I Didn’t Leave the CPC; The CPC Left Me

As I drove home from Kerry Diotte’s election party in 2015, I remember listening to 630 CHED’s post-election coverage. I remember one caller who really drove a point home. He said that the Conservative Party would need to win over the hearts and minds of millennials if they hoped to win elections going forward. He suggested that there was only one way for the party to do so. He said that the Conservative Party would need to embrace libertarian values to attract millennial voters. The question was: How would they do this? The obvious heir apparent to Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, was a staunch conservative, but certainly not a libertarian. Other top potential candidates, such as Rona Ambrose and Peter MacKay had their moments, but were also not overtly libertarian.

When Maxime Bernier announced his candidacy for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, I knew we’d finally found our man. Max had spent his entire career promoting a very libertarian brand of conservatism. His vision of freedom, responsibility, fairness and respect was a vision that had incredible potential to attract young voters. His policies, including ending supply management, banning corporate welfare, eliminating the capital gains tax, cutting federal taxation brackets down to just two, dismantling the CRTC, privatizing the airports, and so many other great policies, were reminiscent of those that the Conservative Party was founded on, but had gotten away from. These were true free market policies, and these were policies that would greatly improve the lives and liberty of Canadians.

As with any candidate promoting such great changes, Bernier faced many special interest groups in his quest for leadership, primarily the ultra-wealthy members of the egg and dairy cartels. These cartels had to find their own candidate, and they settled for Andrew Scheer, an ultra-protectionist social conservative from Regina. They poured resources into his campaign, and another leadership candidate, Brad Trost, was happy to help recruit others who followed his and Scheer’s shared love of 1950’s social beliefs. The establishment of the CPC hopped on the Scheer train, and they rode it all the way to victory, all at a margin of less than 2%.

I was severely dismayed after witnessing the results of the leadership vote. Conservative Party members had been given the opportunity to completely transform Canadian politics. They had a chance to select a true free market conservative, and a man who truly believed in shrinking the size of government. Instead, they opted for an ultra-protectionist socon from Saskatchewan who, quite frankly, believes the exact same things as Justin Trudeau does when it comes to the size of govrnment. Scheer is another status quo politician who would continue to grow the size of government (especially with his archaic plan to police universities for “free speech” and punish the students at any university that some yet-to-be-revealed set of rules determines to not “promote free speech” by stripping those universities of all federal funding).

Despite my strong doubts about him, I promised friends within the CPC that I would give Scheer a chance. Already, just a couple weeks after the leadership vote, I have found that I was very wrong to have ever considered giving Andrew Scheer this chance.

As if my doubts about Scheer’s ridiculous policies (and preference for his ultra-wealthy cartel friends over average Canadians) weren’t bad enough, the dominoes just kept on falling. First, doubts were raised over the results of the leadership vote. Over 7,000 votes appeared out of thin air. Stunningly, this was very, very similar to the number of votes by which Scheer managed to win the leadership race. Despite plenty of evidence that something fishy was going on here, party elites and the establishment simply replied “Meh”. Scheer never spoke out to demand accountability or request a recount of the digital imprint of the ballots (the originals were destroyed immediately after the count, another questionable move in itself). This was a complete failure of “leadership”, and that wasn’t where it ended.

What finally pushed me to this point was a vote in the House of Commons the other day. Scheer’s whipped caucus voted nearly unanimously (the only exception being Ontario MP Cheryl Gallant) in favor of a Liberal motion in support of the ridiculous Paris Climate Accord. This “Accord” is a scheme that will rob Canadians of our tax dollars, damage our economy, and cost Canada as a whole billions upon billions of dollars, all in some attempt to lower the global temperature by 0.3C (I’m still unsure of how throwing tax dollars at the natural climate cycle is going to change the weather, but that’s none of my business). In voting “yea” on this motion, the Conservative Party abandoned residents of Alberta and Saskatchewan while throwing its own members and principles into the wind.

Given all of the above, there is absolutely no way that I can give my time, money or vote to Andrew Scheer’s status quo, sell-out Conservative Party. I won’t sell out my values for a man and a party that are happy to sell their own values to the highest bidder. Given all of the above, I have decided to find a new party to support.

The Libertarian Party of Canada is a small party with quickly growing support. Many disillusioned Bernier supporters have already decided to join the party, and after much consideration, I have decided to do the same. I will work to help grow this party and get a Libertarian candidate elected in 2019. Sure, the LPoC won’t win the 2019 election, or even one of the next three elections after that, but the LPoC is a party with principles. It’s a party that wants to smash the status quo. It’s a party that actually embraces many of my views, and even when it doesn’t, it defends my right to have opposing views.

When the Conservative Party refused to stand for the values of over 49% of final leadership election ballots, the Libertarian Party stepped up and assured that 49% that there is a home for us, and it certainly isn’t within the party led by the ultra-protectionist socon. I encourage all disillusioned CPC supporters to join me in the Libertarian Party and fight for our values. We believe in a truly free market. We believe in freedom, responsibility, fairness and respect. The Libertarian Party believes in these things too, and that is why they have adopted Maxime Bernier’s leadership platform as their platform heading into the 2019 election. The Conservative Party has made it loud and clear that they don’t believe in these things, so there’s only one choice from here: Let’s join the LPoC’s cause and work to elect MP’s who also believe in these things.

http://www.libertarian.ca/join

Conservative Party Leadership Review


We’ve hit the point in this leadership race in which the ballots have been mailed out, and many people have already received theirs. Some have even already sent theirs off. Judging by the tone on social media, there are only three candidates left in this race with any chance at winning it all. These candidates are Maxime Bernier, Erin O’Toole and Andrew Scheer. Below, I will explain my thoughts on these candidates, and which one I believe my friends and followers should support when they vote in this race. 

Maxime Bernier: Simply put – Maxime Bernier is the only candidate with any chance of winning in the 2019 election. His policies embrace freedom, liberty and smaller government. Maxime’s policy book is every conservative’s political Christmas list. From privatizing the CBC, to abolishing the CRTC (allowing more mobile providers to enter the Canadian marketplace), to ending supply management socialism (a Pierre Trudeau policy that monopolizes our egg and dairy industries behind ultra-wealthy cartels and forces Canadian consumers to pay two to three times the market rate for these products), Maxime Bernier is a true free market conservative. Maxime is extremely popular with young Canadians, a demographic that was absolutely key to Justin Trudeau’s victory in 2015, and if the Conservative Party has any hope of winning in 2019, they will need to win that demographic. Maxime is the only candidate capable of doing that. Alberta’s libertarian leaning MLA’s within the Wildrose Party have overwhelmingly embraced Maxime as their candidate of choice. If you favor lower taxes, more freedom, lower grocery prices and victory over Justin Trudeau in 2019, Maxime is the only candidate you should consider for your top vote.

 

Erin O’Toole: I like Erin. I was one of the very first people to suggest that he should be the next leader of the party. He cleaned up a Veterans Affairs Portfolio that had been left a disaster by his predecessor. His resume is the best of any of the candidates. Erin is ex-RCAF and he founded the True Patriot Love foundation upon his departure from active service. He has been endorsed by more sitting Conservative MP’s than any other candidate. For a very long time, Erin O’Toole was locked in as my number two, challenging Bernier for the top spot. The problem with Erin is that he’s a status-quo candidate, and status-quo will not bring the Conservative Party to victory in 2019. Furthermore, Erin decided half-way through this leadership race that he was going to build his entire campaign around protecting supply management socialism. It seems that, at the end of the day, Erin has chosen the side of his ultra-wealthy friends in the dairy industry over Canadian consumers who are struggling to pay their grocery bills. Erin will not be appearing on my ballot at all, and I encourage Conservative Party members to leave him off their ballots too.

 

Andrew Scheer: Andrew Scheer’s only real political accomplishment was being voted in as Speaker of the House. He has done very little for the Conservative Party, as he spent the entire term of the 2011 majority Conservative government in a non-partisan role. Make no mistake – Andrew Scheer and Brad Trost are flip sides of the same coin. Both are vehemently opposed to marijuana legalization, gay rights and abortion rights. Andrew Scheer as leader would drive a stake right through the heart of the Conservative Party. His outdated social views are certain to hurt the Conservative Party everywhere except Alberta and Saskatchewan. Furthermore, Scheer has adopted protectionist policies that echo the NDP. He wants more “origin of product” labeling and he supports Pierre Trudeau’s supply management socialism. Scheer wants to eliminate funding for educational institutions that do not adhere to his exact beliefs. Ultimately, the election of Andrew Scheer as Conservative Party leader would be a one-way ticket to third party status. The party would be lucky to win more than 30-50 seats in the 2019 election if we were to select Scheer as leader. My advice? Treat Andrew Scheer like the plague. Keep him far, far down your list, or off your ballot entirely.

 

Most importantly – make sure that you vote, and vote properly. Don’t forget to include a photocopy of your ID in your ballot envelope. Let’s get all 250,000+ ballots sent back to the party and counted. This isn’t just the future of the Conservative Party at stake. This is the future of Canada at stake.

 

Personal: Loss, Depression & Recovery

I wrote this on December 5th, while flying to Whitehorse from Vancouver. It was the first time I’d returned to Whitehorse since experiencing a very personal tragedy on January 27, 2016.

This is a story about love, loss, depression, how I nearly lost my everything, and how I recovered. Thank you for allowing me to tell this story.

How fitting is it that my final trip in my current role is one that sends me back to the Yukon? This return to Whitehorse is a bit of a pilgrimage for me. It was in that same place, 11 months ago, where I got the most devastating phone call I’d ever received. My dad called me, voice quivering, and told me that he had some bad news for me. We’d had concerns about his health for some time, so my instantly expected that he’d tell me he had cancer or some kind of other, beatable, condition. What he told me next shook my world: “My mom’s gone”.

Flashback to the evening of January 26, 2016. I’d just gone for a walk across a very frozen Whitehorse to have dinner at Boston Pizza, and had returned to my room at the Yukon Inn. My phone rang. I saw the name “Brenda Norris” and groaned. She always called to lecture me on something stupid I’d said online, and she never stopped talking once she got on the phone (I didn’t realize it until it was too late, but I truly valued these calls, and they made me a better person). Reluctantly, I answered the phone. She wished me a happy birthday. Caught up in my work on a large condo complex in the Yukon’s capital city, I had almost forgotten that my birthday was the following day. This call was a great call. My nan told me that she thought my parents were proud of the man I’d become. She said that she saw potential in me politically, even though we were polar opposites on the political spectrum. We also had a conversation about my great nan, her mother, who’d died on that same day 5 years earlier. She told me, “I miss my mom. I wish I could see her today”. Our last topic of conversation was my relationship with Meghan. She told me that it seemed to be about time that I seriously considered putting a ring on Meghan’s finger. Fittingly, when I finally did put one on her finger in September of this year, I used the $100 my nan gave me for that last birthday towards Meghan’s ring. Our call finished with my nan telling me she loved me. I rarely said it back, but on this night, I told her that I loved her too. Looking back, I’m so glad that those were the last words I said to her.

I’d lost family before, but never quite like this. When I lost my Grandma, my mother’s mother, I was too young to truly understand the gravity of the situation. I wasn’t old enough to have really grown as a human being. I didn’t remember much of the time I spent with her, because I was so young when I did spend that time with her. With my nan, it was different. We’d gone to so many Leafs and Blue Jays games together throughout the first 14 years of my life. She made every effort to come out and visit us in Alberta once we moved out west. She truly loved Jasper National Park – especially Maligne Lake. When my dad was away in camp at Suncor or CNRL, and I got in trouble at school, it was my nan who called me to scold me. When I was dealing with my worst bouts of depression, it was my nan who helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When I had a bad breakup (and I had quite a few of them), it was my nan who reassured me that I’d find someone better – and she was right. When I posted a photo gallery from my latest trip to Nunavut, or a long road trip that Meghan and I had taken, I was always assured countless notices on Facebook, informing me that my nan had commented on every last photo.

When I got off the phone with my dad on the morning of January 27, 2016, I didn’t know what to do. I called the one person who truly seemed to understand what my nan meant to me, perhaps even more than I did; I called Meghan. Sobbing, I told her what my dad had told me. She left work early that day to go spend time with my dad and my middle brother, Tyler. I couldn’t be there for my family, so the love of my life stepped up. My nan was right – I needed to put a ring on Meghan’s finger. My dad flew to Toronto that night. I had to finish my project in Whitehorse. I wiped away the tears and got back to work. That night, I went into Earl’s in Whitehorse. My waitress had a listening ear, so I told her about the events of that day. For my birthday, she gave me free dessert. For my loss, she filled me with beer. I wrote a long email to Earl’s head office commending this great waitress. I hope she found out about it.

When I finished work on January 28, I had the urge to do something good for someone I didn’t know. My nan was always a very charitable person. She had her Masters in Social Work, and spent much of her life helping others. I walked over to the grocery store, filled a cart with non-perishables, and dropped the whole lot in the Whitehorse Food Bank bin. I’m going to make this a tradition on my birthday every year, in my Nan’s honour. This year, I plan on sending a donation, in her name, to the True Patriot Love Foundation. My father left home for the military in his teens, and my nan “lost” her own father following his stint in World War II. It seems like the most fitting charity to which I can donate money on the one year anniversary of her passing.

I flew to Vancouver that Saturday, and then on to Toronto. My dad picked me up from the airport. That Sunday was one of the toughest days of my entire life. To see my nan in a wooden box in the funeral home shattered me. My aunt had guests over at her house following the memorial service to celebrate my Nan’s life, and it was truly beautiful. It warmed my heart (at least temporarily) to see so many people coming out to pay their respects. There was family I hadn’t seen in years. There were old family friends that I’d completely forgotten. There were people I’d never even met. All of us were gathered there for the same reason, and it helped us cope at the time. If there’s one positive that came out of the experience, I feel like it brought my father and I closer together.

My nan was married to a former member of the US Air Force. When she passed, we asked him what he wanted to do now. We knew he was better off returning to his hometown in South Carolina, where he could receive the care of the local VA, and thus we decided to bring him home. We drove through New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia before finally stopping at a Waffle House just north of the North Carolina border for a meal. Charlie (my Nan’s husband) had a clear look of sadness in his eyes throughout the trip, although I wasn’t entirely sure that he knew what was going on due to his refusal to take his medication. There was a moment in that Waffle House where it seemed that things finally clicked for Charlie. He looked up at my dad, and in a thick South Carolinian accent, he told my dad, “your ma’ sure loved Waffle House”. I’m not sure why this moment stood out so strongly in my mind, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. We dropped Charlie off in South Carolina and headed north through Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan before crossing the border from Detroit to Windsor. I believe that, at the end of the day, my dad and I will look back and see this trip, under these awful circumstances, as once of the most important moments in our father-son relationship.

I flew to Calgary for a charity event that following weekend. It kept me occupied, but once I was alone again, it was hard to keep my emotions completely hidden. Meghan could see that I was hurting. This went on for months. She told me that I seemed distant. Truth be told, I felt distant even in my own head. I was deep in another bout of depression, and this time, I didn’t have my nan to help me through it. I made a lot of mistakes during these months, and hurt people I cared about. All along, Meghan stuck by my side. This helped me to realize that I am so, so incredibly lucky to have her. I buried myself in political debate and work to get through this time, but it really didn’t help as much as I would’ve liked it to.

A lot has happened since I lost my nan on January 27. I moved into my first house. I got two dogs. I got engaged and started planning my wedding. I’m feeling better today, although this return to Whitehorse has my emotions feeling a little more fresh than they’ve felt in a while. I love Whitehorse, and I know my nan would’ve loved it too, and knowing that will likely help to ease these emotions in the long run. I miss my nan. I always took her for granted and never really got to tell her how much she truly meant to me, or how often she saved me from myself in my very worst moments. Perhaps what hurts the most is knowing that she’ll never see my house. She’ll never meet my dogs. She’ll never watch my reaction as I catch my first glimpses of Meghan in her wedding dress. These are things that I always pictured her being involved in.

This year has been tough, but I am a stronger person for it. I am a better person because I had my nan in my life for 25 years, pushing me in the right direction. She’s gone, but the memories I have of her will last a lifetime. It took a long time, but I’ve now accepted that. She was a pain in the ass at times, but she was our family’s pain in the ass, and I know I’m certainly not alone in feeling that way. We miss her. We’ll always miss her. That’s not ever going to change. I want to thank each and every person who has helped me get through this year, whether it’s my fiancée or just some random folks I’ve met through politics that have facilitated healthy debate.

If you’ve read this piece all the way to the end, I’d like to thank you too. You likely have experienced a loss of your own at one point or another, and my heart goes out to you on that loss.

“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”
– Brett Kissel

5 Predictions for 2017

The last time I made political predictions (for the 2015 federal election), I was spectacularly wrong. I said the Conservatives would be re-elected. I was wrong. I said the Conservatives would win all three Northern Territories. They didn’t even come close in any of them. I said the NDP would be decimated on the prairies. They actually picked up seats in Saskatchewan. I said the NDP would place third in Quebec. They placed second. I could continue, but I think you likely get the point.

In hopes of redeeming myself, here are 10 predictions for 2017.

1) Jason Kenney will win the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party on a landslide first ballot, winning close to 80% of votes. At respective special meetings, both the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative Parties will overwhelmingly vote in favor of a merger. Jason Kenney will win the leadership of the newly coined Conservative Party of Alberta in yet another landslide (this one over Brian Jean), partially thanks to support from the entire PC caucus and endorsements from a number of Wildrose MLA’s including Derek Fildebrandt.

2) Maxime Bernier will win the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada on the third ballot. Kevin O’Leary will embarrassingly fizzle out as he’s exposed for his overly liberal beliefs, not even staying in the race long enough to make it to the convention. Bernier’s support will be strongest in Quebec and on the Prairies.

3) Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann will resign from the Legislature once the party’s leadership race is complete. The new leader will go on to lose to the PC candidate in the Calgary – Mountain View byelection. Two NDP MLA’s will also resign, with both seats going to the opposition.

4) Donald Trump will approve Keystone XL, and Justin Trudeau will follow suit. This will lead to a large drop in Trudeau’s support in BC and Quebec whilst he gains some support in Ontario and on the Prairies.

5) Scandal will erupt in the House of Commons as the ethics commissioner releases a scathing report on Justin Trudeau’s cash-for-access events. This leads to another investigation, this one into the Trudeau Foundation, which will carry into 2018.

I’ll look back on this at the end of the year and see which ones I got right (or wrong).

RE: PC Alberta Ruling In Edmonton – Ellerslie

The ruling brought down by the PCAA last night is outrageous, disgraceful, and solid proof of the witch hunt being brought upon the Jason Kenney campaign and his supporters by the PC Alberta establishment.

It has been public knowledge for a week now that the Kenney campaign reached out to the party for clarification of the rules regarding where a candidate can be located in proximity to a delegate selection meeting. As it stands, the rules are about as solid as a wet strand of spaghetti. The party did not clarify these rules, and thus the Kenney campaign went ahead with plans to host a hospitality suite in the same building, but not the same room, as the DSM.

Knowing the above, I can at least tolerate the fine, even though I do believe it is unjust. However, the decision to invalidate the results of the DSM is an insult to party members and a complete affront to democracy. Party members, especially those who took their own personal time to attend the meeting and vote in a slate of 15 leadership delegates, are outraged, and rightfully so.

Most concerning, above all else, is the party president, Katherine O’Neill’s, involvement in this whole situation. It has been reported by multiple sources that O’Neill brought these complaints to representatives of other candidates and suggested that they file this with the CRO. Her presence in the complaint as a witness is equally concerning. This is a blatant display of bias, and it is grounds for O’Neill to be removed from her position as PC Alberta president. 

As an Albertan, I’m not overly surprised by this. The PCAA is what it always has been: A party run in back rooms, unaccountable to Albertans and to its own card-carrying members. As a PC Alberta member and as an elected leadership delegate, I am horrified by the party president’s interference in this leadership race.

While I do not work for any campaign, and my opinion in the grand scheme of things will only be represented in a single vote at the leadership convention, I will say this: My resolve to help Jason Kenney win this party’s leadership is only strengthened by this decision. I will be pushing each and every person I know in each riding awaiting its DSM to join the party and run as unity delegates. I owe this to every Albertan who has been hurt by this current NDP government and by the actions of the PC establishment who seeks to keep Albertans divided.

Trevor Norris
PC Alberta Leadership Delegate
Spruce Grove – St. Albert

Five Positives to a Donald Trump Presidency

I can’t stand Donald Trump. He’s taken his economic and foreign affairs policies straight out of the NDP policy book (anti-trade, pro-Russia). He’s spewed ignorant, bigoted rhetoric, and he’s simply not a conservative (he’s a lifelong liberal democrat).

That said, there are a couple of positives:

1) Trump has said that he will approve Keystone XL. This is great news for Alberta.

2) Trump will finally put an end to climate alarmism in America, and hopefully the world will join in.

3) Trump is the most pro-LGBT president-elect in history. Trump has long been a supporter of gay rights, unlike Obama, who opposed gay rights until after he was elected.

4) Maybe, just MAYBE, Trump’s election will finally end identity politics in America. Yes, the “Social Justice Warrior” left is fully responsible for the rise of the alt-right. These are two sides of the same coin.

5) Trump’s victory will allow the GOP to shape the SCOTUS for a generation, ensuring that constitutionalists, not socialists, make the most important decisions in America.

Comments on PCAA Leadership Race


I don’t doubt that Richard Starke and Byron Nelson care deeply for Alberta. I don’t doubt that both of them are good, well-intentioned men. However, their methods of doing what’s best for Alberta are severely flawed. To wish continued division for Alberta is not a path forward. It is not a path to recovery.

Alberta is hurting. Our economy is in a tailspin. Negotiations with the US on pipelines and our oil & gas sector have not gone well. Right now, we have both a Premier and a Prime Minister who refuse to put Albertans first. For them, ideology trumps all. This is making division in our province worse – possibly the worst I’ve ever seen it. We’ve seen what division has done to our neighbors in the south. Yesterday, they elected a man who can be considered nothing short of awful. Anyone who thinks that negotiations will go any better with the US under our current leadership once Trump takes office is severely misled.

Yes, last night’s American election results are a wake-up call, or at least they should be. We cannot continue this division between the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties. Last night should send a message to all Albertans – it’s time to unite. Only under a strong and free, united Alberta, can we turn this ship around.
I encourage all Albertans, but particularly PCAA members and former MLA’s, to support the unity movement. No, I’m not calling for Starke or Nelson to drop out, and I’m not calling for them to endorse Jason Kenney. I encourage them to shift to a unity platform of their own. This is what the members of the PCAA want. Polling has been quite clear on that. If all three of our candidates fight for unity, we can not lose. Our province can not lose.

Let us end this division, and let us Unite Alberta behind one big tent united conservative coalition. If we do this, anything is possible for Alberta, and we will once again be the envy of an entire nation.