He must love that word reform

The province's second electoral reform referendum may be three years away. But fundraising for that campaign is already underway. In an email sent to fellow travellers, conservative legal mastermind Bruce Hallsor, who co-chaired the Yes to STV campaign, invites electoral reform supporters to attend an "intimate wine and cheese" event with former capital-r Reform leader Preston Manning. Tickets to the event, which will be held at the Harbour Towers Hotel and Suites on January 7, are $40 - with the money going to support "Fair Vote BC and the Victoria Chapter of Fair Vote Canada in their efforts to organise for a Yes vote in the next referendum on electoral reform." The following is a complete copy of that invite.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce Hallsor
Sent: 22 November 2005 15:25
Subject: Preston Manning in Victoria -- Fair Vote BC Event

Preston Manning will be in Victoria on January 7 to support Fair Vote BC and the Victoria Chapter of Fair Vote Canada in their efforts to organise for a Yes vote in the next referendum on electoral reform, set for November 2008.

Preston is an engaging person, and this intimate wine and cheese event will present an excellent opportunity to get to know him better. It will be held in a top floor suite of the Harbour Towers Hotel, with a stunning view of the harbour. Preston will speak very briefly, and the rest of the event will be an opportunity for questions, and informal mingling.

I hope you can come. Tickets are only $40.00. They will make great christmas presents for STV fans and Preston supporters alike.

Just send me a return e-mail, or call me at 388-5421, and I will be happy to get you one or more tickets.

Bruce Hallsor

24 Comments

Preston Manning may have they odd good idea every now and then, but I believe his decision to create the Reform Party caused far more harm than good. For starters, the decision of the West to send mostly Reform MPs to Ottawa only strengnthned Western Alienation as many Easterners believe that most Westerners are a bunch Right Wing wackos as most Reform MPs were. For all the faults of the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives, at least they were moderate enough to be acceptable to most Canadians. Had the West stuck with one of the two parties we could have had more influence rather than be in the situation we are now.

Preston Manning also destroyed any viable alternative to the Liberals. The Progressive Conservatives were going to lose the 1993 election no matter what, but had the Reform Party never come into existence, they likely would have won around 40-50 seats and once the Liberals became arrogant and corrupt, the PCs would have formed government. Instead, the existence of the Reform Party reduced the PCs to 2 seats making them irrelevant. This meant there was no viable alternative to the Liberals as the NDP is too left wing, the Reform/Alliance parties were too right wing, the Bloc Quebecois only runs candidates in Quebec, while the PCs were largely ignored. We cannot re-write history, but hopefully, whoever replaces Stephen Harper will re-build the Conservatives to resemble the Old PCs and get rid of all the Reform/Alliance elements that do nothing but ensure the Liberals continue to win elections. The Reform/Alliance ideas have been tried in the United States under the Bush administration and they failed miserably, so the debate is over as to whether their ideas work or not.

I am not entirely clear why one would want to recreate the old PCs?

The country needs a populist right wing party, not an establishment noblese oblige party that is only an uncorupt Liberal party.

Reform was the right name and the right idea. Canada must fundamentally Reform at the federal. I think you would hard pressed to find a single person in Canada that would honestly say that the federal government as it is structured and operates is working.

The problem with the Conservative party is that is has lost too much of the Reform party concept.

We need to ask why do we have a federal government doing more and more?

Why do have a federal government getting involved with all manner provincial issues?

We need to reform how we elect our MPs - and we need to ask if it is fair that BC and Alberta are so underrepresented in Ottawa.

We need to figure out why we have a Senate and why not electing can be condoned by anyone, especially the senators.

We need to ensure that we have a federal government that gets out of the business of oppressing aboriginal people. They have to report every detail of what happens to DIAND of what they do but have no control over their own affairs. The federal government is doing a good job at making aboriginal people poor and dependent. It would also be nice to see the feds reconize that aboriginal people have their own languages and should be allowed to use them on par with English and French.

We need to ask why we have a federal government that is unwilling to address the problems of one of Canada's largest industries - softwood lumber. How many years have they not been able to deal with the Americans? How long will they ignore the pine beetle problem? The federal government should hand all responsiblity to BC for international forestry issues.

Reform Ottawa now

My problem is not so much with Reform's populist policies, since this was just a smokescreen to mask their extreme agenda. They ran on a populist platform since it was the only way to get elected because if they revealed their true agenda, Canadians including Western Canadians would have never gone for them. Besides, a lot of their populist policies were a bit ridiculous. Having plebiscites on every issue that gets so many signatures just costs a lot of money as well as many bad policies may get passed since turnouts in plebiscites are usually quite low and often those pushing a certain agenda are mostly likely to show up. For example, I don't believe one should be able to outlaw abortion even if most Canadians voted for it. Recall has been a disaster here in BC as most of those launching Recall campaigns are simply those wanting to re-fight the last election since they were unhappy with the results. Having elections every four years is good enough for me. I would prefer we simply abolish the Senate, although I think the idea of a tripe E senate is not right since, while I support elected senators, I don't support the idea of PEI having as many senators as Ontario. What I find ironic as many of their ideas are very American (I don't automatically opposed something just because it is American), which makes me suspicious along with their other views that they want Canada to be nothing more than a carbon copy of the United States. The West may be under-represented, but changes come from being on the inside of the government and working within, not from the outside by electing members to the opposition. As for the federal government interferring in provincial jurisdiction, we are already one of the most de-centralized countries in the World. Any further de-centralization would mean Canada would be nothing more than a nation in name. I believe if we are to be a nation, we need to have certain common policies that exist from coast to coast. Finally I believe in stable and effective government, which is something that would disappear if Reform's populist policies were ever put in place.

We need some real checks and balances on executive power in our country’s capital - witness Chretien. However, Preston Manning was entirely ineffective in making the case to Canadians. It is now historical fact that Canadians were never convinced by him that our system of voting was corrupt; but we were convinced that the reform party was as morally questionable, at least as much, as the political party he was hoping to replace.

Consequently, the question still before the nation is: how do we establish reasonable checks and balances on executive power from Ottawa? We want a government that can act but at the same time we don’t want the government’s executive branch to have the power to run the kind of covert AdScam operation Chretien was running.

Manning is in the uncomfortable role of being a political failure… he came to the table with a weak agenda, argued it poorly, helped split the country with it, and let corruption run wild while he fumbled about… so much so that the Liberal party via PM PM had to take control and clean house on its own because the guys on the other side simple could not apply any heat at all.

Manning’s amateurish musing about responsibility and accountability in government would have gotten us nowhere on the above question… other than into a national ideological debate about the role an MP’s vote, which the reform whip would have controlled anyway.

I think Eugene Parks hits the nail on this one. Checks and balances are needed to avoid future corruption, but in order for this to happen the party must appeal to mainstream Canadians. When faced with a choice of a far right party versus a centrist, but corrupt party Canadians will go for the latter. Obviously starting a new party is never easy, but had the party weeded out all the radicals before 1993, it might have been in a position to someday form government. Instead, as time passed, moderates were one by one pushed out of the Reform Party (not by Preston Manning directly, but the party's policies made them so uncomfortable they left) as the hard right began to gain control of the party. The far right has always wanted to someday gain power, so first they tried to work within the Progressive Conservatives, but their role was very limited as Red Tories outnumbered them by huge numbers. With Reform party being a new party as well as a grassroots party, there were no mechanisms to screen candidates and keep extreme one's out. Contrary to what some may believe, I believe any party wishing to gain office must not allow extremists to run under their banner. Any party that does is not fit to govern in my opinion. I also think that the fact the Liberals nearly lost the last election and could lose a future election if the Tories chose a better leader will cause them to be less arrogant and bring in meaningful reforms. Lets remember, if Chretien were still prime-minister, we would have never had the Gomery Inquiry so I think Paul Martin has been doing a good job of cleaning up the Sponsorship mess and I believe he is the right person to do it.

The biggest mistake the reform party did, was try to win seats in Ontario and Quebec. It was when they tried to form government, that they attracted many more zealots than the original populists and reformers. Had they let the PC and LIBS fight for eastern votes, while maintaining the west, they would have been the king makers.

I mean, short of the crime and punishment platform, very little of the reform party's orginal agenda included social issues.

Also, remember the Brian's PC's were an umbrella party, and at the same time as Preston split, so did Lucien.

Many of us are upset that reform is just another national party. That means BC's issues get thrown to the background, as they focus on Ontario. If Preston was to revive Reform, I'm sure much of the BC would gladly follow him again.

The west doesn't just want in anymore, it wants someone to stand up for regional issues.

Daniel Grace - Reform Party all along was a regionalist party, which in my opinion does nothing for the West. If the West truly wants in, we will do so by having members sitting on the government side, not warming the opposition benches. By having members on the government side they can raise issues of local importance in caucus and therefore make a difference, whereas opposition MPs can complain all they want, but really get nothing done. Also, as a Canadian first, I believe regional parties are bad for national unity. We must do more to bring Canadians from coast to coast together rather than find ways to divide them. I don't view people from Ontario or Quebec any different than people from the West, since we are all CANADIANS. Sure there are regional differences, but we must find ways to celebrate those differences while still working towards a common goal. In addition has anybody heard of the idea conquer and divide. By giving more power to the provinces, we are reducing are ability to maintain our sovereignty from the Americans who present are far bigger threat than either Ontario or Quebec does. At least our values are for the most part similar to Ontario and Quebec, while American values strongly contrast with Canadian ones and therefore we cannot allow greater Americanization of Canada. We must do more to unite Canadians while more to separate us from the Americans.

Daniel Grace - Reform Party all along was a regionalist party, which in my opinion does nothing for the West. If the West truly wants in, we will do so by having members sitting on the government side, not warming the opposition benches. By having members on the government side they can raise issues of local importance in caucus and therefore make a difference, whereas opposition MPs can complain all they want, but really get nothing done. Also, as a Canadian first, I believe regional parties are bad for national unity. We must do more to bring Canadians from coast to coast together rather than find ways to divide them. I don't view people from Ontario or Quebec any different than people from the West, since we are all CANADIANS. Sure there are regional differences, but we must find ways to celebrate those differences while still working towards a common goal. In addition has anybody heard of the idea conquer and divide. By giving more power to the provinces, we are reducing are ability to maintain our sovereignty from the Americans who present are far bigger threat than either Ontario or Quebec does. At least our values are for the most part similar to Ontario and Quebec, while American values strongly contrast with Canadian ones and therefore we cannot allow greater Americanization of Canada. We must do more to unite Canadians while more to separate us from the Americans.

Preston Manning's success was a result of a couple of things. First, Manning was prepared to go where others would not, promulgating policies that explicitly denounced bilingualism and Native land claims, and implicitly questioned immigration from Asian countries. Other parties wouldn't touch this xenophobic material, but Manning was happy to get down and dirty.

Besides his lack of standards, Manning also had a nose for what sells. In particular, he knew that hammering the crime issue and pushing a defence buildup would be perennial favourites with a large number of people. To this day, the new Conservative Party regularly gets additional votes from people who are angry about crime both major and minor, and who are seriously upset by curiously light sentences that some offenders receive (eg, two year's less a day for street racing causing death).

The NDP and the Liberals will have to do some harder thinking than what they have to this point if they wish to fully counter the Manning formula, which is still the operative model for the new Tory Party despite the architects retirement.

Miles, the Reform Party did everything for the West, and even the Liberals have paid more attention to use because for once more than Ontario was at stake.

If you think regional parties are bad for national unity, it is your national parties that have lead us to the brink. Regional parties gain strength in the stupidity and arrogance of national parties, including the PC's of the 90s and the current liberal parties.

Its not a matter of viewing people from Ontario different than people from Canada, but it is a matter of understanding regional differences, in economic measures, resource management, and even social policies. Too often will national parties base their policies on gaining the most seats, and thus we in the west have felt alienation. Even while we may get a handful of ministers, we find that any policy will not go down unless it can be swallowed by ontario and quebec, and so we don't have champions or regional notions.

Look at fisheries, or military base closures on one hand, and then look at pork barrelling projects in Quebec. We find parties constantly moving to the center, not of the political spectrum but of a geographical expanse. We look at where our Prime Ministers (excluding those who serve under a year) and our Governor Generals, and we see a definate central trend.

But more so, we have this little thing called the constitution that outlines the repsonsibilities of the federal government and the responsibilities of the provinces. And all we want is a federal government that actually acknowledges that little rag. We don't need a one sixe fits all Canada, as my vision is a nation seperate from the melting pot that is our seperate neighbour. We are distinct regions, cultures, that have some common values, and a commitment to each other. Canada is not some word to be thrown around for the sake of political doctrines, it is a loyalty to each other and respect for the fact that we are not all the same nor should be treated that way.


Reform / Alliance / CPC have been failures - unable to gain more seats than Joe Clark's failed minority government (after being defeated).Why? Because, the public was convinced they were morally problematic and did not trust them to hold power over their lives.


So Presters is fervently pushing STV? Well, that does it for me: I'm agin it. Fervently agin it.

Preston Manning is the guy who never bothered to learn French in this bilingual nation because he knew he'd never need it, in his reformed (get it? re-formed?) Canada.

It suited his purposes -- and only HIS purposes -- when he split from the Conservatives, to have Quebec depart as it would make it that much easier for him to capture what was left of Canada.

Presters = Personal Power at Any Price.

Since when did offical billingualism become a good idea? I don't take that as a given: it's unnecessary here and in rural regions of Quebec. Live here, learn English. Live there, learn French.

BTW I am fluent in French and have a degree in French Lit.

Just 'cause Trudeau said it or did it, doesn't make it sacred to this patriotic Canandian.

Ever tried reading Canadian history entirely in English? Can't be done.

A prime minister who has no first-hand idea of what key persons are saying in Quebec? I don't think so.

Ever tried reading original Canadian history entirely in English? Can't be done.

A prime minister who has no first-hand idea of what key persons are saying in Quebec? I don't think so.

REEEFFFFOOORRRMMM!!!

If you want to be a prime minister, then bilingualism should be a requirement, as it is to work in certain civil service posts. But frankly, I don't care if the opposition leader does, nor if my rep does.


Being multi-lingual is kewl...

A government of a multi-lingual nation has an obligation to offer and support the linguistic diversity of its people.

Shame on the CPC (political right) for taking 35 years to accept French as part of the Canadian fabric... kudos for at least getting around to it last March.

N.B CPC: don't expect people to give you power over their lives if they know you don't respect them. Go and figure why you are dead in the water in Quebec, Atlantic Canada, the North, in Aboriginal Communities, Ethnic Communities, among many immigrant communities, and now slipping badly in BC and Saskatchewan. CPC understand that there is 15 recent years of community bashing to get beyond and, unfortunately, still no sign yet of community spirit in your party. For example, locally, the first public thing out of Troy Desouza’s mouth was buy more bullets… just no sign at all that you see the need to address community and support it. Don’t expect respect until the public can clearly see that you give it.

Yes, it is cool to be multi-lingual, but why print French labels on products sold in Western Canada?

Common-sense answers only, please!

If and when you can think of some, I mean....

I agree that posting French labels on every product doesn't make a lot of sense, but due to the way the regulatory system works, I believe it is appropriate. If safety information for labeling was under provincial jurisdiction, then they wouldn't need to be Bilingual, but since it is under federal jurisdiction, it would be way too expensive to enforce a whole series of different set of rules for different parts of the country. Contrary to what some think, there are large Francophone communities outside of Quebec, i.e. Eastern Ontario, New Brunswick, parts of Manitoba. Also contrary to popular opinion, only information that is required by law must be in both official languages. Any optional information can be in English only. Many companies voluntarily put all labels including optional information in both official languages as it would be more expensive to have two packaging labels, one for Quebec, one for the ROC, rather than just have one for all of Canada. I myself use to think bilingual labeling was silly until I went to the government's site on bilingual label, which clearly explains the reasons for it and what the law actually is rather than what many believe it to be.


You mean French people don't buy products in Alberta... and English people don't buy goods in Quebec?

Off Course there are French people in Alberta and English people in Quebec, but when you consider how many ethnic groups there in Canada, you cannot put labelings in every language. The best solution as is already the case is make mandatory labeling such as health and safety instructions bilingual, but optional labeling, let the market decide. For example if a product has nuts and a person with nut allergies eats the product, it could potentially kill them, therefore this information should be bilingual. But information about winning a prize trip to Hawaii is something one can do without so it doesn't need to bilingual.

Miles: glad you were so soundly convinced; by the government's own website, no less!

To both of you: don't think MAYBE the francophone communities outside of La Belle Province can function in English, as well? If you're living in say,Creston, and you can't read an English label, you're in serious trouble!

Don't get me wrong, folks, I think certain services from the FEDS ought to be available in both languages, and a translator for criminal trials at the least, but a lot of the policies enacted are complete horseshit.


Come on, do francophones really need their own schoolboards out West? Give me a friggin' break! Give our pocketbooks a break! Seriously, we're spending more money on this as a nation than we are on providing proper care for disabled children. Shows that the real priority of politicians is to play politics, not actually help a REAL problem.

I don't expect this argument to have much weight here. It is amazing to me how much Canadians have accepted as gospel truth the Trudeaupian propaganda that's been shoved down our gullets, especially by Pravda...er, I mean the CBC.

Finally, Miles: you definitely are not centre-right or vote CPC. You're a liar or at least the reddest Tory I have seen since David Orchard.

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