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2003 Progressive Conservative Leadership Race

It all started a few months back when our former National President Craig Chandler was encouraged to seek the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

Craig resigned as National President of the PGIB and assembled a campaign team and traveled throughout Canada promoting the message of conservative unity and PGIB policies.

PGIB has a long and detailed past in uniting the conservative movement which can be seen at www.2cards.ca under movement history.

However, this latest campaign has positioned PGIB as a legitimate political broker in the Canadian conservative movement.

Here is the real story on what actually happened during the recent leadership race. Take into consideration that we are only reporting to you what happened during the actual leadership convention weekend, as discussing the race leading up to the convention itself would literally take another 20 issues.   All we will say for now is that the PC Party establishment loyal to division at the party's national headquarters pulled every trick in the book including losing 103 submitted delegates from the Chandler campaign.

The strategy started Thursday, May 29 when Jim Prentice, Randy Dawson (Prentice Campaign Manager), Craig Chandler and Bruce Peck (Chandler Campaign Manager) enjoyed lunch at the luxurious National Club on Bay Street in the financial district of Toronto.

With Bruce Peck leading much of the discussion, we laid out our strategy for the remainder of the convention.  The focus was on beating Peter McKay and creating momentum for Jim Prentice and that was clearly achieved.

Friday night, as the other candidates spoke, Bruce and Craig finalized the most powerful speech of the convention.  The luck of the draw placed Craig as the closing speaker.    
                               
It was roughly 8:45 am and Craig was called up to the stage with the song "Raise A Little Hell"  by Trooper blaring in the background and the PGIB logo, website and phone numbers displayed on football stadium sized screens as he walked up on stage.

Then the PGIB policy presentation occurred of policy after policy being rattled off as solutions to Canada's criminal justice system, democratic deficit and economic woes.  Craig delivered the PGIB www.2cards.ca message in no uncertain terms.

Craig delivered kind words to David Orchard and called him an honorable man, although he fundamentally disagrees with his liberal agenda.  Craig praised Scott Brison for his fiscal views and for his sincerity in friendship. However, what was tantamount to a surgical missile was fired at Peter McKay for his anti-Canadian Alliance rhetoric and his ill informed position on Bill C-250 which would eliminate free speech and make criminals out of those with Religious convictions. 

Craig's aggressive attack on Peter McKay set the mood for the rest of the convention and was the focal point of the news nation wide for the first days of the convention.  Craig delivered his concerns in a concise and calculated matter, Peter McKay received the message loud & clear.

PGIB believes in freedom of speech and have a libertarian view on religion where we believe Canadians are free to celebrate their deep held convictions as long as those views are not forced on Canadians.  We applaud Craig for fighting for freedom and standing up for PGIB policies and his own personal beliefs which he is entitled to as a Canadian.  Craig's speech can be heard in it's entirety at www.2cards.ca under Our Candidate.  We encourage you to take a listen.

The last segment of Craig's speech was filled with compliments of Jim Prentice and praise that Jim is open to working with the Canadian Alliance in forming a coalition government.  Craig launched his second strategic missile by withdrawing from the race and dedicating his delegates and efforts to Jim Prentice. 

The crowd erupted into an absolute frenzy when Craig's endorsement was delivered at the last minute, on live national television and radio heard by hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Jim Prentice and the Prentice Campaign literally embraced Chandler delegates and observers that swarmed their way over to the Prentice camp upon Craig's announcement.  The merging of Chandler signs / shirts with those of Prentice was a very powerful visual.

Here is what Jim Prentice was saying about Craig's endorsement in his media scrum that was carried on CBC TV, CPAC, CTV and other television and radio stations across Canada:

"It was very clear there was applause for many of the points Craig was making"

"I have been saying for some time that it is going to go to 4 ballots and this shows momentum, I am very pleased to have Craig here".

"Mr. Chandler reflects the views of many Canadians and we need room for him in our party".

The following is what the media was writing about this dramatic turn of events.  Please note the following are only a small sampling of the comments regarding Craig's bold move:

"Prentice embraced Chandler last night when he arrived in his section of the hall" .
Toronto Star

"Prentice told reporters the party should have room for people like Craig Chandler, a former Canadian Alliance candidate who contested the federal Tory leadership to promote a unite-the-right merger."
Toronto Star

"...Craig Chandler made quite a stir at the Tory convention Friday night with his flame throwing attack...known for his outspoken manner Chandler made a show of moving over to Prentice‚Ķ" 
Toronto Star

"Craig Chandler's...attack on Mr. McKay...followed by Jim Prentice's supporters leaping to their feet to celebrate Mr. Chandler's surprise endorsement of their candidate was the highlight of the evening".
Ottawa Citizen

" The federal conservative leadership race took a bizarre turn last night when...Craig Chandler abruptly withdrew from the race to endorse Calgary lawyer Jim Prentice as part of a bid to prevent front runner Peter McKay from winning...Mr. Prentice welcomed the endorsement as a sign of his campaigns momentum".
National Post

Although, only 12 Chandler delegates showed in Toronto because of the SARS scare it was the Chandler delegates that made a dramatic impact on the second ballot. Even Julie Chandler did not go for fear of SARS complicating her pregnancy.

The first ballot positioned Peter McKay in first, David Orchard in second, followed by Jim Prentice and then Scott Brison.  However, the second ballot is where it became really interesting, as after  the first ballot delegates were free to support any candidate and there was a dramatic shift.  After the second ballot the positions remained the same, except Jim Prentice only beat Scott Brison by 3 votes.

Those who were saying that the Craig Chandler campaign would have no effect on the convention floor were awakened.  The 12 viciously loyal Chandler delegates took Craig's direction and voted for Jim Prentice on every ballot.  On the second ballot it was the Chandler delegates that kept Jim Prentice in the race.  Jim Prentice only beat Scott Brison by 3 votes.  It is evident the 12 Chandler delegates made the difference

Scott Brison, being the absolute class act that he is decided to continue the momentum started by the Chandler campaign supported Jim Prentice on the third ballot.  With the Brison, Chandler and Prentice coalition, Jim Prentice leaped ahead of David Orchard and placed second leaving David Orchard with a decision that we thought was an obvious one and that was to defeat the status quo top down candidate Peter McKay. What happened next stunned the entire convention and much of the media.  The "Deal With The Devil" as Jason Kenney so aptly labeled it, left the conservative movement in shock and horror.

Here is how the deal came about.  David Orchard wanted his concerns addressed in writing and threw together a hastily prepared radical left wing manifesto and approached Jim and Peter to get a commitment to re-negotiate free trade and guarantee an elimination of co-operation talks with the Canadian Alliance.  Jim Prentice was honest and refused to open the free trade agreement and did not want to burn any bridges with the Canadian Alliance.  David then approached Peter McKay and Peter did not say no, but consulted with his supporters one of whom was Joe Clark himself.

With Joe Clark's wife Maureen McTeer being a supporter of David Orchard it made sense to involve the Clark family in negotiations between Orchard and McKay . Joe Clark, the sitting leader for the party suddenly made his way to the David Orchard camp with wife Maureen and daughter Catherine Clark at his side.  After what seemed like an eternity, Joe emerged and headed to the Peter McKay section of the convention floor followed by hoards of media. It was clear to Bruce Peck and Craig Chandler who witnessed the ordeal and heard much of the discussion. 

The Prentice camp panicked and some inexperienced Prentice campaign workers tried to control who would talk to Orchard delegates, yet experienced campaigners such as Bruce, Craig, members of the Blue Committee and other Chandler delegates, realized that time was short and all Orchard delegates needed to be reasoned with so the conversion campaign commenced.  Some Orchardites were weeded away from their dedication to their cult like following of David Orchard realizing Jim Prentice was the better choice for a broad based and sincere coalition.

However, Joe Clark who was not supposed to pick sides, but he did and lost plenty of respect.  The outgoing leader negotiated the now famous "Deal With The Devil" and alleviated any fears that Peter McKay had regarding Mr. Orchard and convinced David Orchard that his concerns would be addressed.  After coaxing from Mr. Clark, Peter and David signed a deal that has delayed uniting the conservative movement until at least after the next election.

Craig has been in conversation with many in the Alliance.  Peter McKay and Craig have spoken as recently as July 5, 2003 and have agreed to work together for a better Canada.  Peter is also interested in discussing Bill C-250 further and the lines of communication for conservative unity are wide open. Craig and Peter are committed to working together to help unite conservatives.

The conservative family will be reunited and PGIB is in a position to broker unity as we are trusted by both the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and for good reason.

Needless to say PGIB put itself on the federal political map (once again) and PGIB policies were embraced by the Progressive Conservative party.  It is no wonder that Western Canada's most popular magazine and journalists such as Paul Jackson of the Calgary Sun endorsed Craig Chandler and the PGIB message.

Good work and a big thank you to Bruce Peck, Jim Blake, Alex Ingram, Stephen Chapman, Julie Chandler, David Denboer, Hebert Branton, Larry Branton, Connie John, Brabara Pekrul, Mark Kennedy, Rick Hurley, Tom Yeoman, Kevin Taylor, Erik Gregson, Sung Singleton, Peter Singleton, Ray Rousseau, Tasha Fluke, Dominik Kawnik, Sid Helishauer, Michael Geoghegan and everyone who donated to Craig's campaign without whose aid there would not have been a campaign.  If we have forgot anyone we are sincerely sorry, please let us know and we will make it up to you. 

Campaign Leadership

Being that the 2cards.ca is a project of The Progressive Group For Independent Business the 2cards leadership is that of the PGIB please look at www.pgib.ca/about.html under Leadership for more info.

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