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On The Issues

Jim Prentice: Notes for Nomination Speech

Click here to read Jim's speech from the Calgary North Centre Nomination Meeting on March 13.

Jim Prentice: Notes for Opening Remarks at the All-Candidates' Debate.

Click here to read Jim's 7-minute opening speech from the Calgary North Centre All Candidates' Debate on March 2.

Jim Prentice: Appoint a Special Prosecutor

Click here to see Jim's op-ed from the Calgary Herald that calls upon Prime Minister Paul Martin to appoint a Special Prosecutor to consider criminal charges in the Sponsorship Scandal.

Jim Prentice: Governance of the Conservative Party

Click here to see Jim's paper on the principles that the new Conservative Party should be governed by.

Jim Prentice: A Vision for Canada

A Prosperity Agenda

A vibrant, competitive economy is the foundation on which we build our quality of life. Job creation requires lower taxes, less red tape, and a business environment that encourages entrepreneurs.

  • Cut personal income taxes by 15% in the first mandate
  • Eliminate capital and capital gains taxes; reduce EI premiums
  • Pay down the debt by structuring it like a mortgage and making it a budget line item
  • Introduce a seven-point plan to reduce waste, increase accountability and make government smaller
  • Invest in a knowledge-based work force with limited tax credits for post-secondary tuition
  • Create a free trade agreement within Canada
  • Let provinces and territories manage and benefit from their own natural resources
  • Create a municipalities strategy that will address the challenges faced by Canadian cities
  • Focus on our competitive economic advantages, adopting pro-active business plans with the provinces and industry.

Canada’s International Sovereignty

Under the Liberals, Canada’s international influence has become marginal. If we do not strengthen our military and rebuild our international stature, our ability to act independently in the world and be a respected partner to our neighbour, the United States, will be threatened.

  • Restore integrity and professionalism to our diplomatic service
  • Support peacekeeping missions with appropriate equipment and personnel
  • Develop an independent intelligence gathering capacity
  • Rebuild the Canadian Forces: maintain a fully equipped and combat effective armed forces to safeguard Canadian sovereignty and protect Canadian interests abroad

Quality of life

Health care, education and the environment are how we measure quality of life. We should unabashedly strive to be the best in the world. Quality of life is the Canadian advantage.

  • Reshape federal finances to ensure that stable and predictable resources remain available for quality health care and post-secondary education
  • Reward efficient and effective service delivery in the funding formulas
  • Give provinces the flexibility to make choices and offer only sustainable services
  • Facilitate training in health care professions with federal post-secondary policies
  • Scrap the Kyoto Accord, ill-conceived, ineffective and punitive, and instead negotiate cooperative strategies for worldwide sustainable development
  • Scrap the costly and ineffective gun registry

Democratic Reform and Ethical Government

Canadians need to replace Paul Martin’s self-serving, tired, and arrogant Liberal government. A Conservative government will give Canadians more say in how their country is governed. Those same principles of grassroots democracy should also be practiced internally in the new Conservative Party.

  • Build consensus incrementally on specific constitutional issues including Triple E Senate, internal free trade, and management of offshore resources
  • Correct the fiscal imbalance, adjust equalization, and re-establish transparency and accountability to build a better partnership with provinces
  • Undertake aggressive Parliamentary reform to restore the authority of parliamentarians and officers and constrain the authority of the Prime Minister, including routine free votes, effective committees, an enforceable ethics code, parliamentary review of senior appointments, and a commission on electoral reform.
  • Replace the Ethics Counsellor with one who answers to Parliament and the Canadian people, and is not an employee of the Prime Minister.
  • Adopt and respect an internal party structure that allows decisions to flow from the individual member and riding association up to the governing bodies; and in which the Leader is the chief strategist and communicator, but respects the decisions of the membership.


Governance of the Conservative Party

Jim Prentice

 The Interim Council of the Conservative Party is currently drafting a party constitution to govern us until the party meets in convention. This document will guide us through founding meetings, nominations, and likely, the general election. It is one of the most important decisions of our new party.

 I have been fortunate to travel across our country over the last year, meeting with members from all parts of our conservative family. Through these meetings, I have heard consistently, regardless of whether or not they were Canadian Alliance or PC members, or conservatives who have stepped outside of politics over the past few years, that this interim Constitution must be founded on the bedrock principle of respect for the democratic process.

 The members of both former parties believed in this principle. The Canadian Alliance, and its predecessor the Reform Party, were founded because many Canadians felt that their views were not being represented to Ottawa, but instead Ottawa’s views were being sold to them. They wanted more tools of a democracy placed back in the hands of the individual voter.

 The Progressive Conservative Party made major changes to its internal governance in 1995. The centralization of power had left members feeling disconnected, so the membership made sweeping changes to the Constitution that made the riding association the pre-eminent decision-making body in the party, and provided elected party representatives with much of the authority previously held by the Leader or appointed officers and staff.

 Both parties hold those member and voter driven processes to be of utmost importance.

 To a person, I have heard that our interim constitution must enshrine those principles in word, in process and in fact. In my meetings in town halls, in borrowed offices, at Houses of Worship, I have heard that message over and over, and I agree.

 However – and perhaps most importantly – while members across the country understand the need for an interim document that is respectful of members to carry us through the next few months, they are also determined that as soon as possible, it is critical for the members to meet in convention to develop a truly member-driven constitution that is representative of the membership of our new conservative party.

 I have heard some of the following suggestions and I think they should be considered:

  •  The individual member is the ultimate decision-maker. While some decisions will be delegated up the line to committees and executives, for efficient governance, the membership must retain the right to review and change any decision. Most members are most comfortable exercising these rights and responsibilities within the framework of their local riding association, which is the pre-eminent structural unit of the party.

  • Amongst its other responsibilities, the riding association should be exclusively responsible for the selection of nominated candidates, and should determine the method of selecting the candidate (within reasonable parameters of fairness). For example, in some ridings a roving ballot box is more sensible than a centralized meeting. These are riding decisions.

  • The Leader should not be involved, formally or informally, in the selection of candidates. The Leader’s ultimate authority over candidates is the signing of official nomination papers, a veto provided by the Elections Act which should be exercised only with the consent of a majority of members of the national governing body.

  •  Riding Associations should be the core decision making body in the party. Ridings could, at their option, organize themselves into regional groupings for the purpose of sharing resources and ideas, acting jointly where that is beneficial, and providing a forum to debate and formulate advice on decisions that are being considered by other bodies in the party.

  •  The party should establish a permanent policy development committee, which is selected by the national governing body, with input from the Leader, the Caucus and the riding associations and/or regional councils. This committee will be responsible for ensuring that member-driven policy provides the basis for the party’s electoral platform.

  •  As in any organization, youth provide energy, enthusiasm and talent. Around the country I hear support for the Conservative party having a youth wing. Youth wings are important recruitment vehicles, and it is human nature that young people prefer to participate in activities with others of similar age. We should ensure, of course, that our youth members value the core principle of one member one vote.

 There are many other issues to be debated by the Interim Council, and reviewed at our convention. I believe these points form the foundations on which the Constitution should be built, and the principles that should guide specific decisions.

 Our party must be in a position to hold Paul Martin and the Liberals to account for the democratic deficit that has poisoned the relationship between voters and their government. We have an opportunity to demonstrate within our own new party how to bridge the gap between Canadians and those elected to positions of governance.  

  As both candidate and Member of Parliament for Calgary North Centre, I will be a strong voice within the Conservative Party championing the importance of membership-driven governance, the rights of ridings, and most importantly, I will fight to make the views of the Board and members of the Calgary North Centre riding association heard.



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