Political youth debate
By Brendan Howe
Right-wing party bickering filtered down from the federal level to two of Western's clubs recently as the Ontario Progressive Conservative Youth Association postponed a convention scheduled for this weekend.
Both Progressive Conservative party leader Jean Charest and official Opposition leader Preston Manning were supposed to speak to young politicians from the Tory and Reform youth associations of Ontario, said Ray Novak, director-at-large of Western's Young Reformers club.
Club members from Western's Young Reformers and Progressive Conservative clubs had a difference of opinion on the reason behind the postponement, he added.
The Young Reformers and PC clubs had several members who paid the $80 fee for the convention, Novak said, adding OPCYA lost $4,000 as a result of the postponement.
"Charest would have been upstaged by Manning, so Charest's headquarters put pressure on the OPCYA to cancel it," argued Patrick Callaghan, president of the Young Reformers.
President of the PC club Courtney Donovan said she didn't believe that was the reasoning behind the decision. She claimed Manning was invited to the convention without the OPCYA being consulted. Ron Johnson, Brantford Member of Provincial Parliament, is organizer of the convention and asked the Reform leader if he would speak.
"They [OPCYA] couldn't uninvite him so they postponed it," Donovan said, adding everyone will have their own opinion on why it was cancelled.
"I was really disappointed," Novak said. "From a youth perspective, people want to get involved and get informed."
Manning was scheduled to speak at the convention during a luncheon hosted by the Brantford PC Association, Novak said.
He added Johnson invited the Reform leader to speak so people attending the conference could have a broader opinion-base represented.
The youth convention is postponed until Oct. 17, Donovan said.