Highlights of the National Convention in Calgary

Eglinton-Lawrence EDA was well-represented at the recent biennial General Meeting of the Conservative Party of Canada in Calgary held over the Halloween weekend. Led by President Greg Piasetzki and MP Joe Oliver a full slate of senior delegates gathered at the BMO Centre for two busy days.

After breakfast Friday morning everyone split up between three policy and one constitutional sessions to sort through several hundred proposals from members aross the country and decide which should go to a full recorded vote of the delegates at public plenary sessions the next day.

Proposals to amend the basic voting balance within the Party--one to replace the current leadership pattern that gives each EDA across the country an equal share in the election of the Party Leader in favour of a one person-one vote, and another to give Ontario six more members on the National Council -- were rejected.

Lunch and another session of resolution vetting and then we had the opportunity to hear our six National Council candidates from Ontario present their pitches. It was interesting that Calgary MP, Jason Kenney, showed up in the Ontario caucus to support John Walsh who was also the National President. Of local interest was the presence of our neighbour, John Carmichael from Don Valley West, who was there to introduce Cheryl Bannier. When all the votes were counted Saturday, John Walsh and Mark Dotzert were re-elected and Cheryl  and Jai Bhatti from Etobicoke were chosen as the other two Ontario Councillors.

Always nice to have a member of the national executive practically just across the street.

Friday evening several thousand delegates and guests (along with a goodly gaggle of microphone toting refugees from the Ottawa Press Gang --oops Gallery) assembled to hear the Prime Minister give his accounting to the membership. It was a long and detailed presentation, reviewing past achievements, dealing with current issues and pointing towards the key elements of the 2015 election campaign.

The crowd response was loud and enthusiastic and the Prime Minister had his audience on its feet again and again with a recital of promises kept, progress being made and a positive program for the future.

My favorite one-liner from the evening was a reference to the NDP's attack on new Liberal leader Trudeau as being Harper-Lite.

Delegates also got an unexpected bonus. The evening programme called for various social events after the official business was concluded with candidates for office hosting parties but nobody offered a better draw than the Casino next door which featured a live band with a certain Steven Harper as lead singer on the piano. Pretty good voice, too.

Saturday was another breakfast with our MP, voting, fending off microphones from eager journalists looking for someone to agree with their conclusions and 17 mm of fresh snow. Then the long flight home, a chance to reflect and a strong sense of a Party delighted with where it's come from, satisfied with where it's going and eager to carry forward the fight for a "strong, national Majority Conservative Government".

- Bob Amaron

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