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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Division Over Tory Leader

Regional | by Peter Jackson  

Federal Conservatives divided over how their party's next leader should be chosen.

Federal Conservatives are divided over how their party's next leader should be chosen when it comes time for Stephen Harper to step down.

Ontario Tory MP Scott Reid wants riding associations with large memberships to have a louder say in the selection process.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay is concerned about Tory associations in Atlantic Canada and Quebec being pushed aside because they're typically smaller.

Huron-Bruce Conservative MP Ben Lobb believes such debates are what party conventions are for.

He says the gathering encourages spirited debate no matter which side of an issue delegates support.

Lobb favours staying the course on the leadership selection issue.

He says the Huron-Bruce Conservative riding association board is content to let the process remain the way it is.

At the same time he points out the association is willing to listen to whatever comes from the convention floor.

Lobb maintains the convention is an exercise in participatory democracy.

He believes delegates will vote their conscience on whatever issue is raised including the leadership selection process.

A petition circulated by Reid sends a proposed amendment to the party constitution to a floor vote this weekend.

The creation of the Conservative party in the 1990s was rooted in the equality of riding associations.

At that time the high number of Canadian Alliance members in western Canada was seen as a destabilizing force in party leadership races.


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