Monday, September 08, 2008

Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar Conservative Party candidate Kelly Block a Sask. Party member; former party president Michelle Hunter running in Wascana

Connections between the Conservative Party of Canada and the Saskatchewan Party continue to be revealed.

Kelly Block, the Conservative Party of Canada candidate for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, has been a member of the right-wing Saskatchewan Party since 1997.

According to Block’s website her Saskatchewan Party roots appear to run deep:

Saskatchewan Party Premier's Dinner Co-Chairperson 2008

– Coordinator: Sask Party Provincial Strategic Constituency Assistance Teams - Saskatchewan Election 2007

– Sought nomination for Martensville Constituency - Sask Party

– Elected president of the Saskatchewan Party Martensville Constituency in 2003

– Elected president of the Saskatchewan Party Rosthern Constituency Association in January of 2002

– Attended focus group meetings reviewing the Party’s policies in preparation for the 2002 annual convention

– Appointed Member Sask Party Healthcare Advisory Committee

– Attended Saskatchewan Party Annual Convention in 2001

– Volunteer - phoning and doorknocking for Saskatchewan Party in 2000 in Saskatoon: Metro Saskatoon supporting and working for Don Morgan, Ted Merriman and Shelly Hengen

– Member of Saskatchewan Party since 1997.

Block, a native of Saskatoon, was elected to the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) Board of Directors in 1996, and was later appointed to the Saskatchewan Health Information Network (SHIN), a Provincial Treasury Board Crown.

In 2002, she was appointed to the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority, which provides oversight and strategic direction to the Health Region.

Block was chosen as the federal Conservative Party candidate in the riding of Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar following three nomination meetings held on Apr. 5, 2008. [Block new candidate for Conservatives (StarPhoenix, Apr. 7, 2008)]

Earlier this summer detective work by StarPhoenix reporter James Wood discovered that of the Saskatchewan Party’s 36-member caucus 11 MLAs are members of the Conservative Party of Canada.

The list includes Crown Corporations Minister Ken Cheveldayoff, Highways, Infrastructure Minister Wayne Elhard, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Lyle Stewart, Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Christine Tell and Justice Minister Don Morgan, who recently announced the government would drop the constitutional challenge against Ottawa that was sparked by the Conservatives’ broken campaign promise on equalization.

Backbench MLAs who are Conservative Party members are Michael Chisholm, Greg Ottenbreit, Jim Reiter, Laura Ross, Randy Weekes and Jeremy Harrison, who was the Tory MP for Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River from 2004 to 2006.

What’s not known is how many of Saskatchewan’s Conservative MPs are confirmed members of the Saskatchewan Party.

Saskatchewan Party financial statements filed with Elections Saskatchewan show that since 1999 seven of Saskatchewan’s current 13 Conservative MPs have contributed more than $13,000 to the party with Carol Skelton and Lynne Yelich leading the way with donations totaling $4,601.24 and $3,293.46 respectively.

Skelton was on the Saskatchewan Party’s executive and served on former Opposition leader Elwin Hermanson’s constituency association. Yelich worked for Conservative Allan Kerpan while he served as MP and received $300 funding from the MLA in the 2006 federal election.

Other MPs contributing to the Saskatchewan Party include: Dave Batters – $1,010, Tom Lukiwski – $1,689.75, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz – $1,061.66, Andrew Scheer – $500, and Brad Trost – $900.

(Lukiwski was the Saskatchewan Party’s general manager from 1997 to 2004.)

Since 2005 Block appears to have contributed at least $743.35 to the Saskatchewan Party.

The cross pollination between the parties is also evident in the federal riding of Wascana where former Saskatchewan Party president Michelle Hunter is running as the Conservative Party candidate.

The Saskatchewan Party’s newsletter Horizon (Spring 2008) notes that Hunter submitted her resignation as party president on Saturday, Apr. 5, 2008, at a meeting of the party’s executive council.

Hunter was first elected president of the Saskatchewan Party in February 2004 at the annual convention, and won a second election in 2006. She also ran as the Saskatchewan Party Candidate in Regina Lakeview in the 2003 provincial election.

On her website Hunter indicates she “served on the Federal Executive of Regina Palliser, and was privileged to attend the Founding Convention of the Conservative Party of Canada in 2005. I have knocked doors and helped the Dave Batters campaign in the last two federal elections.”

Absent on both Block’s and Hunter’s websites is any mention of the Harper Conservatives $800 million a year broken promise to Saskatchewan on equalization.

Since the Nov. 2007 provincial election there has been concern that the new Saskatchewan Party government has been unduly influenced by their conservative counterparts in Ottawa. In Jan. 2008 Prime Minister Harper asked Saskatchewan Party Premier to drop the province’s equalization court challenge. In July 2008 that’s exactly what Wall did. If Block and Hunter win their respective ridings that concern may only intensify.

Posted on Block’s website is a link to a Conservative Party news release condemning the Liberals proposed “carbon tax.” Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Saskatchewan Party Premier oppose the Green Shift plan.

It’s interesting to note, however, that Ottawa Citizen columnist Susan Riley points out in Green Shift brave, far-sighted idea (StarPhoenix, Sept. 8, 2008) that the very conservative C.D. Howe Institute “likes the idea, as do other future-oriented corporate leaders.”

“It is not a tax grab, it is a tax shift. It is not a return to the “wild” spending of past Liberal regimes (all that money wasted on impoverished children, artists, unreliable minorities!), but a brave, if cautious, first step toward a sustainable economy,” Riley said.

“It is not an attack on Alberta, or an update of the National Energy Program -- although it shares as audacious an ambition. Recall that the 1980 NEP was aimed at achieving energy independence, a now-fashionable rallying cry in both Democrat and Republican circles, although the Trudeau-era energy plan was badly timed, designed and marketed.

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims the Green Shift is badly timed, too -- that it will worsen a looming recession, push gas prices higher and ruin our competitive advantage. What he doesn’t say is that fossil fuel prices are going up anyway, with nearly all the gushing profits going directly to oil companies.”

For a list of Stephen Harper’s broken promises and ugly behaviour click here.


At 3:09 PM, Blogger Zach Bell said... conservative minded members of the provincial right wing party are members of the federal conservative party. This is compelling why?


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