2023 Convention: The Process

The 2023 Convention was held in Quebec City. Participants arrived for the opening ceremonies on or before the evening of Thursday, September 7th.

The Quebec City Convention Centre was the host venue. It is a vast building with meeting rooms to accommodate small groups such as CIMS training and large groups like Constitution and Policy information and breakout sessions, as well as main stage events – the Leader’s Speech.

Our former financial agent, Leigh Cassidy, organized early hotel reservations for us all at the immediately adjacent Hilton Hotel which made our tasks much easier.

At the Convention, voting is essential to obtaining successful support for the EDA’s policy and constitution proposals. In Foothills, Peter Fermor, Debra Janzen, Karen Spencer, Birgit Broadbent, Roger Taylor and Greg Steed have been working since early February with other like-minded EDAs to develop and refine proposals for consideration at the Convention. Their discussions – thanks to ZOOM – involved participation and collaboration of many EDAs over sixteen months. Working together in this way has been important in achieving voting support for proposals at the Convention.

But direct marketing was not overlooked at Quebec City. Seeking voting support, Foothills delegates wore promotional shirts and handed out cards/flyers to advertise our policy ideas in advance of each discussion and voting session on Friday and Saturday.

Of note is the audio video support in each large meeting room. Multiple large screens displayed each participant while they were at the microphone, together with their policy proposals, and followed by the voting results. And during the opening ceremonies and the Leader’s Speech, five large screens displayed the main stage to the hundreds of attendees in the hall.

On Saturday, the final day of the Convention, the Foothills delegates attended the Constitutional plenary session in the morning and the Policy plenary session the afternoon. These sessions were fast-paced: a speaker at a microphone in the center of the hall was shown on a large screen (Karen Spencer is shown here) and given 30 seconds to speak to the policy under consideration. Next speaker was a supporter of the policy who justified the proposal, and then there were contra speakers. Every speaker was timed. Within minutes, all delegates were asked to vote Yes or No using an electronic device. Moments later, the voting results were displayed, followed by a breakdown by province.

Foothills was the prime sponsor for two constitution and one policy proposal, but we were co-sponsors of several other proposals. Although ranked very high in the pre-convention voting by EDA’s, neither of our constitution proposals (clarifying the constitution on Party referenda and giving National Council a say on the party budget) passed at the breakout session on Friday. However another badly worded proposal on the Party referenda was fortunately defeated at the all delegate meeting on Saturday.

Regarding policy, Foothills had sponsored one submission on environmental principles, which passed at the Friday breakout session, but with too low a number of votes to make it to the top ten which went on to Saturday. We had some significant consolation on Saturday, the final day of the Convention when three out of four proposals on the environment that Foothills backed as a group with other EDA’s were successful. Together these form the framework for a conservative environmental policy; previously sorely lacking. A policy that is “Deeply Blue and Intelligently Green”.

These were not “fluff” proposals; Foothills and our allies took on hard issues. To get three proposals that we co-sponsored through was an achievement, and reward for an enormous amount of time and effort by our policy and constitution committee, supported by our board of directors.

The successful environmental proposals now become part of the Conservative policy handbook