So Peter MacKay feels "vindicated"

Thunder Bay, Ontario - Friday, December 12, 2003 - by: Peggy Smith


So Peter MacKay feels "vindicated" by this past weekend's "overwhelming endorsement" by Progressive Conservative Party of Canada delegates to merge the grand old party of Confederation into the neo-conservative Republican Party of the North, the Canadian Alliance. MacKay must have chosen the word vindication because:
  • he was accused of betrayal after standing as a no-merger candidate in the leadership race in May

  • allowing members to join after the merger was announced thus stacking the vote

  • refusing to allow any real debate in a national meeting (the teleconference "virtual" meeting where the vote took place was a farce and a sham)

  • manipulating the Party's constitution to ensure the 2/3 majority vote required for a consitutional amendment.


MacKay, merger supporters and the media all sing that the vote was more than 90% in support. But rather than providing vindication, this vote was further proof of a deceitful and manipulated process. Let's take a closer look at the numbers and not be fooled by the spin.



all or

The membership of the Progressive Conservative Party was 65,000 at the time of the vote, 15,000 of those new members having joined since the proposed merger was announced. Many of these new members were two-card carrying Alliance Party members voting in favour of the merger twice, once as Alliance members and then again as Progressive Conservative Party members. Of that 65,000, there were a possible 3,286 delegates "elected" at the local riding level in a process that did not reflect the opinion of members. If the majority of people showing up at a local delegate selection meeting were in favour of the merger, then all of the delegates became Yes delegates, even if 49% of those attending opposed the merger. For example, in Thunder Bay-Superior North, 36 people out of 135 total members showed up to vote at the delegate selection meeting--that's a 27% turnout. Of those 36 in attendance, 24 voted for the merger and 12 opposed. All eight delegates elected supported the merger. The 12 who opposed had no voice in the final vote.



5% for

So, on Saturday, 2,557 delegates voted, most of whom were yes by virtue of stacking the deck with Alliance members and rigging the method of voting. The final vote was 2,234 for the merger, 247 opposed. If we go back to the original numbers, this means that 2,234 people out of 65,000 voted in favour of the merger. I count that as less than 5% of the Progressive Conservative Party voting in favour of merger--some democracy! some endorsement! Certainly not over 90% in my books.



sad day

Saturday was a sad day in Canadian history and a shameful one for a country that claims to be a world leader in democracy.




Peggy Smith, R.P.F., Professor
Faculty of Forestry & the Forest Environment Lakehead University
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1
PH: (807)343-8672