Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I am one of the 33.1%

If John Tory is looking for where to begin in his attempt to win back the support of the Party, he need look no further... he can start right here, with me.

I was one of the 433 members who, despite all their concerted efforts, despite all their stage managing of the whole event to ensure their victory, and despite their use of every Party resource available to them in their attempt to hang on to the reigns, still voted for a leadership review.

Here's a quick summary of what I saw this weekend... in the week before the vote, I got three official letters from the Party, basically begging me not to support a review. Then when I got there, I saw a major machine, with lots of the Party brass and organizers, working hard to ensure their victory. I saw major investments of time, energy, and Party resources, trying to secure the delegates against a review. I saw a lot of ignorance of what was really going on, and even saw several people, mostly older folks, interestingly enough, trying to prevent any other voices from being heard. I saw the Leader given the opportunity to speak to all the delegates in their regional breakfasts, with no chance for anyone from the YES side to offer a different perspective. I even saw one older lady walk up to a young YES supporter, with a torn up piece of YES literature and throw it at him, angry at the very suggestion that "her leader" should be questioned. I saw NO supporters seeking to stiffle differing opinions by gathering up our liturature, and attempting to hide it, while we showed them only respect. I saw the NO team use every advantage available to them via their official Party status, and used their privilaged access to manipulate delegates by putting their literature, suggesting that the Ontario Liberals supported a leadership review, on each and every table in the ballroom right before lunch... while YES supporters were barred from entering the room and placing their liturature on the tables. (oh, you guys actually thought that we didn't clue into that little trick?) I saw them rig the agenda, so Mr. Tory gave his speech immediately prior to the vote, while the opportunity to question the leader from the floor was scheduled AFTER the voting had taken place. And I saw one region, Toronto, once again seeking to impose their will on the rest of the Party membership. All in all, it was a pretty disgusting scene.

Despite all that, a full 33.1% chose to call for a leadership review. That may not sound like a lot, but I'd like you to consider who does, and more importantly, who is NOT, included in those numbers. From my view on the ground at the convention, there were two groups, two significant groups, who supported Tory's NO side. The thing is, it's these very same two groups who have been, in my opinion, the main problem in the Party for some time now. It's also my opinion that these individuals are the very same ones who's views and opinions cost us the election back in October. Via their "stacking of the deck", as you might call it, this weekend, they served to only reinforce the views of most of the grassroots that this Party no longer represents our views.

Just who are these two groups, you ask? Well, first of all, you have the current folks running the Party, many of whom recieved automatic delegate status. The second group, who I think ended up swaying things the most this weekend, were the Toronto delegates... the so-called "Toronto Tories for Tory", as their buttons identified them.

Just stop and think about these two groups for just a second. Firstly, the Party apperatus that were automatic delegates, well, many of them were the same folks who were working for and with Mr. Tory's disasterous election campaign last year. And the second group, the "Toronto Tories", well, they're the folks who keep on demanding a more "moderate" platform in an effort to secure votes in Toronto.

Well, here's a bit of a shocking newsflash... there is a world, and a whole lot of seats, outside of the GTA folks. Your views aren't winning us any support outside of the "Centre of the Universe", nor did they even manage to win us a single seat in the entire 416. Meanwhile, the overwhelming number of Toronto delegates were in support of the NO side, against having a leadership review.

So, here's the thing... if you take these two core groups out of the numbers, what would things have looked like? My best guess, is that the numbers would have been almost reversed.

The VAST majority of people I met from outside of the GTA were supportive of a leadership review. These are the folks who live in ridings where our traditional base lives... the people who didn't bother to show up at the polls last October.

The problem is, and let's face it folks, the "grassroots" are no longer with Tory. I can't personally say that I'm against Tory... the fact of the matter is, he's still the best guy I know of for the job. But by snubbing them this weekend, and refusing to heed the call for a review, he did EXACTLY what the grassroots have been accusing him and his team of doing for so long... refusing to listen to the folks who form the core of the Ontatio PC Party.

There's one example from this weekend that will stick with me for a long time, that embodies the exact kind of arrogance and ignorance that I'm talking about... I wish I'd looked closer at his name tag. He was a gentleman in his sixties, maybe early seventies, and for some reason, I got the impression he was from the GTA. (I don't recall what riding he was from) Well, for the sake of argument, I'll call him "Sinclair", after good old Sinclair Stevens, the good old boy who refused to move on when the two Federal parties merged in 2003. As myself and another YES delegate were talking and handing out literature on the convention floor, he and his wife walked up to us and said, point blank, "I just want you guys to realize that if you win, we're gone." We asked him to clarify what he meant by that, and he reiterated, that if the YES side won, he and his wife "are finished with the Party." And then, get this, he accused us, ACCUSED ME, of being anti-Christian and anti-Semetic for supporting the YES side!!! They walk away, and we just look at each other, completely stunned and what's just happened. So, anyway, being the consiliatory kind of person that I am, and to listen to what exactly his concerns were, I went off after him to ask him why he thought that. Totally honest, I wasn't being at all confrontational, I was letting him do all the talking. Anyway, I asked him why he felt that way, and he looks me in the eye, and says, "Excuse me, but... PUFF OFF!!!" (no kidding, that's exactly what he said) We're surrounded by dozens of people, and I try to explain to him who I am, and that I'm a devout Christian and strong supporter of Israel and the Jewish people, and he's screaming at me, "THAT'S B... S...!!! B... S...!!! B... S...!!!", and then just storms off into the crowd.

Reminded me of a saying... "The adult mind is a lot like concrete... all mixed up and firmly set."

Anyway, that gentleman epitomizes the problems that exist within the Ontario PC Party, and why Mr. Tory's rejection of a leadership review has already doomed us in the next election. Those in power, and who "won" the vote on Saturday, have chosen to ignore the will of a great number of the grassroots. Mr. Tory, in his speech right before the vote, promised to listen to the grassroots in rebuilding the Party. He then promptly rejected their strong suggestion that he undergo a leadership review. One in which, quite frankly, I expected he would run in, and could very well win... IF he was able to win back the grassroot members that he and his supporters have so aptly alienated over this last year.

A week before the vote, I got a personal phone call from Mr. Tory. I missed the call, but he left a message, in which he asked me if I had any concerns that I would like to address with him before the convention. Well, here's my suggestion... start working that phone list again, Mr. Tory. That very same list, and keep working it, personally, until you speak to each and every one of those people in person. Obviously, I'll be one of those names, and I'll give you my thoughts on what you need to do to win back the Party... because many of us are not with you right now.

I'll give you an example of what you're facing... my own wife, a strong and hard-core conservative, didn't vote for you in the last election. If you can't win her back, I don't think you have a hope in 2011. And as of this moment, even though you had my vote in October, you wouldn't have it if the election were held tomorrow. Good thing is though, you've got almost three years to win us back... so get cracking.

If our 33.1% is not heeded and won back before the election, you may be able to claw back a few more seats, but you won't be able to win the next election. If the 33.1% of your dedicated volunteers, fundraisers, and supporters remain ignored, they'll either sit on their hands or actively work against you in the next election, and you'll be finished, once and for all.

I'm getting a little deja vu here. Folks, it's 1993 all over again... and it's the same guy, doing exactly the same things, and running us into the ground, no less.

It's time to get to work, Mr. Tory. I'm waiting for the phone to ring.

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  • At Mon Feb 25, 02:16:00 p.m. EST, Blogger Joanne (True Blue) said…

    Wow, great post! It doesn't sound like a very democratic and respectful process.

    I can't believe that guy accusing you of being anti-Christian!

  • At Mon Feb 25, 02:37:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was there too, I saw you walking around, and I agree with you 100%!

    I even saw a 6 foot+ athletic pro-tory activist, physically threaten a teenage 90 pound bespectacled fellow who was handing out Yes flyers.

    I couldn't believe what I saw. Instead of attending training and policy development meetings I spent the whole weekend in backrooms fighting party lawyers and executives who were trying to prevent people from voting.

    Congrats Tory, you won the leadership but lost the party.

    BTW: the game was equally stacked in the executive election race.

  • At Mon Feb 25, 03:39:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was there too. A couple NO goons tried the intimidation routine with me.

    Wrong person to pick on boys. I am not trying to climb the party ladder. I don't need someone's money, I don't need someone's favours, I don't need someone's influence peddling. I am not for sale.

    I have nothing to lose.
    I voted my conscience.
    I voted YES.

  • At Mon Feb 25, 03:43:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nicely worded! I would support you in a run for office.

    I was also at the AGM, but was denied as a delegate and had to turn around a leave. There were some weaslely politics going on and I believe that John Tory was aware of it. I tried to register at 4:00 on Friday and had to wait until 11:20am on Saturday to get a decision from the Credential Chair. In the end, I wasted a lot of time and money trying to get involved in the democratic process. I believe that the NO side parachuted in a large number of supporters (many of whom appreared to come from the Church Street area of Toronto) to win the leadership review vote.

    It's time to get rid of these Red Tories and get back to some Common Sense!

  • At Mon Feb 25, 07:13:00 p.m. EST, Blogger Joanne (True Blue) said…

    Yikes. After reading all this I may have to break my promise about not slagging Tory anymore.

  • At Mon Feb 25, 07:21:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yep, suspicious how the caterer told me that they ran out of food and seats because 400 more people showed up which they weren't told about...

  • At Mon Feb 25, 07:41:00 p.m. EST, Blogger Jason Cherniak said…

    I really don't understand you. You talk about the strong message that the grassroots want a review, yet the strong message was 2-1 against a review.

    I think what you really mean to say is that Tory should accept that while he has the support of Ontario PCs, he does not have the support of ridings that elected PC members.

    If you want to argue that PCs in seats you didn't win should make the final decision, then go right ahead. I hope you realize that it's not a very democratic argument, though.

  • At Mon Feb 25, 08:24:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm not sure what kind of math you are using - but a 2 to 1 margin in voting by the biggest delegate convention held while in opposition, is pretty strong support from all the province. Including myself, a true "grassroots" volunteer in a rural riding.

  • At Mon Feb 25, 09:35:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Woman who supported a leadership review attacking Tory supporters:

    The people who supported a review put their literature on the tables prior to Tory's speech, while pro-Tory delegates were not allowed to enter.

  • At Mon Feb 25, 09:47:00 p.m. EST, Blogger Eric said…

    Geoff and Jason:

    He's arguing that despite the intimidation and tactics used by the PC party to 'convince' people to change their votes or deny them the vote that he still only managed a 67% in support of his leadership.

    I won't be voting Tory next provincial election unless something major changes. Last time I sat on my hands, next time I'll find a more worthy candidate.

  • At Mon Feb 25, 10:17:00 p.m. EST, Blogger William Joseph said…

    To Anonymous that said the pro-review people had literature on tables prior to his speech while pro-Tory people were not allowed to enter... that isn't quite true.

    I personally put the "vote yes" literature on probably 50% of the tables myself. As soon as the doors opened up for everyone to enter I started to do this. There was already at least 1 piece of pro-Tory literature on each table when I entered the room (it was something about how the Liberals wanted us to vote yes).

    It certainly seemed to me this was already in the room before the doors were opened up to everyone else, but maybe the no supporters were just really quick, or maybe even there was some door that was open that I wasn't aware of.

  • At Mon Feb 25, 11:03:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "BTW: the game was equally stacked in the executive election race."

    This is true, but we showed the power of the grassroots against the establishment. Rob Elliott defeated the establishment candidate. To my mind Rob is the main voice for the 37%.

  • At Mon Feb 25, 11:04:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sorry typo make that 31%

  • At Tue Feb 26, 07:32:00 a.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Delegates are not the real grassroots.

    Probably only 45-55% of the actual members support him.

    I know in my riding it is impossible for us to win under him. My members hate him. I'm faced with the decision of working my ass of for Tory on my local board for the next 4 years just so I can lose, or resign and spend more time with my newborn daughter.

    Not a tough decision and I expect that there are hundreds of riding association board members across Ontario who are thinking just like me.

  • At Tue Feb 26, 08:24:00 a.m. EST, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Anon@9:35, be careful about what facts you convienently leave out, cause they'll always come back to bite you.

    I was there with the young YES guy who was putting out some YES liturature ALONGSIDE the already present NO flyers... you recall, the ones that were created to look like they came from the Liberals, and supported our YES side. So don't try playing innocent and claiming your people weren't allowed in there. Besides, remember I mentioned that older lady who tore up our flyer and threw it in that young guys face? Yea, that was just prior to the speech too.

    Second of all, as for your little video clip, you forgot to mention how that happened... that lady's husband was talking to the media, answering their questions, when some of the young NO delegates decided it was a good idea to come over and TAUNT them... a real class act guys. Of course emotions were running high, those kids just decided to push their buttons... looks like that lady pushed back. (not condoning her response... for the record, I groaned and said "That's the clip the media's going to run with...")

  • At Tue Feb 26, 05:53:00 p.m. EST, Blogger Unknown said…

    "I saw them rig the agenda, so Mr. Tory gave his speech immediately prior to the vote, while the opportunity to question the leader from the floor was scheduled AFTER the voting had taken place."

    To be fair, this is what Harper did in 2005 and no one seemed to have a problem with it then, including a lot of the Yes campaigners.

    It really intrigues me how many *strongly* Christian PCs are suddenly backing Tory. One youth delegate from my riding wrote a blog post calling Tory a baby killer about a year ago, but was against a leadership review last weekend.

    I'd definitely like to hear the story behind that one.

  • At Wed Mar 05, 11:43:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At Thu Mar 06, 08:00:00 a.m. EST, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Anon, your posting on immigration was pretty racist and disgusting, so I elminiated it.

    And for the record... I'M AN IMMIGRANT YOU MORON!!!


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