Volume 91, Issue 13

Thursday, September 18, 1997



Private party

By Mark Brown
Gazette Staff

Five of Western's Progressive Conservative club executives shocked their fellow members last week when they suddenly abandoned the club to spearhead a new non-partizan conservative club at Western.

The five executives, including former president Shawn Graham, left the club citing irreconcilable differences with the federal PC Party and internal pressures which force them to support the federal branch of the PC Party as the primary reason for leaving.

"It was a bit of a shock but we have been able to regroup quite well," said Jamie Beauregard, current director of outreach for Western's PC club.

Graham believes the efforts of the club to put forward policy ideas to the PC Party was a wasted effort.

"At the end of the day none of the things we wanted were adopted. We are fed up," Graham said, adding they want to send Jean Charest a message saying he has to start listening to younger voices.

Michael Allen, national director of the PC party, disagreed with Graham's assessment of the federal PC Party.

"Our party has a very open process," Allen said, adding the platform used in the recent federal election was the product of conventions and consultation with all PC party members. "There was a healthy mix of different types of individuals."

Another of Graham's criticisms of the federal PC party is that the policies adopted by the party are moving towards the left – referring to what the five former executive members feel is the lack of social conservative policies in the federal PC platform.

"The development of the platform was completely faithful to the party," he added.

Patrick O'Neil, former director of recruitment for the Western PC club objects to the notion the platform was faithful to the party members.

Three of the policy proposals, all which were intended to increase support towards the family that had been passed by the party members were totally ignored by the political elites, he said.

"Family-related policy was not mentioned in any Progressive Conservative document," O'Neil said.

Instead of working within the political party channels, Graham and the other former members of the Western PC club have started to organize a new non-partizan club they have called the Coalition of Conservative Citizens. "We are going to be a group of small 'c' conservatives to educate and offer the different political parties to adopt conservative values.

"We will be more successful than the Progressive Conservative club because we are non-partizan," predicted Graham. "It is not as restrictive."

"We take our policies to the government – they have chosen a different root," said Beauregard. "I wish them luck."

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997