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Toronto Star, 24 October, 2003

An open letter to Peter MacKay
A veteran Progressive Conservative party MP writes to party Leader Peter MacKay about the proposed Tory-Canadian Alliance merger.

by Sinclair Stevens

Dear Peter:

I write to you in sorrow and disappointment. As you know, I voted for you on May 31, to be the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. I did so, partly influenced by your pamphlet, which was distributed at the convention.

You spoke of a new conservative course. You listed six priorities of the new conservative course and set out in detail your views on the economy, health, security, democracy, quality of life and justice. There was no mention of the Canadian Alliance party or their radical views.

You asked for support and stated, "Working together, we will create the momentum to get Canadians excited and involved in the Progressive Conservative party, and our ideas for a better Canada."

Little did I know your sellout of the PC party was already underway.

In your pamphlet was a picture of yourself and Don Mazankowski who stated he was "proud to support Peter MacKay." Under the picture there is a testimonial from Bill Davis in which Davis states you had "the kind of integrity that Canadians are longing to see in their leaders." Loyola Hearn is listed in the pamphlet along with other MPs and senators as supporters.

I was surprised, naturally, to learn after the convention that you had commenced discussions with the Alliance. I had forgotten about the corporate Canada factor in politics. When I learned that you had appointed three emissaries, Mazankowski, Davis and Hearn and, in the background, Brian Mulroney and Belinda Stronach, I realized the die was perhaps cast.

The directorships held by the group are impressive. Maz (as we used to call him) is a key figure in Power Corporation, including Great West Life and The Investors Group. Bill Davis is also on the Power Corporation and the Magna International boards; Mike Harris, often cited as a possible leader of the proposed new party, is also on the Magna board. Magna, of course, provides a link to Belinda. Mulroney is on the Barrick Board, Quebecor and various American corporations including being chairman of Forbes Global of Forbes Magazine.

Currently they are all corporate envoys and, as Stronach has said, corporate Canada wants to see conservatives united in one party. By that she means the PC party and the Alliance, as they are purportedly both conservative parties.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding here. The Alliance is not a conservative party; rather it is a radical party. A review of their constitution, priorities and principles confirms how radical they are.

First, let us remind ourselves what a conservative is. The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines it as being "averse to rapid change" as "moderate, avoiding extreme."

Radical is defined as "advocating thorough reform; holding extreme political views; revolutionary ..." In my opinion, that is the Alliance.

Let me give you examples:

In their current Declaration of Policy (May, 2002) they state, "We will introduce measures that allow citizens to initiate referenda. We will also seek the consensus of all Canadians through use of national referenda, both on issues having significant implications on Canadian society and on proposed changes to the country's constitution."

Again, on this theme in their statement of principles, they "support" the power of the citizens to recall elected representatives ... and "the power of the citizens directly to initiate legislation" and the power of the citizens directly to decide on matters of public policy by referendum ..."

They want the Senate elected. Peter, I do not want an elected Senate. I would prefer it be abolished. It is ridiculous to suggest our Senate (104 strong compared to 100 U.S. Senators) should now be elected to give them more power when we already have 301 elected MPs.

I do not want to follow the American example of referenda, citizens' initiatives and recalls. Surely, the fiasco in California shows the folly of this approach. Yet, Peter, you have, without authority, signed an agreement in principle that allows PC party members to be overwhelmed by Alliance members (who outnumber us 9 to 1) in a new party.

What is most disturbing is that the emissaries you appointed are corporate envoys, who have never read what the Alliance stands for.

With that background, Peter, you, without authority, have signed a document that:

Permits Alliance members to become members of the PC party so that they may vote by Dec. 12, 2003, to ratify the deal on our behalf. That is shameful.

Immediately establishes The Conservative Fund Trust for the purposes of raising money, retiring the debt of either Party, and funding activities related to the establishment and ratification of the Conservative party. That is in direct conflict to our PC Fund of Canada.

Cancels all our nomination meetings after Oct. 18, 2003 and freezes further nominations. With a federal election less than six months away, that is unbelievable. Worse, if I now renew my membership in the PC party I will "automatically become a member of the Conservative party." I don't want to be a member of such a party, dominated with radical Alliance members.

In many ways the Alliance Party is reflective of the National Citizen's Coalition - which Stephen Harper once led - that has taken a lot of money from their 40,000 members by promoting divisions in Canada regionally, demographically and racially.

I want no part of it. Canada does not need a party of division. The Progressive Conservative party is Canada's traditional nation-building party.

Peter, you have betrayed it.

Sinclair Stevens, minister of regional industrial expansion under Brian Mulroney, was an MP from 1972 to 1988.

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