Conservative Party of Canada National Convention
Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservative Party of Canada decided on June 22nd to postpone their national party convention until the fall, after host city Calgary experienced historic flooding. The convention was scheduled to be held June 27-29 in Calgary, at the Telus Convention Centre. However, heavy rains led to flooding of historic proportions, with many areas of Calgary evacuated including the downtown area which was under water and without power at the time of the Conservative Party’s announcement.
The party intended to wait through the weekend, and give their final decision about the convention on Monday June 24, but the situation remained so dire in Calgary that they made their postponement announcement early. Over 2,000 delegates were going to attend the three-day convention. Conservative party organizers are committed to still having the convention in Calgary; it would have been the first time the city would have hosted the event. The date for the rescheduled convention remains uncertain, and will be determined at a later time.
Conservative Party president John Walsh made the announcement on Saturday June 22; “After being in discussions with various authorities regarding the situation, it became clear that holding the national convention at this time would not be in the best interests of the people of Calgary. At this time the focus needs to be on the safety of Calgarians and a convention our size with the security it entails could mean taking first responders away from the work they are doing,” said Walsh.
Harper intended to use the convention as a reset for the second half of his term. The prime minister was scheduled to give an important speech to the party on Thursday evening, June 27. He hoped it would rally the party base, get his legislation agenda on track for the fall session, while looking towards the 2015 election, after a session embroiled in scandal. The official gathering is the party’s main policy decision making convention, and is held every two years.
Calgary Centre MP Michelle Rempel, who also serves as the chair of the convention’s host committee, stated in a press release that the main focus for Conservative Party was what was best for Calgary, not the convention. Rempel wrote that the priority on recovery fueled their decision to postpone the convention; “Our main concern is for the safety and security of everyone affected. There are neighbourhoods under water, so there is a lot of work we have to do to rebuild. Postponing the convention is the right thing to do for the people of Calgary.”
Harper will have to wait until the fall for the chance again to bring his party together. He still intends to reshuffle his cabinet over the summer, and has an opportunity to give a major policy address early in the fall when he gives the Throne Speech to parliament.
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are US, Canadian & International politics.