Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Monday, December 7, 2009

Event Blogging the Free Speech and Liberty Symposium Prospects for Political Action

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

Randy Hillier and Brad Trost

Randy Hillier (sorry don't have bio)

Brad Trost is the Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Humboldt in east central Saskatchewan. Prior to his election, Brad worked as an exploration Geophysicist, having graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with Bachelor degrees in Geophysics and Economics.

Hillier starts:

Prospects for Political Action, there is tremendous, unlimited potential.

You have to understand our marketplace. Our free-market conservatives are not silver spoon teacup people. They are motivated by productivity and objectives. They are not into abstracts but clear objectives.

To take them away from their work you must demonstrate that there is value in it for them. Then they will be engaged. Look at the NCC, Lanark Landowners Association, and Ontario Landowners Association. People felt they belonged and were productive.

C-68 is an example of a situation where socons took control and ownership of an issue.

As conservatives or classical liberals the prospects are many and many people will be happy to get involved.

As conservatives we need to be mindful of political correctness stifling speech. I have said many things that people said should not be said. If you can justify it, you can say it. If you swim against the PC stream you need to have a tough skin. But conservatives have tough skin, it is the other guys who have thin skin and get offended.

We can't be afraid of being Conservatives

Trost begins:

He read an article about what influences most politicians:

Numbers are important

They would rather have friends than enemies

They want to keep their job

They are safe as long as no one finds out what they are doing.

You don't often find philosopher kings who sit down and say what is best for the country.

Now people who come to these conferences are more ideology driven. What drives some people nuts is the difficulty of getting things done.

Things are difficult right now because

We have a minority government. Essentially we are ruling in 3 month terms because of confidence votes, so we have a very short political attention span.

There are however politicians and people interested in these issues, mostly Conservative backbenchers but also others.

So what is the carrot and the stick for other politicians?

The long gun registry was passed in 1995. Who thought that it would be politically unpopular? Many people supported it who would be embarrassed to say so now.

The opposition to it is something that grew over time. It is now looking very possible we may get rid of the registry.

One person really championed that this was wrong and kept bringing it up. Grassroots began to form groups. They started to make allies with people who might not be natural allies. Soccer Moms in cities started to oppose it because of the cost.

People are busy. They have to take junior to soccer, the in-laws are coming. They have to see where they are being affected.

The Art of Being Realistic. Some people want to add lots of other things to bill that may not be realistic although these demands can be used as wedge to get other things done.

Q and A

Q1 These comments were sometimes focused on fighting policy with policy. There are so many policies, it is a way to get nowhere. Should we focus on setting down principles so we don't have to fight every issue. How well does public consultation work? Are their fundamental flaws in the system?

A1 Hillier speaking for PCs Public consultations are a facade and a sham. You might as well stay home. The decisions are already made. It is just to pacify people and make them believe they have a voice. As for deliberations afterwards, they require knowledge that politicians just don't have. Politicians respond to political power and voting blocks. I agree that we need to start fighting on principles not just issues.
Trost has a similar experience. It is the moulding of public opinion that counts. We have a Westminister style government but are moving towards a Presidential style. Right now we have an odd hybrid that is not as good as either.

Q2 At the riding level is there any point working with and helping politicians in their riding. Trying to mold the politicians, work on their campaigns. People seem to be saying that headquarters is just sending down messages to MP/MPPs to just be warm and fuzzy and agree with the leaders.

A2 I would say is beneficial. not everyone who runs for public office has carefully thought out positions on issues. You can't separate principles from practical application. You can help those people with loose ideas, help them solidify their ideas. Even headquarters looks for sounding boards and ideas from MPs.
Hillier: Short answer is yes, be involved. There is a disempowerment of backbenchers and people in general in society. Demonstrate that there is value in the relationship between constituants, riding associations, and MPs/MPPs, this will help backbenchers regain their power.

Q3 Mr. Trost you said we need a champion, will you be it?

A3 There are about 5 MPs who are into this issue. MPs have only so much political capital that they can spend in only so many directions. He hasn't decided to make this number one but some others may.

Q4 Have been involved in political campaigns. If you are frustrated should stay on advocacy side.

A4 From Ben-Ami (the questioner) is involved in good work particularly on municipal which is often neglected.
Hillier: Not one or the other

Q5 Are we being stifled by niceness, Hillier stretched all the boundaries, would he suggest others do so?

A5 It is not for everyone. Some people are afraid of stretching boundaries. Politics is not about being nice. It would be nice to change things by just having nice discourse but it won't happen. You need to stretch the boundaries to make those changes that you believe in your heart are necessary for this country.

Q6 There are no lost causes. Be patient, we are conservatives, it might happen. Even the Abyssinian empire might come back

Q7 Has come here mostly about freedom of conscience Are there any political movements afoot about this right for doctors?

A7 Yes, and this is being worked on.
Hillier is not aware of specific groups. He did campaign on this issue. If you need to find an association to champion something that is dear to you. Look in the mirror and you will find the leader of it.

1 comment:

  1. Splendid ideas, I have been wondering how to start writing my speech which is due in next month, thanks for that complete resource. I will be looking forward for more interesting things.

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