Everett Tanis and I attended the Annual Convention on Feb 1, 2 and 3 and report as follows:
Despite the cold weather we got there in time for the official opening. In fact, we were amongst the first ones to arrive though didn’t get to eating until after the celebrations closed. The co-chairs of the convention, Jade Boldt and Neil Mackie did a super job. Everything was first class. Mme. Marie Poulin, National President addressed the delegates through video conference as did Mr. Dion. Gerard Kennedy attended opening night though unable to stay due to another commitment. Hearing all of them reassured us we have a great pool of talent. Other dignitaries present over the w/e included Joyce Fairbairn, our beloved Senator, Senator Grant Mitchell, Hon. Navdeep Bains, MP; Dr. Carolyn Bennett and our Deputy Leader, Michael Ignatieff. All spoke at various points over the w/e, all gave super presentations and I wasn’t the only one moved emotionally by their addresses. We really felt proud to have such great people among us. It gives us great hope for our future. We felt pumped. Though I didn’t count I would guess there was close to 300 in attendance. Also, Harry Mortimer, Richard, Adam Smith and several others attended from Ottawa.
Unfortunately with choices of three and four sessions running simultaneously no one could attend all so had to choose. Due to being the candidate I attended those I felt would be most appropriate. Candidates were show-cased at lunchtime on Saturday. It sounded from other’s reports all sessions were interesting and lively. On Saturday evening those of us wanting to attend the Agriculture session missed out on the Laurier Club reception. Everyone in attendance agreed it was one of the best. Bob Russell, Don Thompson, Jake and the couple others speaking gave us lots to think about with respect to marketing and food security etc. Mr. Russell has agreed to present to our policy committee in Lethbridge. Many of us didn’t even have time for a drink between then and supper. Mr. Ignatieff with his slow and deliberate style really pumped us. Lethbridge was honored with several awards including recognition for our level of activity. Mary Insley was identified as having received volunteer of the year award for long and dedicated service last year and Marie Moar was noted for same for this past year. It was well after 10 pm on Sat. evening before we got to party and some of us older folks cut short since it was an early start on Sunday with voting followed by resolutions.
Except for VP Policy, all executive positions were unopposed therefore declared elected. Dr. Nally did a great job chairing the resolutions session and was re-elected to the position. As a result of prioritization half the resolutions dropped to lower rating which included the young Liberals one to move the Senate to Calgary. Unfortunately, when we got to the proposed Constitutional changes we got bogged down and since some people indicated they had not received them they were deferred to next year. The conference closed shortly before noon.
The new Executive headed by new President, George Hodgson met from noon until mid-afternoon. I represented Lethbridge Riding. A major issue is funding due to the changes enacted by Mr. Chretien and they decided to push for the new program called 5/5 which will return 50% to the ridings. We are also encouraged to hold lots of activities and not to be afraid to “pass the hat” at functions. It is believed the new rules as well as being democratic will help us more locally. A proposed meeting schedule for the year ahead was set and people will be notified in due course. We still remain on Election Alert. The media also came by and spoke with both Everett and I with respect to the anticipated Provincial Election. It was a busy w/e and lots achieved.
Summary by – Michael Cormican, Candidate Feb. 4, 2008