I haven't been paying too much attention to the Conservative policy convention happening this weekend in Winnipeg. Which is probably how the Conservatives like it.
There has been news of a few wacky socially-conservative policies coming out of the Conservative membership. We'll see if they go anywhere but I'm doubtful. The powers that be, I suspect, will stage manage this thing pretty tiightly.
Speaking of which, that does seem to be the theme I've seen emerging from my cursory scanning of convention coverage: keeping the media far, far away from any potentially controversial discussions that may be happening.
A Tory spokesman said party officials made the decision to restrict the media from workshops until the roughly 2,000 delegates have a chance to discuss dozens of resolutions up for debate.
Resolutions include health-care privatization, declawing the Canadian Human Rights Commission, protecting the unborn from criminal violence and moving on creating balanced-budget legislation.
The media restriction will be lifted today and reporters will finally get a chance to find out what the Tory grassroots really think. The convention ends Sunday.
"Membership has its privileges," Charleswood-St.James-Assiniboia Tory MP Steven Fletcher said. Fletcher was recently appointed by Harper as minister of state for democratic reform.
Fletcher said the media blackout gives delegates a chance to get to the heart of issues. He compared the closed-door discussions to that of a private company charting its course.
But Fletcher said as a government, all new policy is open and transparent. A party spokesman fielding media complaints about the ban, said if reporters didn't like it they could join the party and become a delegate in the next convention.
I just wanted to share this passage because I find it delightfully Orwellian that the Conservatives dispatched their “minister of state for democratic reform” to explain why the media re being kept in pens, away from delegates discussing policy. What's next, renaming DND the Ministry of Peace?
If you're looking for some on the ground blog coverage of the doings in Winnipeg, Liberal blogger Danielle Takacs has been providing a lot of great coverage from the belly of the beast, and for an NDP perspective, Dr. Dawg is there as well. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers