Friday, May 01, 2009

Disputation concerning new Nomination Rules

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The Reform Party and Progressive Conservative Party of Canada are termed "legacy parties" of the Conservative Party of Canada.

As a member of a Riding Executive within the PCPC from 1967 - 2003 no precedents were set within my experience in that Party that could be called upon to justify actions by the National Council presently being opposed by some members of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Whether there were precedents within the Reform Party I know not.

Section 4 f. , APPENDIX A, is a section added to the Conservative Party of Canada Candidate Nomination Rules and Procedures by their National Council in March 2009 http://www.conservative.ca/media/NominationRules2009.pdf .

National Council has the power to "alter, abridge or suspend any of the Rules as it sees fit" under Section 8 b., APPENDIX B, and to do so without appeal.

Members of Calgary West have questioned the decision and discussion is taking place on a blog both for and against among some of the Party's rank and file, APPENDIX C, http://www.bloggingtories.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7505

This is drawn to your attention as a matter of information in that you may wish to express your opinion on the blog or the Digest.

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APPENDIX A
"In an Electoral District whose Member of Parliament is a member in good standing of the
Parliamentary caucus of the Party and who wishes to re-offer in the next election, the
members in that Electoral District will vote by secret ballot to determine if the
nomination process should be engaged. The Conservative Party will administer the
balloting process. If two thirds or more of the eligible members choose to engage the
nomination process, National Council will begin a nomination process within 90 days;
otherwise the Member of Parliament will be acclaimed as the Party's candidate for the
next election, provided that the Member of Parliament remains a member in good
standing of the Parliamentary caucus of the Party."

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APPENDIX B
8. ABRIDGEMENT OF THE RULES
a. National Council authorizes that National Campaign Director, in consultation with the
President of National Council, may alter, abridge or suspend sections 4, 5, 6 and 9 of the
Rules as he sees fit. Any such decision of the National Campaign Director in consultation
with the President of National Council shall be final and binding and is not subject to
appeal or review on any grounds whatsoever.
b. National Council may alter, abridge or suspend any of the Rules as it sees fit.

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APPENDIX C
Calgary West CPC Members Disgusted with new Nomination Rules
http://www.bloggingtories.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7505

This letter has been making its way around Calgary West. It's written by Clyde Fulton, a long time CPC member who has worked on Harper's campaigns and donated money to the party. I have to agree with it, this new nomination process is a sham. It was addressed to Don Plett and cc'd to the PM and all National Council VP's. This new rule and its process is something right out of the Robert Mugabe playbook of "creative democracy". Have a read:

The Conservative Party of Canada
1204 - 130 Albert Street,
Ottawa, Ontario KIP 5G4

Mr Don Plett, President

I enclose my Certificate of Appreciation, which I am returning in disgust over the manner in which you and National Council have subverted the democratic nomination process in the EDA of Calgary West, depriving grassroots party members of a long-sought after and well-deserved nomination meeting.

A balloting process requiring two-thirds of all members to request a nomination meeting is a sham with a predetermined outcome. While one could legitimately argue whether a simple majority or some greater percentage of voting members is appropriate, two-thirds of all registered members is an absurd hurdle rate clearly designed to simply acclaim all existing MPs, while wasting party resources in a pathetic attempt to give the appearance of having consulted the membership.

Perhaps you could tell me how you intend to validate the number of living members in the EDA which will be used to calculate the two-thirds majority. I am aware of at least one deceased member ... perhaps you could tell me how many others have died, moved out of the EDA or are otherwise ineligible? How can you even verify that all members have received ballots? The answer of course is that you cannot do any of these things because the process is so badly flawed.

It is a sad irony that this party, which only months ago claimed the opposition was undemocratically attempting to seize control through a coalition, now effectively disenfranchises its own members using an unprecedented and absurd test of two-thirds of all registered members. Not once in the past four federal elections have two-thirds of registered Canadian voters actually cast a vote. I am unaware of any democratic process in which a failure to vote is regarded as a vote in favour of the status quo. I can only presume the goal of National Council is to keep the party's focus on winning the next election, as it should be. Does the prospect of a divisive challenge to the legitimacy of this process seem like a good use of party resources in a minority government situation? Why would you insult the very membership you rely upon for financial and voter support with such a transparently deceitful and mean-spirited process?

As you are acutely aware, Calgary West recently held its AGM in which a new Board was elected with a clear mandate to hold a nomination meeting. This was the culmination of a decade-long struggle to replace the buffoon who has represented this riding for the past 12 years. His offensive response was to simply brand as "closet Liberals" longstanding party members of integrity who questioned, challenged or criticized his outlandish behavior and dismal performance as an MP.

The question so many of us in Calgary West are asking is what possible interest you, the party and the Prime Minister have in protecting Mr. Anders who represents such a liability and whose performance is the subject of constant ridicule by his own constituents and any impartial, thoughtful observer. He reaffirms in the minds of many Canadian voters their concern that the party still tolerates the lunatic element of the extreme right, effectively dashing any hope of ever electing a Conservative majority government.

Further exacerbating my frustration, has been the manner in which you personally, Mr. Plett, have intervened to undermine the authority of the EDA and the will of the grassroots members of Calgary West by unilaterally denying the new Board and its Interim Executive timely access to the mailing list. Your thug-like behavior contravenes every principle of grassroots democracy that this party was founded upon.

While it saddens me to withdraw my support from the party that I truly believe should govern this country, the reprehensible actions, arrogant attitude and bullying conduct of you personally and National Council have left me no choice but to use every democratic means available to effect the positive change so desperately needed in this riding and apparently at National Council itself. Until we are able to hold a fair, open and democratic nomination process in Calgary West I will:

• Withhold all further financial contributions to the party and encourage my family,
friends, neighbours and business colleagues to do likewise
• Use every channel available to me to publicize this charade
• Make every effort to apply increased scrutiny and publicity over Mr. Anders
dismal performance
• Support the recruitment and financing of a high profile independent progressive conservative candidate of integrity to run in Calgary West in the next federal election. The risk of course is that this will split the conservative vote allowing a Liberal win. While this would be unfortunate, it is the only process you and National Council have left available to the large number of people in this riding so disenchanted with Mr Anders.

Historically I have taken a very passive role in politics. However this issue has mobilized me like no other. I will make it my personal mission to bring this travesty of democracy to the attention of as many people as possible.

If you believe a nomination process would have been divisive, you can imagine what using such a fraudulent process to deprive the newly mobilized membership of Calgary West of a legitimate voice in selecting who will represent them in the next election will produce.

The Prime Minister and the Party have the actions of you personally and National Council to blame for this deplorable situation.

Clyde W. Fulton

cc. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Kara Johnson, Vice President
Victor Marciano, Secretary
Menno Froese, Regional Vice President (West)
Cecil Taylor, Regional Vice President (Atlantic)
Gilles Lavoie, Regional Vice President (Quebec)

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