, CanWest News Service; Vancouver Province, March 09, 2005

OTTAWA - Socially conservative Tories allege that party MPs are trying to muzzle debate at a policy convention next week on such controversial issues as abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

``The buzz is out there,'' Mary-Ellen Douglas, national director of the Campaign Life Coalition, said Tuesday.

``People are upset. They're very upset. People want to speak, and they don't understand what's going on here, why they're paying all this money to go to a conference to be told they may not be able to discuss the issues of importance to them.''

Critics such as Douglas are fired up over a policy resolution, disclosed this week, that will offer the 2,000 Tory delegates attending the convention the chance to vote on whether to allow party MPs the right to vote with their consciences on such social issues. [. . . . ]

The concern among grassroots Tories comes as the free-enterprise National Citizens' Coalition has launched a campaign this week urging Conservatives to avoid a move to the left, and remain a ``pro-free enterprise alternative to the Liberal party.''

The NCC will be running newspaper ads, radio spots and mailing out direct-mail items before the convention.

``We are reaching out to the party's grassroots,'' coalition vice-president Gerry Nicholls said in a statement. ``We are urging them to adopt policies based on a true conservative vision.''

Conservatives must stand behind Harper March 09, 05, Guy Giorno, National Post

This is worth reading in its entirety before the convention.

Tory presidential candidates study in contrasts Peter O'Neil, National Post, CanWest News Service; Vancouver Sun, Mar. 9, 05

OTTAWA - A small-town Mennonite plumber is facing off against a gay, bilingual Montreal corporate lawyer in a highly symbolic battle over the presidency of Stephen Harper's Conservative party.

While Harper plays down internal party rifts over issues such as gay marriage and abortion going into this month's policy convention, the Don Plett-Brian Mitchell showdown has become in some ways a proxy battle over the party's direction.

Plett, 55, is the burly church-going family man, sports lover, owner of a plumbing and heating firm, and veteran political organizer from Landmark, Man., population 1,500.

[. . . . ] Mitchell, 46, is a former Progressive Conservative insider with considerable support from the old Tory party of Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney.

[. . . . ] ``A gay lawyer from Montreal versus a Reform/Alliance ex-plumber SoCon from southern Manitoba _ you do the math,'' he said. [. . . . ]

There is much discussion over whether discussion beyond agreeing that MP's may have free votes in the House over contentious issues -- and the mainstream media are doing their best to foment this for news.

Free votes in the House are a "good thing"; however, I do not like the idea of closing down debate on controversial issues at the convention. Preventing discussion is what the Liberals and NDP have done, seemingly forever. We need to be open and find out what the majority of delegates representing their ridings think. Leave the media outside and let people have their say. Then, we will live with whatever the majority decide.

Democracy is messy and the CBC is gloating at the fact that we may disagree -- I just heard them. Unlike the Fiberals, we do not have to keep a lid on discussion -- nor on the corruption. Other than the fact that it is parasitic on the body politic, CBC's views are irrelevant to the Conservative convention. Let there be free wheeling discussion. I do not want another Liberal party.


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