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Sunday, March 20, 2005

My thoughts on the Tory convention

The highlight of the Conservative convention of me, of course, was the Western Standard/Greenfuels hospitality suite. About 1,000 people came through our massive room -- room actually wasn't even the right word for it. It was an enclosed street, with a 75-foot-high glass ceiling. (Funny enough, Power Corp's head office was at one end of the enclosed street. I was sure to leave behind a few copies of our cover story detailing their links to the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal.)

Big thanks to Kory Teneycke and Melissa Armstrong at Greenfuels for their work and sponsorship of the night. Our chairman, Lyle Dunkley, was there, too, and he worked the crowd -- especially everyone from Saskatchewan!

All the stars of the conservative firmament were there: David Frum, Preston Manning, Stockwell Day, Monte Solberg, John O'Sullivan, literally dozens of other MPs and Senators, Laureen Harper (who came specifically to tell me how much she enjoys the mag!), leading conservative advocates like John Williamson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Naresh Raghubeer of the Canadian Coalition for Democracy, Gerry Nichols of the National Citizens Coalition, etc., etc. Of course, the most exciting guests for me were our enthusiastic readers.

Thanks to Rita Phillips, our circulation manager and her sister for staffing our subscriptions table, and handing out hundreds of lapel pins that Kevin previously mentioned.

There were other interesting things besides our hospitality suite, of course. I thought Harper's leadership approval number, 84%, was surprisingly high, given the fact that the party is still freshly fused from two fractious factions, and more to the point, that Peter MacKay, Belinda Stronach and others have already started their leadership campaigns, which are naturally destabilizing. The fact that so many former Tories supported Harper is a good sign of the party's unity, and perhaps more accurate than just reading the Globe and Mail's editorial front page.

I met privately for half an hour with Harper, and we talked about the magazine. He told me what Western Standard readers probably knew already: That a liberal media is one of the largest challenges to getting a Conservative party elected in this country, and that the Western Standard is an important part of the solution. It was good to hear, and it was a message that I heard from dozens of MPs and party workers. The fact that we are often a constructive critic of the party is not only not resented, it is welcomed -- we are a countervailing force to the pressures of the Red Tories on the party.

I came away from the convention with my expectations exceeded -- it was not a wholesale march to the left; and, if anything, MacKay and Stronach's acting out discredited them amongst party stalwarts -- it certainly did not take away from Harper's leadership numbers. The mood was good, the conduct of the convention itself was professional, and the party looks grown up. My friend Kevin Bosch, a Liberal observer, told me that he has no doubt that one day the Conservatives will beat the Liberals -- he remarked on how much the demographics and professionalism of the party had changed from just a few years ago. I think he meant it -- the Liberal future is not inevitable, and it was the convention that told him so. Read tomorrow's Calgary Sun for more of my thoughts.

Posted by Ezra Levant on March 20, 2005 | Permalink


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» My Hospitality Roundup from Colbert's Comments
Some people have asked me my take on the hospitality at the convention so while I was not in Montréal on Thursday night when I understand all the candidate hospitality was I did make my way around to a few of the big bashes on Friday night. The Lead... [Read More]

Tracked on 2005-03-21 8:51:58 AM


Yes, I agree with Ezra Levant and Harper - the liberal media is an enormous challenge to getting the CPC elected, but there are two other challenges.

One, is the intellectual passivity of Canadians; they have been brainwashed not to critique, not to question, not to confront. Therefore, Canadians on the whole tend to accept the status quo even though they dislike it. Issues that would enrage Americans tend to, in Canada, be met with a sigh, shrug..within a feeling that citizens have no power to effect any changes.

I think that the Western Standard AND blogs, many blogs, can play a large role in encouraging critical and active thought. It is heartening to see more and more Canadian blogs, and especially to see that they are often run by young people.

But two- and perhaps my paraonia is flying its pennant - but my claim is that Canada is an oligarchy rather than a democracy; and that a clique (the Power Corp clique) has essentially taken over the governing reins of this country. The Liberal Party is their political side. They will therefore, want to maintain that party in power. They have a lot of clout! Either they maintain the Liberal Party in power, OR, OR, they corrupt the CPC and get some of its key figures on their side.

As I said - my paranoia may be flying a false flag...but....

Posted by: ET | 2005-03-20 9:03:40 AM

Response of Canadians: Who cares? I'm OK, Jack.

Shut up with your politics.

Cold, eh?

Bush is a moron.

All politicians are crooks.

My health care is free.

Cold, eh?

Power who? Never heard of it.

Alberta gas and oil, rednecks, eh?

Cold , colder than before.

What is Gomery?

Cynical, eh? Oh well.... back to Air Farce...

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-03-20 10:41:59 AM

I don't think your paranoid at all ET - "Old Canada" has their fingerprints all over McKay and Stonach.

Posted by: mr | 2005-03-20 11:03:38 AM

In reply to 'mr'. Many thanks for saying it aloud. You said exactly what I was NOT saying openly.

It's almost as if the Power Corp clique was figuring - well, IF the Liberals lose the next election, we'd better have Our Replacement Gang in place among the CPC.

Very worrying.

Posted by: ET | 2005-03-20 11:30:26 AM

ET wrote:

"But two- and perhaps my paraonia is flying its pennant - but my claim is that Canada is an oligarchy rather than a democracy; and that a clique (the Power Corp clique) has essentially taken over the governing reins of this country. The Liberal Party is their political side."

You really are an uncritical thinker. Just a few short days ago, your friends over at smalldeadanimals published a "chart" of the UN corruption and the "Canadian connection" which prominently featured Brian Mulroney and Don Mazankowski.

The facts are that the corporations have perverted politics in Canada and they have completely subverted politics south of the border.

Guys like Lavant love it because its good for his business. To keep this subversion going, it takes lots of media power. You need wall to wall FOX news, and Western Standards and Calgary Suns and on and on and on.

Propagating Big Lies takes lots of print. And countering Big Lies takes lots of print.

But as long as corporations seek to subvert democracy, there will be lots of money for blogs like Kate's and her miniature poodles, and it will not matter if they are Conservative or Liberal, as long as they tow the corporate line, which is NAFTA and the FTA, total abdication of Canadian sovereignty to the Americans, and a "don't rock the boat" mentality over all Canada-US issues.

Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-03-20 11:31:36 AM

Ezra, thanks for the great party.

Looks like you had a great time along with the rest of us.


Posted by: Stephen Taylor | 2005-03-20 12:31:23 PM

Do We Have A Moral Deficit in Political Leadership?
By Stephen Gray

“As he tried to unite the party forged from so many factions – old Progressive Conservatives, old Reformers, conservatives social and fiscal, urban and rural, east and west – Harper's strongest card was the Liberals' $250-million sponsorship boondoggle. 'Maybe they should start by pondering the old commandment "Thou shalt not steal,"' Harper said as the crowd cheered and stomped its feet."


The above quote from Mr. Harper’s speech to the Conservative party convention: "Thou shalt not steal," regarding the sponsorship program is very apt and true. He told it like it is. Too bad he was not so morally outraged on the abortion issue. Mr. Harper went on to state in his speech that there would be no new abortion laws from a Conservative government. Perhaps Mr. Harper who quoted the commandment “Thou shalt not steal” might also care to remember that other commandment which surely applies to Conservative support of abortion: “thou shalt not kill.”

“Only a smattering of delegates cheered his pronouncement that a Conservative government would not attempt to bring in new abortion laws.”
http://www.canada.com/national/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=ec0d33a8-fa22-44f6-93d2-cd0b3ab1ded0 )

Still there were people at the convention who did not believe in the killing of the child in the womb. “The convention's 2,900 delegates voted 55 per cent in favour of maintaining the status quo on abortion, with 45 per cent opposed.” So it would appear Mr. Harper and his party are not out of the woods on the abortion issue because this atrocity is not going to go away any time soon. Still there was at least one Conservative at the convention with the courage to tell it like it is; former MP Elsie Wayne said, "You know that abortion kills babies." (http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2005/03/19/966417-cp.html )

On this issue of baby killing there is no difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals. One can imagine in the next election when the abortion issue is raised both Liberals and Conservatives will boast they will not have ANY LAW on abortion. Which means it will still be open season on the child in the womb. The child will still be cut to pieces, poisoned by a saline solution, or in the case of a partial birth abortion his head pierced by a sharp instrument and his brains suctioned out. Or should he survive the attack by the abortionist and be born alive, he will be left to die.

We have over one hundred thousand abortions a year in Canada paid for by our tax dollars. Pregnancy is NOT a disease. Yet this killing of the child in the womb is a financial bonanza for abortionists. Is this fiscally responsible? This blood money could be better spent on real illnesses in the healthcare system. But how can any party be fiscally responsible when it is not morally responsible?

The leadership of the Liberal government has avoided moral responsibility in the Sponsorship program and taxpayers have been ripped off. Now the "new" Conservative party has abdicated any moral responsibility for the child ripped from its mother’s womb. What a “choice” for the people in the next election! The leaders of both parties will not stop the baby killing, albeit this is disguised, by the code word, “choice.” Therefore one has to ask the question: Do we have a moral deficit in political leadership?

Note: To see the truth about abortion go to: http://www.abortionNO.org

Stephen Gray March 20, 2005.
[email protected] Website: http://www.geocities.com/graysinfo

Posted by: Stephen Gray | 2005-03-20 7:39:25 PM

Yes, thanks for the great party.

I came away from the Convention encouraged by the unity in the party. A support level of 84 percent lays to rest the leadership issue until after the next election.

Moreover, the willingness to openly debate issues means that the worst of the "hidden agenda" albatross is now behind us. The Liberals will have greater difficulty playing this card in the next election. Kevin Bosch is right. The Liberals can no longer assume their victory next time is inevitable. The new CPC has a distinct agenda that will appeal to the majority of Canadians who are not on the extreme left.

For those on the left... well you always can vote NDP...

Posted by: Brian S | 2005-03-20 9:36:48 PM

"green fuels"?

check this out:


Posted by: anon | 2005-03-20 11:45:50 PM

I'm a little dismayed to hear Ezra essentially portraying MacKay and Stronach as Red Tory Bogeymen (Bogeypeople?). Is this a national party or not? Is uniformity of ideology a necessity across the whole conservative spectrum of issues? I found it vaguely disturbing that the WS publisher is so openly hostile to the other side of the "fracture in the factions". I was considering actually dropping some coin for the dead-tree version of this venture. I was starting to feel some kinship with my Western breathren, but I just got a sudden stinky whiff of the prevailing "us versus them" attitude that persists even within the Conservative Party. I guess you didn't name the mag the National Standard for a reason.

Posted by: Homer Bombeck | 2005-03-21 8:34:16 AM

Good Lord! I commented (below) before I had even read Ezra's Sun article. "Trophy Girlfriend", "Clothes Horse", "prom king and queen". Your acting like an idiot, Levant.

Posted by: Homer Bombeck | 2005-03-21 12:06:12 PM

>One, is the intellectual passivity of Canadians; they have been brainwashed not to critique, not to question, not to confront.

I totally agree, and I've offered a solution on my blog on how it might be ameliorated.


THIS IS NOT SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION; I worry A LOT about the fact that Canadians are not better informed, and I'm always trying to think of creative ways to help solve the problem.

Posted by: Snowy | 2005-03-21 12:13:03 PM

In reply to Snowy - you have, yourself, a very nice blogsite.

It's a great worry, the fact that Canadians refuse to think, analyze, demand facts and accountability and instead, slough off those duties to The Authorities. Of course, that's the whole agenda of The Authorities - aka the Liberal Party/Power Corp etc, who thereby enable themselves to function as an extremely powerful economic group.

What's is also so astonishing is that Canadians are so hostile to other opinions. Remember the Liberal Ads - you are not Canadian unless you are Liberal..and...follow the Liberal Party-Line. And there are repeated arguments that 'if you don't like it here...leave'..which means that Canada refuses to accept different views.

I think that the Conservatives HAVE to stress that their party is heterogeneous; they permit and encourage diversity of opinions and people. The Liberal Party encourages and insists on homogeneity. Same with the NDP and Bloc. The CPC should openly state that they are there for all Canadians and are an OPEN rather than CLOSED party. They are open to discussion, to debate, to analysis.

Pamphlets are fine, Snowy, but in our oral culture, how many will read them? Pamphlets are rather like Opinion Pieces or Columnist's articles. They might attract attention because they are different in design.

I think it has to be blogs. I think Stephen Harper was right to accuse the MSM of bias; they immediately started to say nice things about him and the CPC.

But - as has been pointed out, the Liberals and the Power Bloc Clique are going on the attack against free speech. 'Hate speech on the internet' (how does one define that?); their repeated attempts to close down or hide the Gomery Inquiry.

Very depressing.

Posted by: ET | 2005-03-21 12:30:42 PM

Heterogeneous is death. Diversity is weakness. Becoming more liberal than the Liberals will not get the CPC elected in Quebec. The CPC and Harper are so damn myopic. The issue is homogeneity and they just can't see it.

Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, Quebec's minister of international relation on Ontario's flirting with Sharia law;

"I think all political parties in Quebec must say loud and clear that not only do we not want it in Quebec, we don't want it in Ontario and we don't want it in Canada. … We must rework the social contract [for immigrants] so that the people – Muslims who want to come to Quebec and who do not respect women's rights or who do not respect whatever rights may be in our Civil Code – stay in their country and not come to Quebec, because that's unacceptable. On the other hand, if people want to come to Quebec and accept our way of doing things and our rights, in that instance they will be welcome and we will help them integrate."

It's barely a minute step in the right direction. It's weakness, as Lawrence Auster points out, is "what if, despite official rejection of official sharia, the number of Moslems keeps increasing to the point where they will have the political power to impose sharia, regardless of what Gagnon-Tremblay may want? The answer, inconceivable to all types of liberals, including the "conservatives," is that a society is not formed from a mere agreement, but from shared qualities, shared allegiances, and shared memories.

A society that defines itself solely by liberal rights and liberal proceduralism, and not by substantive cultural qualities, cannot maintain its own existence. This is especially the case when the society is operating within a multi-civilizational, multi-racial environment, and the society, extending its liberal rights and procedures to all humans equally, must, in principle, open its membership to all people regardless of their culture. Under such circumstances, the liberal social contract is little better than a collective suicide pact."

A heterogeneous CPC, as Mulroney demonstrated, is disastrous.

Posted by: DJ | 2005-03-21 2:15:24 PM

Conservative Party of Canada recent convention in general is a good step-up and created a more united and stronger Conservative Party. Now with the convention completed the Conservatives can work on the Fed-Liberals nonsense.Cronyism-Glen Murray being appointed to a government environment position when a environment committee concluded Glen Murray is not even nearly qualified. PM Martin disregarded the committee and appointed liberal Murray. Conservative convention a big plus:Harper will appoint provincial elected Senators to the senate if elected PM. PM-Martin certainly won't. Note:{63 smart and informative essays authored by Canadian conservative-William D.Gairdner can be read or down loaded at his Website.}- WilliamGairdner.com

Posted by: Larry | 2005-03-21 4:09:17 PM

CTV: "Brison won't rule out Gomery publication ban"

Brison: " should be limited in scope so that at most the public's access to the testimony can only be delayed"

Access delayed is access denied.

He also made reference to the Weekly Standard button: "It's the charter, stupid."

Way to go, Ezra & crew.

More, please & faster.

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-03-21 4:16:50 PM

Although this thread was a follow-up on Ezra's inspiring Montreal news, I couldn't help noting the post by Joe Green with respect to the purported evils of corporate Canada.

I find it curious that Joe refers to the UN in order to draw attention to the culpability of "the Canadian connection" ... while making no reference to the endemic corruption that has virtually come to characterize that organization as a whole - with no help whatever from the likes of Brian Mulroney or Don Mazankowski.

We have the disgraceful spectacle of so-called UN "peace keepers" in the Congo abusing and raping minors; the Oil-for-Food disaster and ongoing internal corruption ... forcing Annan to finally undertake a long overdue overhaul.

It is ironical that Armstrong Williams should have been singled out and pilloried for receiving payment from the Bush administration, when Annan and co run a virtual legion of journalists, all paid to trumpet the successes of the UN, both in the US and in europe.

Joe claims that "corporations have perverted politics in Canada". What about the Unions ...but that topic would require a book and then some. In actual fact, it is the energy and verve of corporations that lend Canada its edge and inspires the free spirited among us to resist the Trudeauopic machinations of the gray men on the Hill.

An objective consideration of the political developments over the past few decades only serves to underscore the power of the free market to transform and invigorate societies. Why do you think Tony Blair christened New Labour "the party of business" ... a term that would have been unthinkable in the 60's. He did this because he realized that his brand of socialism has no future unless it allies itself with the new market forces. Blair's radical shift of direction was presaged by a statement from the mouth of Mikhail Gorbachev when he candidly admitted that all of the talk of positive economic initiatives that flowed from the old eastern block was "pure propaganda".

When we look at countries that took a communist or socialist direction in earlier decades, we find societies fraught with intercine strife and struggling with destitution. By contrast, the so-called "Little Dragons" of asia - Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea have flourished as a result of opting for free market policies.

Singapore switched to the free market approach in 1959 and by the early 1980's the per capita income was very close to that of Japan. Hong Kong raised its per capita income to six times that of China ... land of Mao, the so-called "Great Helmsman" (Great Hellsman?)

When Mark Steyn speaks of Canada looking to europe and espousing socialist and quasi-socialist policies, he clearly believes that it is both wrong headed and potentially ruinous. I agree one hundred per cent.

Which leads me to Joe's main concern ... loss of the quaint sovereignty some of us Canadians have come to prize above genuine national achievement(being the "rights model" of the world doesn't cut it). This sovereignty paranoia mirrors the old "us and them" view of Canadian/American relations.

It's time for a new political alchemy, one that will transcend the old isolationism and lead us into a dynamic partnership with the Americans. After reading reports of the forces at play in Montreal, I have no doubt that "the times they are a'changin' ".

Posted by: raskolnikov | 2005-03-21 9:32:31 PM

I see no-one had any response to my earlier post and link, questioning the wisdom of WS affiliating with a company pedalling one of the enviro lobby's hobby horses, "green" fuel...

well, sometimes silence speaks volumes...

Posted by: anon | 2005-03-22 11:33:12 PM

Western Standard magazine should really be ashamed in this moment. The idea of publishing the Muslim cartoons that have caused great controversy and friction in the international community is not only tactless, but inconsiderate. To further the matter, the way that Ezra Levant spoke on CTV was truly shameful. Ezra not only looked completely void of empathy for the situation playing its self out right now, he looked excited to add Canada’s name to the problem. Yes this is a country that allows for free speech, but when it is quite clear that you have offended someone, this is also a country where I would hope people are willing to say sorry and to try to uphold respect and dignity. You know the cartoons have offended MANY people, so in effect you are saying that you WANT to offend them and that you WANT to continue a war of ideals. Thank you for officially offending a group of people, Miss-representing Canada, and possibly putting the lives of many Canadian's working abroad in danger. I hope you can at least find the dignity to apologize. You’re representing your Country.

Posted by: Ryan Hurl | 2006-02-13 1:42:29 PM

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