The Expositor, Brantford, March 29, 2003
Local Tories back Orchard
by Susan Gamble
A new voting system to determine the delegates for the Progressive
Conservative's spring leadership convention proved confusing to
local Tories this week.
Typically, a slate of delegates is presented to the meeting and
basically rubberstamped, said a long-time Tory, but Wednesday's
meeting involved a 2½ hour voting process to elect delegates
- one of whom can't vote for her chosen candidate.
"It is a weird way to do it," admitted Barbara Herron.
"A lot of people were not happy with it."
Herron said vote organizer Fred Minna called Ottawa several times
during the process, just to sort out some of the confusing instructions.
While most traditional Tories support Peter MacKay, the vote tipped
overwhelmingly toward David Orchard, a Saskatchewan farmer who's
While Orchard landed six delegates in the new voting system, MacKay
and Scott Brison - who visited Brantford recently - each got two.
"More than half of the people who put their names forward
as delegates were Peter MacKay supporters," said Herron, "and
Scott Brison had only one delegate running."
But when all the Tory members were given a vote, 60 per cent went
for Orchard, giving him six delegates.
Two youth delegates had to be fitted in and were given to Peter
Since only one delegate supported Brison, the rules called for
asking another delegate if they would vote for Brison in at least
the first round of voting.
Herron, a longtime Brantford Tory, agreed.
"I was disappointed. We had trouble making the long-term Tories
understand the need to come out and vote."
Normally, the local Tories have a tough time getting 10 delegates
to agree to go to the conventions because of expenses, said Herron.
This time, she continued, Orchard's organizers had signed up people
and got them out to vote at the meeting, which attracted about 40
"The same thing has been happening in other ridings. People
have been warning us."
One of the Orchard supporters who snagged a delegate position was
Claudia Hudson, who got a call from the politician Friday, asking
her to thank everyone for their support and hard work.
The voting system "can be a little confusing" said Hudson,
suggesting there may be some more changes made to the system by
the next time it's needed.
But, she added, the right man got the most delegates.
"David is the man if the Tories want to go forward. He's the
one attracting all the new members and many people are returning
to the party because of David."
Not only does the normally staid delegation selection meeting show
that the local Tories are alive and well, Hudson said the race is
shaping up to have some fun and excitement.