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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Prairie Centre Policy Institute

I was invited today to a luncheon debate hosted by the Prairie Centre Policy Institute (which could probably be described as a Saskatchewan based conservative "think tank"), as a guest of a friend who knows of my interest in politics and reads the blog.

The debate, which was on the role of federalism in the Canadian economy, featured well known Saskatchewan entrepreneur Herb Pinder Jr. and left-leaning U of Sask professor Red Williams. Pinder's premise - that Canada has become a "country of mediocrity", due to our culture of entitlement, high taxation, equalization and politically motivated federal infiltration into provincial responsibilities - recieved no rebuttal at all from Williams, which I thought was odd. Instead, he devoted his portion of the debate to defending government involvement in the economy and weakly excusing the excesses by reminding everyone of just how darned hard a job it is to run everybody's lives.

There were a number of business leaders and provincial MLA's in attendance at the small gathering, including former SaskParty leader Elwin Hermanson, Ken Cheveldayoff, Ben Heppner and June Draud, who was seated beside me at our table. Prior to the serving of lunch, she described her frustration at how difficult it is to get a clear message from the SaskParty out through the media - unless the ideas are picked up by the governing NDP, who then get the press and the credit.

She also shared that small local newspapers have recieved threatening calls and subsequent withdrawel of government advertising for giving "too much space" to SaskParty media releases. My ears perked up. What bloggers couldn't do with a story like that.

In the short time available, I tried to explain to her the concept of the blogosphere and how it has become so powerful a force in the US. She seemed to be interested enough and asked if I had a card. I didn't. (An interesting notion, though - who has business cards for their blog?) Shortly afterwards, the speakers began so there wasn't enough time to go into things in more detail.

At the wrap-up, Pinder suggested that we take the ideas presented "back to the workplace, talk to your friends"...

Urgh. How.... 1980's.

When, oh when, are Canadian conservative parties going to wake up and realize that one of the most powerful tools for uniting conservative voices and bypassing the mainstream left-leaning press is already here, is proven to be both powerful and successful, is ridiculously inexpensive and right under their noses?

I dug up the address to the PCPI website from the back of a booklet they provided, entitled "Creating Wealth In Saskatchewan", with plans of linking to the info on the Pinder-Williams debate and adding the site to the permanent sidebar.

There was nothing there. The page hasn't been updated since Christmas.

I can't say that I was surprised.

Posted by Kate McMillan on February 24, 2005 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink


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"Live as if the revolution has already happened..."

Blogs ARE Canada's defacto right wing political think tanks. Old people don't get it and won't. Their well-meaning organizations will die off and probably should.

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2005-02-25 7:28:32 AM

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