No Means No!

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Thursday, June 19, 2003 by: Dale Swirsky
  Message to Stephen Harper: A clear majority of Progressive Conservative voters repeatedly rejecting a coalition with the Alliance means no! The PC constitution requiring the party run 301 candidates means no! That not one of the four main PC leadership contenders was in favour of a split-slate of candidates means no! That most PC supporters (And most Canadians) don't even think of the Alliance as their second choice means no! Mr Harper, what part of "No!" don't you understand?

Dale Swirsky


Niagara Falls, Ontario - Thursday, June 19, 2003 - by: Joe Hueglin


"Our parliamentary system requires leadership, and the laws of our land give the leaders of our political parties, and the leaders alone, the sole power to decide when and where our parties will field candidates "
  was enounciated in a speech by Stephen Harper in Toronto Monday evening in which he went on to state further that
"This cannot be overridden by a party's private rules . . ."


This DOCTRINE arrogates to the Leader and the Leader alone, not elected National Council, nor Riding Associations, nor the Membership of the Canadian Alliance, the power of determining who shall be candidates standing for election to the House of Commons.


This DOCTRINE is the antithesis of the intentions of the founders and adherents of the Western Reform, Reform and Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance in that decision making power was to flow upward from the members rather than downward from the Leader.




It is to be assumed there will be calls for Stephen Harper to recant and accept that he as Leader does not have
"the sole power to decide when and where our parties will field candidates.",
  the Election Act notwithstanding.


Joe Hueglin

  Stephen Harper's Speech from the Toronto Leader's Dinner

Harper's cynical approach

Ottawa, Ontario - Thursday, June 19, 2003 - by: Thomas Curran


Well, for all his ideological certainty, Stephen Harper can't be accused of being tied up in a procedural straightjacket. Eighteen months ago, he ran for the Alliance leadership vowing never to talk union with the Progressive Conservatives. A year ago, he patted Joe Clark on the head and said that the PCs could join the Alliance as 'junior partners' if they wished.
  But times change, and - who would have expected it? - Stodgy Stephen has moved with them. With his party in disarray, crashing in the polls to a nip-and-tuck battle with the NDP for last place, completely off the radar in Ontario and points east, Mr. Harper has suddenly found that Tories are a Canadian Alliance leader's best friend.
  What did it? Was it learning that even Stockwell Day was preferred by Ontario electors? Was it finding out that calling Atlantic Canadians "losers" and "defeatists" didn't improve his standing in Halifax? Or maybe it was the result of his pouring so much money, time and effort into the Perth-Middlesex by-election only to finish a dismal third, that led to the reconsideration.


  Perhaps, however, it was simply the cold slap of reality. Like all of the other narrow-view, populist parties that have sprung up from time to time, Reform-Alliance is back where it started, back to its Social Credit, rural-Alberta stronghold. With the PCs steadily increasing in the polling numbers and in Parliamentary seats, it's no wonder that Paul Martin recently warned Liberals to stop bickering "because the Tories are the enemy".




Stephen Harper wants the Tories, all right - because after a year on the job, he's succeeded in leading his party from second to fifth in voter confidence, from a laughingStock under Day to irrelevance under himself.


  Of course, that‚s not to say he‚s wrong: having the Alliance bleed away votes from the Tories in Ontario will certainly guarantee another Liberal majority, especially as the Bloq collapses in Quebec. So finding ways for local Tories and Canadian Alliance members to co-operate should be a priority for both sides. It's just that somehow, watching Harper suddenly fall in love with the PCs seems a bit convenient, an act of desperation. He's changed his mind often enough that one might just be a wee touch cynical about his sincerity.


Thomas Curran


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