(Feb 9) On February 4, Preston Manning, founder and president of the Manning Centre, gave the 2016 William A. Howard Memorial Lecture on "The Future of Conservatism in Canada." The lecture is sponsored by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.
Despite the recent losses of conservatives federally and in 8 out of 10 provinces in Canada, Preston Manning believes there is a future for conservatism in both Canada and Alberta. In his talk on the "Future of Conservatism," Mr. Manning shared his views on how he believes conservatism will continue to play a role. The success of conservatives will, however, depend on how successful they are in rejuvenating and recharging in relation to three key areas: policy and ideology; human resources; and leadership. In his view, the focus should be on rejuvenating at a grassroots level to strengthen the knowledge, skills and ethics of the conservative support base. For potential leaders, those who may take public office someday, there is a real need for more effective training including training in the law-making process itself and a focus on skills to enable them to run a government. Mr. Manning encouraged rejuvenation at the municipal level as well as federally and provincially.
As for renewal in Alberta, Mr. Manning proposed the creation of a united conservative alternative prior to the next election. Such a united party ought to be based on principle, not simply as an attempt to defeat the current government. It should also strike a balance between Edmonton and Calgary, urban and rural voters, and the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties in the province. The union should proceed incrementally with the support of those who have come to the conclusion that there is a need to unite. Through the democratic process, conservatism has a real chance to rejuvenate and recharge in Alberta and across the country.