Forming the New Right

Letter to the Editor by Margret Kopala

published by the National Post, January 5, 2002

for general distribution

Stephen Harper's view that the Canadian Alliance leader has better things to do than to appease the Tories has merit, but not for the reasons he suggests. In fact, the leaders of each party should not be wasting time working out how to unite the Progressive Conservatives and Canadian Alliance.

Why? Mainly because they would be in a conflict of interest. If the two parties do unite, a leadership race will be necessary, and the leaders of the now separate parties should have no say in how that is done.

Involvement by the leaders in the unity issue also doesn't work. The leaders have too much of a personal stake to be either dispassionate about the issue or to allow the needs of their parties to transcend their own self-interest.

Removing the leaders from the unity process would allow the memberships of each party to assume full ownership of the unity issue. In addition, each party has a national council empowered to act upon the general will of its memberships. Regrettably, the current councils have been hobbled, particularly on the unity file. In 2002, this situation could change dramatically. In March, the Canadian Alliance elects a new set of councillors, as well as its leader. And should Joe Clark not win the leadership review at the PC convention next August, its national council will have freer reign to pursue its objectives.

Once these councils get to work, they surely will play footsie with each other. And why not? They will represent the majority of members who want unity, and who want to hold the Liberals to account.

Margret Kopala

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