Tonight Erin O’Toole, MP for Durham, and candidate for leadership of the CPC visited University-Rosedale. Hosted by Nancy and John McFadyen, it was a wonderful evening that allowed a large crowd to get to know Mr. O’Toole better, and help decide how to vote in the coming leadership selection.
Everyone had had a chance to talk to a man who might be Prime Minister one day, one-on-one, which is the reason we at the University-Rosedale EDA go to the effort of organizing these events. We were also honoured by the presence of former cabinet minister and long-serving Conservative MP Barbara McDougall.
Mr. O’Toole spoke optimism inherent in the Conservative message, and how we need to be better at conveying this to Canadians. He explained how his years in Ottawa have taught him that communication and messaging are the key to success both in Parliament and in the arena of public opinion. Mr. O’Toole has suggested a number of initiatives to re-engage millennials in the Conservative approach, and pointed out the danger of the CPC being a rural-based party with weak support in the growing urban regions of Canada.
This will likely be the last leadership event held by the EDA. We would like to thank all those who have attended the various events we’ve organized, starting with Maxime Bernier in May last year, followed by Michael Chong and Kellie Leitch in the fall, Chris Alexander in January, and this month Andrew Scheer and today Mr. O’Toole. Make sure that you are an eligible voter. On April 28th the final list of eligible candidates will be released, and ballots will be mailed to CPC members. On May 27th, we will find out who our new leader is. Although advance voting can be done by mail-in ballot, you can also attend the Leadership Event at the Toronto Congress Centre, May 26-27, vote on the 27th, and stick around to see who the winner is. More information can be found here.
As the CPC leadership race heads towards an exciting conclusion in May, we had the pleasure of hosting Andrew Scheer MP (Regina — Qu’Appelle) at an EDA Fundraiser at O’Grady’s on College St. for a meet-and-greet.
Despite his youth, Mr. Scheer is a 5 times elected MP, served as Speaker of the House for the Harper majority years, and has more endorsements from sitting CPC MPs than any other candidate. His central themes were keeping the party unified, and sending out a positive message telling how conservative policies empower people to improve their lives. As usual we had the speaker take questions from the audience, some of them tough and controversial, and he responded in a straightforward manner.
We thank Mr. Scheer for taking the time and effort to come with with the locals at University-Rosedale.
Another weekday evening in University-Rosedale, another fantastic gathering where local CPC members can meet a contender for the party leadership, listen to their message, talk to them one-on-one and ask tough questions.
Tonight, at the home of Board member Becky Jones, we had the pleasure of Chris Alexander’s company. Perhaps the only leadership candidate who has met and dealt with Vladimir Putin on several occasions during his many years in the foreign service and as a cabinet Minister in the Harper government, Mr. Alexander had a number of entertaining and enlightening anecdotes to share with the audience. His previous foreign affairs experience showed as Mr. Alexander spoke of his plans to deal with the global challenges faced by Canada and the Western world, including the need to engage with China and Russia, but doing so firmly and without being blind to the many flaws in these nations. He felt that the Harper government dealt in a balanced manner with the immigration file, improving many aspects of the immigration process, taking in more immigrants to Canada than ever before, while at the same time ensuring that they would contribute and make Canada a better place. This was a policy he wishes to continue and build upon, focusing on his primary goal, which is job growth and economic growth into the future.
Mr. Alexander pointed out that Canada has the world’s most educated population, and we are well placed to cope with, and take advantage of, the inevitable changes in jobs and the economy that are coming are way at an every increasing pace. Expanding our export market beyond its overwhelming dependence on the US was a priority.
These were but a few of the topics that Mr. Alexander touched on during an hour long (!) session where he took many questions from the audience, on topics ranging from urban transportation in Toronto to arctic sovereignty and dealing with ISIS.
Those who attended tonight got a real treat. Mr. Alexander has really been around, and we all got to enjoy hearing his ideas and his experiences.
The leadership vote is coming in just 4 months. Make sure your membership is active, and keep up with what the candidates are saying and going. Once of these individuals could be Canada’s next Prime Minister!
Tonight we had the pleasure of meeting and listening to CPC leadership candidate Kellie Leitch at the home of our past EDA president Ghina Al Sewaidi. It was a chance for our membership to listen to Dr. Leitch expand on her vision for leading Canada, and for taking on the Liberals in 2019. Dr. Leitch emphasized the importance of listening to the opinions of the membership, and indeed all Canadians, rather than forcing policy from the top down. She focused on the shallow policy decisions being made by the current government, from the recent ridiculous decision to buy a small number of Super Hornet jet fighters and punt the real decision past the next election, to the open fountain of debt -fueled spending that has been unleashed, to the naive manner in which Prime Minister Trudeau has been dealing with President-Elect Trump. Her Canadian Values message was reiterated and defended, and the hypocrisy the media in their approach to this issue was seen .
The audience got to ask lots of questions, and she answered them forthrightly. It was a very worthwhile evening. Thank you Dr. Leitch for taking the time to come here, and good luck with the leadership campaign. Stay tuned and find out which CPC leadership candidate will visit University-Rosedale next.
Tonight the University-Rosedale EDA had the pleasure of hosting Michael Chong, MP for Wellington – Halton Hills, and candidate for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, at the home of Board member Doc von Lichtenberg and his partner Keith. We also had the pleasure of meeting Michael’s wife, Carrie Davidson, at tonight’s event. Our thanks to Doc and Keith for opening their home for this event, and for the effort that they put into making the evening a success, both as a fundraiser for the University-Rosedale EDA, and as an opportunity for conservatives to get together, exchange ideas, and listen to a knowledgeable visitor from Ottawa.
MP and former Cabinet Minister Michael Chong, now running for the CPC leadership, advocated enthusiastically for a conservative vision that focused on strategies for economic stability and future success in a changing and challenging world, and a fiscally rational strategy for environmental management. He has been, and from his words tonight, clearly will continue to be, a champion for democratic reform which will put more power in the hands of elected House of Commons members and reducing the power of the Prime Minister’s Office. A practical plan for Senate reform was mentioned, and his inside knowledge of how Ottawa works makes his words worth taking seriously. Mr. Chong ably and directly answered a number of questions from those in attendance, and there was a great back-and-forth.
We had about 40 guests, and as usual, young conservatives were well represented (we don’t think they just came for the free food).
Before and after the speeches, including an introduction from our Board president Keith Tuomi, and a lesson in history and political philosophy from the legendary Karim Jivraj, we all had a chance for some face time with Mr. Chong, to get an idea about where he stands on the issues that concern us most. This is one of the best reasons to come to these events. This man may one day be Prime Minister of Canada.
Stay tuned for future events with the CPC leadership candidates. Kellie Leitch will be here on November 23, and we had Maxime Bernier visit in May. Remember, these events are fundraisers for the EDA, not for the individual candidate, so you can support your local conservatives while at the same time gathering the information you need to help make your important decision in May of next year. It’s surely better to make that decision based on meeting these individuals in person than based on the distorted information you get from our media. See you at the next local event, and make sure you are a CPC party member in the next year so you can vote for our next leader!
Every two years the Conservative Party of Canada holds a National Convention, as mandated in our party’s Constitution. This national gathering has the power to amend and adopt our Policy Document, amend the Party’s Constitution, and elect National Council by secret ballot. The 2016 Convention took place from May 26 to 28 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Nearly 2000 delegates selected from all ridings across Canada (up to 10 delegate per riding) along with caucus members, riding association presidents and candidates in the last election, were eligible to vote on these matters. University-Rosedale sent 10 delegates to participate in the various forums and meetings, and here is our report along with some pictures to try to capture the feel of the event.
The Vancouver Convention Centre is an excellent facility, located on the waterfront, looking out onto Vancouver Harbour, with a beautiful backdrop. It’s in a lively part of town, full of restaurants and shops. It was quite rainy through most of the convention, though we saw some fair weather on the Friday.
Thursday May 26th saw the opening of the convention, with our interim leader Rona Ambrose taking the microphone, followed by Laureen Harper and finally our former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper. Every speaker stressed the importance of maintaining party unity if we are to be able to succeed in future elections. In a gracious and selfless speech Mr. Harper thanked all the many people that had put the Conservative Party of Canada into power for nearly 10 years, ending of course by thanking his family for the support that made it possible.
Friday’s main events were the breakout sessions for the first round of discussion and voting on Policy and Constitution changes and amendments. The CPC Policy Declaration is not a legally binding document for future laws, but points the party leadership to the will and desires of its grassroots supporters. It is said that when he was Prime Minister, Mr. Harper would look to the Policy Declaration as one place for guidance when new policies were proposed.
In preparation for the Convention, Conservative riding associations had met in January and February throughout Canada to suggest changes to the Party’s governing documents – the Constitution and the Policy Declaration. Through a series of local and then regional meetings, as well as online discussions, the many suggestions made were reduced to a manageable number to be discussed further in Vancouver.
On Friday, the policy discussions were divided into three sessions, each attended by hundreds of delegates – Role of Government, Environment and Economic Development; Criminal Justice and Social Policy; and Foreign Policy, Canadian Culture and Diversity. At each of these breakout sessions, delegates discussed and then voted upon policies, with the top 10 from each room moving on to the final vote at the Plenary session the next day. A similar process occurred for changes and amendments that would be proposed for the CPC Constitution.
The discussions were at times fairly passionate, especially in the Social Policy room, but the moderators did an excellent job of keeping things moving, while being flexible enough to let strong feelings be heard. Throughout even the most difficult disagreements, delegates to the convention always displayed respect to one another, and the discussion was informed and reasoned. We can be proud of this, regardless of which side of the discussion we took.
Those proposals that had sufficient support at the breakout sessions made it to the Plenary Session on Saturday May 28th, where all delegates in attendance would vote.
On Saturday all delegates came together in two plenary sessions, the morning dedicated to Constitution issues and the afternoon for Policy Document changes that had made it out of the breakout sessions. As in the previous day, a microphones was set up to speak for those who supported the policy, and another for those who opposed it. We were organized by province, as the tally included not only the overall vote, but province-by-province vote, since a “double majority” (majority of total votes AND a majority of provinces in support) was required to pass a new or amended policy.
Some of the policies that were passed included support for the development of Energy East Pipeline by private industry, removal of a statement defining marriage as being the union of one man and one woman, conscience rights for religious organizations to not participate in activities that are incompatible with their faith and beliefs, declaring support and respect for law abiding firearms ownership and enjoyment, and allowing peace officers to give tickets for possession of small quantities of marijuana rather than going through the criminal justice system. A policy on euthanasia did not pass the breakout session with sufficient support to make it to the plenary sessions but generated intense and thoughtful discussion.
The contribution of LGBTory members from University-Rosedale deserves special mention, as they spearheaded the change to the marriage policy, working together with fellow conservatives across Canada, taking the policy change through local and regional meetings, and in Vancouver through the breakout and then plenary sessions. When this policy change passed, with support of several MPs who spoke in favour, it was the most emotional moment of the convention.
Throughout even the most difficult disagreements, delegates to the convention always displayed respect to one another, and the discussion was informed and reasoned. We can be proud of this, whether or not we supported the policy that ended up passing.
Among many other activities were a variety of sessions put on by the CPC to discuss tools for successful campaigning and fundraising, a debriefing session to discuss October’s election, and the three declared leadership candidates also took the stage to answer questions from the large audience.
An important part of the meeting was selecting our new National Council representatives. There were 4 selected from Ontario, and University-Rosedale’s own Ghina al Sewaidi was a candidate. Scott Lamb is the new President of the Conservative Party of Canada, taking over from John Walsh, who has done a tremendous job over the past 7 years. The dedication and effort that this job requires cannot be overstated. Thank you John for all you’ve done, and thank you Scott for taking on this challenging role.
Evenings saw many smaller gatherings in the hospitality suites of various organizations, leadership candidates, and of course the Fabulous Blue Tent (always the biggest party at the convention).
It was an exhilarating few days. To people who have not attended one of these events before, the most striking impression one gets from the event is of how broadly based and energetic this party is. It’s obvious that all Canadians who believe in conservative ideas are welcome in the CPC – there are no barriers of sex, origin, language, race, religion, or sexual orientation. We have huge numbers of young active conservatives, and this promises a bright future. Our supporters contribute of their time and money more than those of the other parties, and we know that being conservative, they are just more sensible. The future looks good, we just have to get out there and mobilize all these resources to take Canada back to a better future in 2019.
The Hon. Maxime Bernier is the current MP for Beauce, Quebec, and has held various cabinet positions including Minister of Industry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister State for Small Business and Tourism. He is now the CPC opposition critic for Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.
Mr. Bernier is now a declared candidate for leadership of the CPC, and was at the home of our riding association president, Keith Tuomi, to support the University-Rosedale EDA at its spring fundraiser. Our thanks to Keith, and his wife Jane for offering their home for this event.
Thanks also to all the local conservatives who turned out for this fun gathering. After excellent introductions by Keith Tuomi and then Karim Jivraj, our Candidate of Record, Mr. Bernier spoke passionately about being faithful to our conservative principles, and his vision of the direction the CPC should take in the post-Stephen Harper era. He emphasized a small non-interfering government that puts people in control of their income and encourages entrepreneurial activity and productivity in the private sector; respect for all of our citizens in this nation of immigrants; and not burdening our children and grandchildren with spending that produces no long term benefits, and is just a cynical vote-buying ploy by the Liberals.
Bob Dechert, former MP for Mississauga-Erindale, and a tremendously respected and admired member of the Harper government was also in attendance.
After the speeches we all got a chance to speak with Mr. Bernier, Mr. Dechert and others in the room about the various issues that are important to us. It was really a tremendous opportunity to be part of the CPC’s rebuilding after the last election and the change of leadership that follows.
Monday, April 4, 2016. This evening conservatives in University Rosedale gathered to select a new Board of Directors and Executive leadership for the Riding Association. Our thanks to all who attended.
Our thanks to Ghina Al-Sewaidi, the outgoing EDA President who is now running for CPC National Council. She’s been an amazing leader and a great ambassador for University-Rosedale in innumerable meetings and activities in which she has participated across Ontario and Canada.
Congratulations to our new EDA president, Keith Tuomi, and Vice President, Karim Jivraj. Both gave rousing speeches to the gathered crowd.
Karim, who ran a great campaign against all odds in the last election, thanked all those who gave their time and support in that effort, and spoke of what he learned on the campaign trail, and how we can build on this in 2019.
Keith gave a stirring defense of Canadian Conservative principles and discussed our plans in the coming year or two as we head towards the Policy Convention in May of this year, and then build to the Leadership convention in 2017. The Conservative Party of Canada is alive and active in University-Rosedale, and there will be some exciting events with some very well known Canadian conservative politicians, one of whom may be our next leader and Prime Minister.
We elected a slate of 18 Directors, several of them new to the Board. We look forward to the energy and new ideas that they will bring to the table in the coming year. Our focus this year will be on supporting and collaborating with young conservatives to help bring the Conservative message far and loud everywhere. If you are a young Conservative and want to participate in political activities in the riding and beyond, please contact us!
University Rosedale Conservative Riding Association