Notes for Nomination Speech
Click here to read Jim's speech from the Calgary North Centre
Nomination Meeting on March 13.
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.
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.
the Conservative Party
Click here to see Jim's paper
on the principles that the new Conservative Party should be governed
Jim Prentice: A Vision for Canada
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
- 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
- Reward efficient and effective service delivery in the funding
- Give provinces the flexibility to make choices and offer
only sustainable services
- Facilitate training in health care professions with federal
- Scrap the Kyoto Accord, ill-conceived, ineffective and punitive,
and instead negotiate cooperative strategies for worldwide sustainable
- 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
- 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
- Replace the Ethics Counsellor with one who answers to Parliament
and the Canadian people, and is not an employee of the Prime
- 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
of the Conservative Party
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
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 Ottawas 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
The Leader should not be involved, formally or informally, in
the selection of candidates. The Leaders 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
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 partys
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
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.