From Tory to Reform to Alliance: Stephen Harper

Edmonton - Monday, January 14, 2002 - by: Ron Thornton


For many years, my political hopes were with the Progressive Conservatives. Being a Tory was, in my mind, not to do what the Liberals did. Federal contracts were to go to the best bid, not the central Canadian location that scored cheap political points. Tory politicians listened to their constituents, they did not dictate to them. A Tory stood for making our institutions more democratic, not for making unprecedented moves to stack the Senate with even more unelected appointees to ensure passage of unpopular legislation. When we saw that being a Tory was akin to being a Liberal, many of us left for a new political vehicle that gave us the hope that it was something different.



stood for

Being a Reformer meant being loyal to the principles that gave meaning to our party's political existence, not abandoning them like cheap election promises. Reform stood for open debate and not manipulated consent. Reform set the same standard for all, and not the hypocrisy that protected one leader from criticism but allowed outright mutiny against another. Reform stood for presenting clear, coherent policy that would stir the imagination, not self-indulgent papers that failed to provide details as to how such schemes could be implemented or how they might function in a real world.




So, what are the hopes of Canadian Alliance members? Do they entail abandoning any pretense of principle, of reform, to simply become the Canadian Alternative, the party one turns to only in those times the Liberals need to be tuned in? Over the next few months, members of the Canadian Alliance can decide to follow someone down a path to an ill-fated merger and retrenchment as an old-style political party. My hope is that they might consider moving ahead to seek something better. My hope is that they might opt for real leadership that addresses real concerns providing real solutions for real people. Like all families, our differences are self-evident, but we need a leader who will dwell on those things that unite us as a people and not perpetuate those that might divide us. We need a leader who can give us hope of real change and not more illusions. I believe that leader is Stephen Harper.




Ron Thornton
------------------ References:
  Editor's note: these references were added to this article to give you some background on this man seeking leadership of the Canadian Alliance.
  Stephen Harper's leadership web site
  National Coalitions pitch for Stephen Harper
  Toronto Star reports no support for Stephen Harper from Mike Harris and Ontario conservatives.
  In September the Toronto Globe and Mail reported Harpers visit to Ottawa to test the support he might have.
  A president of the National Citizens Coalition Stephen Harper slams vote by MPs to boost their wages.
  In 1996 as member of parliament Harper goes to bat for the taxicab owners association.