Letters - Opinions are not rifts, they are opinions



Neepawa Banner & Press

In the liberal world, those who disagree are demeaned, disparaged and dismissed. You are aboard the train or not.

As a lifelong conservative, I would be appalled if we stifled opinion. We value our freedoms above all else. The freedoms of association, belief, conscience, expression, opinion, peaceful assembly, religion and thought are the underpinnings of democracy and the conservative party. They don’t come easily or gracefully. We have to accept we will hear beliefs that clash with our own and opinions we dislike. The price for freedoms is to accept that we will face dissenting opinions and must allow them to be fully heard before passing judgement.

When we have a convention and 3,000 representatives from every corner of the nation, we will have different views expressed in the form of resolutions to consider. We spend months gathering and compiling those resolutions. Selecting those with the broadest support in terms of numbers and area defines those that will be considered at convention. Resolutions going to workshops at the convention are not the work of a few disgruntled people. They need support from multiple electoral districts.

We take time to debate resolution that are contrary to existing policy and that alter existing policy or introduce new policy. Those that move forward do so based on delegate votes. Only the ten with the strongest support from each of several workshops move forward to debate and vote by the main body of the convention.

To describe that process as showing ‘rifts’ within the party is erroneous. We are open to considering and debating the strongly held views of our members and their representatives. It is important that they have the opportunity to convince us that their resolutions have merit and should be adopted.

Some resolutions are defeated at workshops, others are defeated in the main session. Observers fail to notice is that the proponents of failed resolutions are not there solely to deal with the resolution(s) they sponsor; they consider and vote on all of the resolutions in the workshop they attend, and all of the resolutions sent to the main body. They are considering and setting the overall direction of the party, not just one or two aspects thereof.

The defeat of a particular resolution does not mean the end of debate. Very often, during the course of debate, lessons are learned, and a modified version of the resolution may appear at a succeeding convention and will be debated again. Delegates had the opportunity to participate in amendments and changes to our constitution and policies and are satisfied with the overall results they achieve.

Contrast that with political correctness which has morphed from its original meaning: The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against into a form of censorship where any action or expression that might offend someone is considered forbidden.

Our human rights codes cover the subject matter of the original definition so political correctness should fall into disuse. However, it is now used to stifle opinion and debate on any topic that elitists and liberals/progressives consider to be settled (in their minds). It is a direct attack on our freedoms.

I am proud to stand with guardians of our freedoms. Those freedoms and the inherent opportunities they provide is what make Canada the grand nation it is.

John Feldsted

Winnipeg, Manitoba