PCs debate policy

Nursing a leadership debate hangover, Alberta’s PCs took to the convention floor to discuss policy

Still nursing a leadership debate hangover, Progressive Conservatives took to the policy convention floor to put a cap on their weekend meeting on Sunday.

Though much of the policy proposals were far from controversial — supporting economic growth through regulatory certainty and a competitive tax regime, advocating for market access for the energy sector and striving for the highest performing universal health system in the world — some issues drew spirited discussion.

A motion supporting nuclear energy drew a lengthy vote count Sunday morning at the Red Deer Sheraton Hotel. The end result was a party in favour of nuclear power as an alternative energy.

Members emphatically declined to debate on an issue of protecting parental rights in terms of education. Though on the policy proposal package, it was withdrawn late Saturday night and then, after brief mention during the policy debate, it was shouted down by the members.

PCs from across the province descended on Red Deer for a weekend policy convention and leadership debate.

The leadership candidates took centre stage the night before, trading barbs over uniting the right and the future of the PC Party.

In that debate, it was Calgary lawyer and leadership candidate Byron Nelson who said the contest needs to be about ideas.

Saturday morning, Jason Kenney, one of the leadership candidates, bused in a number of supporters. Those supporters defeated a motion that would have accepted a carbon tax, in principle, if it were revenue neutral.

The move drew the ire of some leadership opponents, including Stephen Khan, who announced his candidacy on Friday.

“We’ve talked about the delegate system for a long time,” said Khan. “We found out exactly what was going to happen. It’s a wake-up call and a call to arms for PCs who share our values.”

The change in how the PC makes decisions came to the forefront this weekend. When they go to vote for their new leader, they will not operate under the one member one vote model, but instead function through delegates.

Under the new system, each electoral district will elect delegates to attend the leadership convention and vote for a new leader.

“It’s been a while since we had the delegate system in place,” said Khan. “In a delegate system we all want to be everybody’s first choice, but we need to be everyone’s second choice. By the nature of the delegate system there is going to be a level of collaboration between the candidates.”

Other leadership include Richard Starke, Sandra Jansen and Donna Kennedy-Glans. The PCs will choose their next leader at their March 18, 2017 convention in Calgary.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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