By: Taghreed Saadeh
Contrary to what was I expected since I moved from Toronto to Edmonton, the city like what some people called it deadmenton, Thursday was at the top of its vitality and activity after the first policy conference of Center Ice” lets Go Canada took place at Delta Hotel by Marriott Edmonton Centre suites.
With all activity, brilliance and ambition, the participants, who came from all over Canada, presented their papers at the conference discussing number of issues; Canada’s economy, Canada’s lead in energy & energy transition, Canadian military and foreign policy and other topics.
All participants consider to be the voice of the Canadian majority.
The participants are Academic, politicians, from media and businessmen.
The idea of the new group Centre ice conservative name was taken from the hockey game that all Canadians love.
Rick Peterson, Founder & Director said that, “There is power in the centre. Every Canadian knows that, especially when it comes to hockey. A winning team needs strength up the middle, at centre ice.
He added, “Our goal at Centre Ice Conservatives is to highlight people, policies and priorities that rise above the noise and heat of the fringes and focus key issues that Canada’s leaders should address. Front and centre.”
Peterson, the shining star was moving like a dynamo during the conference presented some panels and his facial features radiated a determination to succeed during the conference. The smile never left his face despite all the fatigue and responsibilities.
Peterson was a Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate in 2017 and 2020.
A second conference to be continue has been announced on October 27 at Halifax.
I heard from some participants that they will start booking for the second conference from tomorrow.
Author Tasha Kheiriddin’s new book, The Right Path: How Conservatives can Unite, Inspire and Take Canada Forward, which proposes a roadmap for the Conservative Party of Canada to win the next federal election.
Kheiriddin is a member of the advisory board for Centre Ice and was serving as a panelist and moderator at the event.
“Canadians deserve a choice of governing party if we are to have a functioning democracy in this country,” said Kheiriddin.
“Based on research, data, and interviews, The Right Path prescribes how the Conservative Party can build a big tent that both respects its principles and addresses today’s issues with inclusive, pragmatic, centre-right policies that appeal to mainstream Canadian voters.
The conference organizers emphasized that it is not a new party that splits from the conservative party that faces many problems that affected its success in the coming federal elections in 2025, and made liberals continue to rule for the forth times.
Some told me on the sidelines of the conference, that no candidate for the presidency of the conservative party can challenge Justin Trudeau the leader of the Liberal Party .
The next month will know who will be the conservative leader but after the exclusion of Patrick Brown, the front-runner for president of the party, who brought thousands of votes to the party, it eliminate the chance of defeating Trudeau in the upcoming elections.
He was excluded due to “serious allegations of wrongdoing” by the Brown campaign.
The allegations are related to the financing rules in the Canada Elections Act, with no more details.
One of his campaign member told me that they made it up for him to prevent him from leading the party as a young man carrying change.
He added, “The party, it seems, is still controlling by the old right-wing.”
Internal sources revealed that 70% of the Conservative party are over 60 years old, and surely the party doesn’t attract young people.
One of the Progressive Conservatives who attended the conference told me that if Pierre Poilievre wins the leadership of the party and succeeded in the elections next month, he would vote for whoever ousted him, no matter what that party is.
“This is the thinking of many of those who object to the traditional right wing that is still controlling without thinking about the future of the party,” he added.
It was remarkable that the conference included Arabs backgrounds and other ethnicities who are considered important part of Canadian society, and apparently opposed by the right-wing in the party.
It was interesting that some names of Arabic origins were given a chance to talk, for example, Ann Francis, is originally from Egypt, she was one of the active stars in the conference and She serves on Center Ice’s advisory board.
Francis, a two-time conservative candidate in Montreal, said her experience of knocking is that voters are behind party labels, not ideas.
“We are truly at the mercy of a system that woefully under-prepares us to select those who will have power to shape our lives as Canadian citizens and all that entails,” Francis said.
She hope to be a voice for mainstream Canadians.
She added, most conservatives are not ideologues, espousing deep political theories, but regular people with regular concerns, which have been exacerbated by current events. We want to solve problems, and we want our government to do better.
Emad El Zain a businessman, also spoke in more than one panel.
Joe Haq, well known among the Arab community in Edmonton and be called the spiritual father for all, was among the attendees.
There are others, such as the African and Asian background.
William Morin, chief of the Enoch First Nation was one of the panels.
The organizers are betting that the conference will be pleasing to Canadians, and on its website it calls on Canadians to fight for democracy and register their names with out subscription fee .
However, Chisholm Pothier, and who was a spokesman for Patrick Brown campaign and he also a veteran journalist said, “I was really struck by how serious and in peril our security and sovereignty is with aggressive states like China and Russia who don’t play by the rules and have an interest in our Arctic and could act on that, combined with a United States that could be governed by Trump or someone like that, so we couldn’t count on US support and protection. “
He added, “Meanwhile our military is badly under equipped for that new world reality – no subs in Arctic, can’t get equipment built, won’t just buy it. Which is a real and likely threat. And instead of talking about this essential issue, the Conservative leadership campaign is talking about WEF conspiracies and purity tests on who is a true Conservative.”
When it was put like that, it hit me as very frightening, Pothier said
He added, “by then Pierre Poilievre will probably be leader and personally I will be looking for a new party that is serious about being conservative and governing. This group may be looking to that by then as well, even though they are adamant they don’t want to do that.”
When the date of the second conference comes, the party leader will have been determined, and we will see what the conferees will do. Will they remain calls only for those who describe themselves as centrists, or a call to establish a new party that compensates for the real crises that the Conservative Party is facing that may indicate its defeat for the fourth general elections in a row. The coming days will tell us.