Today, however, I have a much narrower focus - with apologies to the rest of you.
Today, I'm going to talk only to the 487,031 of you who visit this site from locations in the Federal Electoral District of Calgary West (the numbers might be a little off - SiteMeter's been giving me problems).
More specifically, I want to have a word with those of you who LIVE in Calgary West, and are (or were, as of December 2008) members of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Not that this is a very well-kept secret, but you've all got a meeting to attend next Saturday, March the 28th.
"E.S.," you say, "I can't in good conscience lay down ten hard-earned dollars to support the CPC in my riding... look who my CANDIDATE is!".
And to you, I say... that is precisely WHY you have to go to this meeting.
The reality of Calgary West is that it will vote for the Conservative Party candidate, and handily elect them, whenever the opportunity presents itself. There is incredible support in the riding for the party. No matter WHOM is running under the party banner, or whom is running AGAINST them, the Conservative Party candidate will carry the day. Calgary West is, at its core, a small-c conservative and big-c Conservative riding. They're not interested in supporting Liberals, New Democrats, or any of their proxies. With this in mind, then, it's clear that the most important decision-making body in Calgary West is the Conservative Party of Canada Calgary West Electoral District Association.
They're the most important, because they set the rules governing the local CPC nomination race. The winner of that race becomes the Conservative flag-bearer in Calgary West - and, as result, the Member of Parliament. The 30-or-so members of the Calgary West EDA essentially get to set the rules that determine who the M.P. will be.
And on Saturday, March the 28th at 2 pm, the assembled members of the Conservative Party of Canada who reside in Calgary West will elect that board. The board that will go on to set nomination rules that will determine the Conservative Party candidate for the election that most agree will be less than a year from now.
The nomination itself is very much in flux at this point in time. Depending on who you ask, there may not even BE a race, as the Conservative Party seems fixated on protecting incumbent M.P.'s, including the one in Calgary West, from having to fight nomination battles. The reason we're given, which seems valid enough, is that in the minority parliament, M.P.'s need to be in Ottawa casting votes to keep the government in office, rather than in their ridings fighting nomination battles. A lot of the old Reform party members, the true believers in grassroots, bottom-up democracy, have a bit of a hard time swallowing this reasoning, though. And they're not the only ones.
Donna Kennedy-Glans met her husband at the Progressive Conservative National Convention in 1981. You read that right, "Progressive Conservative", not "Liberal", as some have accused her of being. She's been involved in federal big-c Conservative politics since Rob Anders was about 8 years old (and, thus, one can reasonably assume that if either of the 2 could be called a "recent" convert to the Conservative cause, it would have to be young Mr. Anders, unless he held a membership while gestating).
Kennedy-Glans made headlines during the last federal election, when she revealed the contents of a discussion that she and another gentleman had had with Anders over a dinner that was won through a charity auction. Anders has declared that, as Kennedy-Glans released information that hurt HIM, she was clearly working to sabotage the entire Conservative Party, and is thus obviously a Liberal saboteur (Rob, you'll recall, uses "Liberal" the same way McCarthy used "Communist" - it's a euphemism for "someone I don't like, and you shouldn't like them either because I know what's best for you" - not that Rob has shied away from calling people "Communist", either).
Now, having had enough of the notion that her sacred democratic franchise is in the hands of Rob Anders, to do with as he pleases without the input of the constituents of Calgary West or even the formal blessings of the riding's Conservative Party members through a nomination vote, Donna Kennedy-Glans has decided she wants to stand for nomination for the Conservative Party of Canada in the riding of Calgary West.
Kennedy-Glans wants to represent Calgary West in Parliament.
As a Conservative.
Which she's been since long before Anders even started embarrassing his own country as a paid Republican hit-man in senate races.
The current CPC Calgary West EDA Board of Directors, as elected by the party's members in the riding, is more inclined to protect Anders' incumbency and NOT HOLD a nomination race than they are to let the party membership decide on whom should be carrying their banner (and, let's be honest, getting elected in the General Election).
So... Kennedy-Glans, like hundreds of successful politicians before her (and some not-so-successful), wants to get some people elected to the EDA's Board of Directors who are friendly to her - or at least open to the idea of an open nomination process - and will present a slate of candidates for Board membership at the Annual General Meeting of the Calgary West EDA on Saturday, March 28th at 2 pm.
How can YOU affect the results?
Easy... show up, and vote for a Board of Directors that shares your views on the democratic process.
MY view? Democracy is a pain in the butt. It's inconvenient. It's inefficient to have incumbents face challenges for nominations. And it is absolutely, 100% critical that it take place anyhow. On a party level - if you can't even cast a vote to say who you'd like representing your party in your riding during the election, why on earth would you want to be a member of that party in the first place? On a larger level - why on earth would we want to be governed by a party that doesn't even value the opinions of its own members - despite the populist movement that gave birth to the party in the first place?
You have the opportunity, Calgary West CPC members, to elect an EDA Board of Directors that values your opinion, and feels it should be heeded. Don't let that opportunity slip by.
"But E.S., I don't have a party membership, can I buy one at the door
No, you can't. You can buy one at the door and LISTEN, or even participate in discussion, but to vote at the AGM you have to have been a member of the Conservative Party of Canada, resident in Calgary West, no later than March 8th, 2009.
"What if I had a 2008 membership, but haven't renewed?"
DO it - the CPC has a 90-day "grace" period for lapsed memberships - so if you had a party membership that lapsed on December 31st 2008, you can still vote at the AGM. Contact the Conservative Party Membership Services Department in Ottawa, at 1-866-808-8407 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Calgary West's Annual General Meeting for the purpose of electing a new board of directors, a report by the current board of directors and the presentation of financial statements will be held on:
Saturday, March 28 at 2pm at the Montgomery Community Centre, located at: 5003 16 Avenue NW.
Your membership must be in good standing, at least 21 days prior to March 28, 2009 for you to appear on the list of members eligible to vote for the new board of directors.
You will need to bring photo identification that verifies you are on the voting members list, and may be required to present further identification proving you currently reside within the electoral district boundaries of Calgary West.
If you have any questions you may contact Calgary West's Vice President of Communications at 403-608-8858.