Grassroots and Party Elites: What you Need to Know About the CPC23 Convention

CPC23 Convention and National Council Elections.

The September 7-9, 2023 Conservative Party of Canada Convention (CPC23) in Quebec City is the first in-person convention in five years, since 2018! Why are Conservative Party Convention tickets so much more expensive than they were in previous years? This year’s prices are $459 for a youth ticket and $979 for a delegate ticket. Early bird prices were $349 for a youth ticket and $799 for a delegate ticket. This is up from the CPC 2021 Virtual Convention, which was $79 for early bird tickets and $99 for regular price tickets. It is disheartening to see an increase in ticket prices for CPC23, which may inadvertently restrict the participation of grassroots conservatives and concerned Canadians in this pivotal democratic exercise.

National Council has powers set-out in the Conservative Party’s constitution controlling the party’s budget, creating party bylaws and most importantly, setting rules for local nomination races and candidate selection. National Council makes vital decisions such as appointing the Leadership Election Organizing Committee (the body that establishes the rules of the party’s leadership race) and acts as the final decision maker for candidates who have been disqualified by National Candidate Selection Committee.

At the 2021 convention, pro-life, anti-abortion groups secured at least 7 of 18 spots on Conservative Party of Canada’s National Council. The seven pro-life endorsed candidates were Amber Ruddy (Alberta), Robert Boyd (British Columbia), Mani Fallon (British Columbia), Bert Chen (Ontario), Shir Barzilay (Ontario), Pete Aarssen (Ontario), and Collette Stang (Saskatchewan). Stephen Barber (Manitoba) and Kara Johnson (Ontario) were somewhat outspoken pro-lifers on National Council. 

Campaign Life Coalition complained that the party had disqualified two of its candidates for National Council, criticizing party officials for “skullduggery and dishonesty.”  These two candidates were Richard Decaire, who ran for party leadership in the 2020 CPC leadership race and faced an unjust disqualification, and someone who Campaign Life Coalition says wished to remain anonymous. 

Heading into the 2023 CPC leadership convention, there are twenty seats available on CPC National Council, with representation determined by the number of seats in the House of Commons per province. 

Four national councillors will be elected in Ontario: Aidan Mackey, Christina Mitas, Daphne Tot, Waseem Botros, Alex Corelli, Stewart Kiff, and Aaron Scheewe are running. 

Three national councillors will be elected in Quebec: Nathalie Clermont, Matthew Conway, Anthony Matar, Esteban Mendez, and Emile Mercier are running. 

Two national councillors will be elected in British Columbia: Robert Boyd, Mani Fallon, and Konrad Kobielewski are running. 

Two National Councillors will be elected in Alberta: Heather Feldbusch, Amber Ruddy, and Al Siebring are running.

  • Saskatchewan, Colette Stang is Acclaimed. 
  • Manitoba, Stephen Barber is Acclaimed
  • Prince Edward Island, Ron MacMillan is Acclaimed
  • Nova Scotia, Christopher Guinan is Acclaimed
  • New Brunswick, Kevin Price is Acclaimed
  • Newfoundland and Labrador, Judy Manning is Acclaimed
  • Yukon, Danny Macdonald is Acclaimed
  • North West Territories, Tim Syer is Acclaimed
  • Nunavut seat is Vacant

Who are the Ontario Candidates for National Council 2023?

Aidan Mackey, 18, host of the Conservative Roundup podcast, is one of the youngest conservatives to ever seek the Conservative Party of Canada national council position. One of Aidan’s core platform principles is to ensure fair candidate nominations. I met and interacted with Aidan during Youth Parliament Canada meetings. Aidan is a strong leader and an excellent advocate for issues that matter to Canadians. There is no one who would be better suited for this position than Aidan Mackey. 

Christina Mitas, 36, Former Scarborough-Centre Ontario PC MPP, the last unvaccinated MPP, announced she would not seek re-election in June 2022. Ontario Premier Doug Ford decreed that all Ontario PC MPPs and candidates in the June 2 election must have their COVID-19 shots. While Mitas had a “medical exemption” from vaccination for undisclosed reasons, insiders say her presence in the Tory caucus was a source of frustration for Ford’s advisers. There are currently no unvaccinated MPPs in Queen’s Park. Mitas is a staunch conservative: “I started off life as an elected official pregnant with my first child and will end this term with three babies three and under. I remain a true blue conservative — I believe in small government, family, God and freedom with all my heart.”

Daphne Tot is pro-life. In an email, Tot states, “I believe in treating everyone with respect regardless of their skin colour, ethnicity, sex, gender, religion, ideology or viewpoint. I greatly appreciate the Conservative Party of Canada’s (CPC) declaration that individual party members are free to express their own deeply held moral convictions. I am proudly pro-life and have supported pro-life and pregnancy support organizations which help provide health care, education and support systems for mothers and families. Canada needs to create a national adoption strategy and awareness campaign to make it easier for Canadians to adopt children. If Canada had an effective adoption system, coupled with more pregnancy support groups, mothers and families might choose life.”

Waseem Botros, P. Eng., immigrant to Canada from Egypt, CFO of Mississauga-Centre EDA, husband and proud father of three, and very vocal against Patrick Brown. In an email action update, Botros wrote, “Part of my plan involves taking a stand towards people like Patrick Brown. People who have harmed the Conservative Party of Canada’s reputation more than they have helped. For too long we have only slapped the wrists of those who have brought our party into disrepute. That is why I’m reaching out to you, the membership; the base, and asking if you will join me in petitioning the CPC to ban Patrick Brown from running under the CPC banner in any future election.”

Alex Corelli, 24, Upper Canada College, University of Waterloo bachelor of Applied Science Mechanical Engineering Coop second year student, was an Ontario PC Youth Association President and Vice President of the PC Party of Ontario, was Executive Assistant to MPP for York Centre, Michael Kerzner, Solicitor General. My own experience with Alex Corelli has been somewhat positive except that I would identify Corelli as a “red tory” for his stances expressed to me on funding the war in Ukraine and his private views on abortion. Corelli was responsible for implementing vaccine related lockdown measures for Ontario Youth PC events and didn’t stand up for Ontarians against the harsh nonsensical mask and vaccine policies. Corelli works extremely hard and he has suffered some personally tragic experiences so I wish him all the best and hope he eventually turns a page on his positions on life and family. 

Stewart Kiff, the only Ontario National Council member to seek reelection, was a leader in Erin O’Toole National Council. Kiff was responsible for sending out the email explaining Gerrit Van Dorland’s disqualification. Kiff uses the ad populum fallacy (affectionately referred to by many as the “dodo bird fallacy”) that because the vote had 11-3 support to disqualify Van Dorland, therefore it must have been the right decision. This could not be further from the truth, since the action was so fundamentally anti-democratic and almost cost the conservatives a conservative safe seat. 

Aaron Scheewe, from Hamilton, Ontario, Scheewe attended McMaster University and is Managing Director at The Capital Hill Group. Scheewe is on the Ontario Sunshine List for 2017 earning a taxpayer funded salary of $111,449.34 to be the Manager, Government Relations for Mcmaster University. People who have taken advantage of taxpayers should not be running to represent conservative ideology, which defends taxpayers and advocates for limited government spending. Scheewe should find a real job. 

Both Shir Barzilay and Susan Cui withdrew their bids for National Council. Barzilay, former national council member for the CPC, was in hot water with Parents as First Educators for flip-flopping on pro-life candidate nomination decisions. Cui wrote a lengthy article for the Toronto Star in favour of vaccine mandate QR code verification

Party Polling Report

The Conservative Party of Canada is doing reasonably well by all metrics going into the Conservative Party of Canada Convention in Quebec City, September 7-9, 2023. 

338Canada National Polling Averages show conservatives with a large lead. 

Popular Vote Share:

CPC: 39%

LPC: 29%

NDP: 18% 

BQ: 7%

GPC: 4% 

Seat projection:

CPC: 178 [145-211] 

LPC: 105 [70-133] 

BQ: 32 [26-38] 

NDP: 21 [13-35] 

GPC: 2 [1-3] 

PPC: 0 

The next election is scheduled for October 20, 2025. 

Party Fundraising Report.

The Conservatives have significantly out-fundraised the Liberals. 

The Conservative Party of Canada raised $8,306,535 in the first quarter of 2023, more than double the amount the Liberals collected.

The Conservatives’ first quarter funds came from 45,659 donors. The Liberals raised $3,614,224 from 30,720 donors over the same time period, according to Elections Canada data. 

The NDP raised $1,260,952 from 15,594 donors. The Green Party raised $400,915, the Bloc Québécois collected $322,871 and the People’s Party took in $296,585.

This Conservative fundraising total is down from the nearly $9.7 million they raised in the last quarter of 2022, which set a record for the most funds raised in a non-election quarter. The Liberals collected nearly $5.8 million in the last three months of 2022.

The Conservative Party raised $7,964,433.61 in the second quarter of 2023, a greater margin than the previous quarter. 

Strong Conservative party fundraising numbers position the party well for the next election. This is another reason why I am concerned with the increase in ticket prices during a cost of living and inflation crisis. The party should not be treating this fundamental democratic activity as a fundraising event. 

Pierre Poilievre Leadership: Weak or Strong?

Pierre Poilievre appointed Former Canadian Minister of Industry and Health, Tony Clement, the News Forum Host for the show Boom and Bust, member of the World Economic Forum, Director for a global health organization, Maitri Health, to serve on the board of the Conservative Fund. In 2018, Andrew Scheer asked Clement to leave caucus after being made aware of allegations of sexual impropriety. By Clement’s own admission, he sent sexually explicit images and a video to a person he thought was a consenting woman, which turned out to be an extortion attempt. Scheer said there were, “numerous reports of activity that was serious in nature.” Why would Poilievre appoint someone with Clement’s reputation to such an important position as a board member in charge of running the Conservative Party’s finances? 

In addition, Poilievre’s House of Commons leadership team is pretty woke. Ontario Thornhill MP Melissa Lantsman, a lesbian, and Alberta MP Tim Uppal, who is South Asian, serve as Poilievre’s deputy leaders. These are very important positions in conservative caucus. Ontario MP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, Eric Duncan, a gay man, serves as Poilievre’s party-caucus liaison. According to the CBC, 7 of the 119 Conservative MPs are Black, Indigenous or a person of colour (BIPOC). 

Poilievre’s apparent objective to over-represent minorities in positions of power for political gain misrepresents Canadians views and Canadian voices on important policy decisions that perpetrates a disconnect between the goals of the common people and Canada’s political elite.

Poilievre failed to support social conservative, pro life MP for Yorkton—Melville, Saskatchewan, Cathay Wagantall, when she introduced a bill banning the barbaric practice of sex selective abortion. On June 2, 2021, Members of Parliament voted 248 – 82 against Bill C-233, the Sex Selective Abortion Act, as Poilievre left Wagantall and little girls who will be killed by sex selective abortion out to dry. 

Poilievre was asked in a video whether he agrees with New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs’s stance on Policy 713, and changes being made to the province’s policy on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. Poilievre in a press scrum said, “My message to Justin Trudeau is ‘butt out, and let provinces run schools and parents raise kids.’” While this sounds great to social conservatives, Poilievre’s actual stance on the issue is to defer to the provinces and let provinces decide. Poilievre says, “This is a provincial policy, I know that Justin Trudeau has butted into that.” Poilievre’s stance has been portrayed in mainstream media as much weaker than Trudeau’s stance on this issue. The statistics strongly support parental rights with 86% in Saskatchewan supporting some level of notification for parents when children want to change their gender identity in school.

Poilievre’s appointments, including Tony Clement, choice of leadership team and deputy leaders, and his stance on social conservative issues, leaves much to be desired from real conservatives. 

Conservative Party of Canada Disqualifications and Cancellations.

Richard Decaire, Jim Karahalios, Joseph Borgeault, Grant Abraham, Joel Etienne, Derek Sloan, Chani Aryeh Bain, Dr. Ann Gillies, Jotvinder Sodhi, Pastor Alex Pacis, Gerrit Van Dorland, and many others have been the victims of foul play, unfair disqualifications, caucus removals, or media cancellations by various characters within the Conservative Party of Canada.

The Hill Times reported in January 2018 that seven incumbent Conservative MPs faced nomination challenges, including Jim Eglinski, Cheryl Gallant, Mike Lake, Kellie Leitch, Deepak Obhrai, David Tilson, and Brad Trost. There was widespread speculation that the party’s leadership is behind at least some of those challenges, “which the party strongly denies.” Sadly, many of these MPs lost their jobs.

These disqualifications have disproportionately and negatively affected real, true-blue, old-tory, pro-life, pro-family, social-conservative Canadians. This is shameful, outrageous and unfair.

What Are Canadians Expecting at the CPC23 Convention?

CPC23 is a critical event shaping the party’s future direction and policies. It is eagerly anticipated by Canadians interested in the Conservative Party’s path forward.

While the Conservative Party of Canada has excelled in fundraising, positioning itself favorably for the 2025 election, it has unfortunately witnessed a decline in its moral and intellectual integrity when it comes to key issues, particularly the social ones which matter most to Canadians and future generations.

Is the Conservative Party of Canada going to behave like a grassroots party representing canadians? Or is the Conservative Party of Canada going to run its operations like a private elitist Animal Farm-esq mafia?

I am calling for reforms in the party nomination process and for a commitment to grassroots democracy and transparency. The Oxford by-election highlights the need for party nominations to be reformed. 

I hope this convention produces new national councillors who will fight for more openness and accountability in the fundamental democratic activity of nominating candidates to represent Canadians.

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