Here are some common objections we’ve heard to our plans to attempt to influence the Conservative Leadership election. Let us know if you have any other concerns about our plans, and we can discuss it and add it to this list.
This all feels wrong. What if things were reversed? I wouldn’t want people with Conservative views invading my political party?
There are two things to address in this objection.
- Individuals joining a party they don’t completely align with to vote in a leadership election.
We believe the major Canadian political parties have grown too broad in scope that it is impossible for a single party to completely align with a single person’s political beliefs. Conversely we believe, that no single person’s political beliefs can be accurately represented by a single political party. So why should you be limited to joining just a single party? Why should you let someone else speak for you when telling the parties what is important to you?The true message behind Tolerable Opposition is that we all should be more involved at all levels. Voting in each party’s elections to bring the aspects of that party that you like to the forefront. Conservatives are not evil. Liberals are not socialists. One party should not define you.
- Organizing a movement to vote in a specific party’s leadership election.
This is already happening within the parties. Each of Canada’s political parties appeal to a wide range of political views, that factions develop within them. Your party definitely has some faction you don’t agree with. Maybe you think the NDP’s Leap platform is a little far fetched. Maybe you preferred Chrétien to Paul Martin. The point is no party is immune to factions with differing opinions and Tolerable Opposition is just another faction.We don’t want dictate how the Conservative Party should be run, but we do want to send a message that Canadians will not tolerate certain policies. At the end of the day, we want more people involved in all levels of the decision making process. If the thought of entryism bothers you, we want you to join the party and support it. We want you to bring your friends. With current membership levels, all political parties are at risk of being taken over by a faction.
Becoming a member to vote means donating $15 to the Conservative Party. If enough people contribute, couldn’t that sway the next election?
Assuming we are able to match the Conservative party members in numbers, that’s roughly 150,000 people donating $15. Which works out to around $2.25 million. When compared to donations from corporations, and party members to be collected during the next election cycle, this will be just a drop in the bucket. To put things in perspective, the Conservatives spent $50 million on their campaign in the 2015 federal election. Our donations will be less than 5% of that. New members can reduce the amount of money the party receives if they join through a Candidate’s campaign. If you were to join through a Candidate’s Campaign, the CPC only receives $1.50 of your donation (10%). If we were to match Conservative numbers and every one chooses a candidate to support when they join, the Party only receives $225,000. Which is 0.5% of their budget in the previous federal election.
I’m already a member of another political party.
Becoming a member of the Conservative party to become eligible to vote in the leadership election will require you to renounce your other party membership. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Outside of election cycles (both leadership and federal), party membership usually only nets you newsletters and solicitations for more donations. Once the leadership election is over, you can renounce your Conservative membership and rejoin your preferred party for the nominal cost of joining. This is one of the reasons that this plan can work in Canada, our parties’ leadership elections rarely happen at the same time, there is nothing stopping you from joining a party to participate in a leadership election. In the United States, you could be a member of both the Republican and Democratic Parties, but with both primaries held at the same time, you would be unable to vote in both of them. There is an NDP election that begins in June of 2017, which gives you plenty of time to Renounce your Conservative membership and join the NDP for their election.
To renounce your membership, you will have to contact the Party you belong to and renounce it, you likely have to do it in writing. If you want to go the extra mile, you may wish to get your renouncement letter notarized to proof to the Conservative party that you meet the membership requirements.
We see this plan of joining a political party for the sole purpose of voting in leadership elections as the truest form of democracy. All Canadians will have an opportunity to influence the politics of ALL of our parties, not just the one we are most likely to vote for in a federal election.
If a tolerable person is elected leader of the Conservative party, they might steal the focus away from my preferred political party, facilitating a Conservative government in the next election.
This is a valid risk of our attempt to keep the undesirable candidates from advancing too far politically. It is a risk that we are willing to take when weighed against the alternative of a Conservative government that rises to power on a message of hate like Trump did in the United States. For all we know, Justin Trudeau’s first term in office may turn out to be disastrous, and the Conservatives could take the next election regardless of who their leader is. This is the scenario that we are hedging our bets on: should the Conservative party take power after the next election, we want a leader who will uphold the reputation of our great nation and not embarrass us on the global stage. So we are doing everything we can to prevent that nightmare, while it is still feasible to do so.
An added bonus of our approach is that efforts will demonstrate to all Parties that that certain attitudes carry political consequences and will not be tolerated.
Kellie Leitch’s former Campaign Manager is planning on disqualifying people who have publicly stated they will be joining the party to vote against her from voting in the Conservative Party Leadership election.
Isn’t that exactly what Tolerable Opposition is asking me to do?
Yes. Tolerable Opposition is asking you to join the Conservative Party in good faith to vote in their Leadership election. We just so happen to be asking you to vote for some one other than Kellie Leitch. For Kellie Leitch’s campaign to challenge your membership they must prove that you are not a member in good standing.
To be a member in good standing you must meet the membership criteria as set out in the Conservative Party Charter. This is limited to people who:
- are either a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident
- are over the minimum age specified by by-law;
- actively support of the principles of the Party;
- have signified their intention to join the Party;
- have personally paid the Party’s national membership fee in the amount specified by by-law and in the manner specified by National Council which shall set rules and procedures to provide reasonable assurance that the membership fee was paid by the member personally;
- are not an individual holding a membership in another federal political party
“Actively support the principles of the Party” sounds daunting, but they are all very vague statements, than any Canadian would likely agree to. It would be extremely difficult for any candidate to use as a basis for disqualification.
The only real concern here is that you must renounce any other party membership you held before joining the party.
This gambit has the potential to backfire for Kellie Leitch’s campaign. The onus of proving ineligibility on the grounds that your membership is not in good standing lies with whomever challenges a member’s eligibility. Which means challenging you on one of the 5 points above. So long as you pay your own membership fee and renounce other party affiliations you will most likely be a member in good standing.
Each membership challenge must be reviewed by the Chief Returning Officer, frivolous claims are punishable by fines, or forfeiture of the candidate’s ability to challenge members’ eligibility. Should Tolerable Opposition inspire enough Canadians to vote, the Kellie Leitch campaign will be unable to disqualify all members who join the party to stand with us. And those claims her campaign does bring to the Party, will most likely result in plenty of fines for the campaign.
Wouldn’t sharing Tolerable Opposition add me to list of people joining to vote against Kellie Leitch?
Yes. But you can protect yourself from any challenge to your right to vote in the campaign using the following steps:
- Familiarize yourself with the Principals of the Conservative Party. Keep them in mind when posting online.
- Be sure to renounce membership to other Canadian Political parties before joining the Conservative Party. Try and get confirmation in writing, include the confirmation in your conservative party membership application.
- Perform due diligence on any news you see about the election. Fact check stories, ensure they come from reputable sources before responding in outrage.
In all honesty, we don’t expect the Campaign’s strategy to disqualify reactionary voters, to work.
Will her current Campaign Manager follow through with this plan?
We have no way of knowing. Given the difficulty we expect a campaign to have in disqualifying members from voting and the fines imposed for frivolous challenges, we hope so. It doesn’t hurt to approach the election in a civil manner anyway.