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About Having a Nice Day
Preston Manning, liar and hypocrite

Doug Collins

July 8, 2000

Acres of print and aeons of TV time went into covering the Alliance Party leadership race, but nothing has been said about why Preston Manning was challenged. So let me be the first to tell you.

It was because that he is really in the camp of the politically correct, and also because he is a hypocrite.

But first, let me put my biases on the table.

In 1988 I was asked to run for the Reform Party in West Vancouver-Capilano and looked all set to be elected. Over a thousand people turned out for the nomination meeting.

Without consulting his national executive, however, Manning said in advance that he would not sign my nomination papers. There was a "perception", he said, that I harbored racist views. Which in liberal terms I did and do. So what? The constituency knew my views well enough.

A big row ensued in the national executive, after which he said he would agree to the nomination provided I signed a paper promising in effect to obey his edicts.

This in spite of the fact that the Reform Party's constitution was supposedly based on a "grass roots" policy that gave authority to the constituencies, not to him.

I refused to sign, since no other candidate was being asked to touch his cap to Manning. So I withdrew.

Hands Off the Party, Presto

It was an example of Manning's dictatorial determination to be boss. It was also a sign of things to come.

Subsequently, many other casualties were recorded: John Gamble of Toronto, who had once run for the Tory leadership, was deemed persona non grata. Bob Ringma, MP, Dave Chatters, MP., and Jim Hart, MP, were temporarily tossed out of the revolving caucus door for having made the wrong remarks. The recently deceased, Reform prominento Don Serling also fell by the wayside.

Professor Herb Grubel, a world-class economist and the party's finance critic, was dropped like a hot brick when, half-way through his term, he said he would not be running again. But the real reason for his being cast into the shadows was a politically incorrect remark about Canadian Indians and South Sea Islanders.

The list is a kind of Who’s Not Who. Randy White, MP, was dropped from the shadow cabinet for some real or imagined opposition to Manning's views. Ted White, MP, has never been "in" because he is just too forthright. Ron Gamble (no relation to John) was one of the founders of the party. He left in disgust.

Manning ruined the party in Manitoba by getting rid of several top executives in Winnipeg. He also saw the area councils as a threat to his power and got rid of them, too.

Candidates were then required to fill out a ridiculous questionnaire before they could qualify for Preston's favor. It was brought into being, he has been at pains to explain, to avoid any "embarrassing repeat" of my nomination fiasco.

No other party has anything like it.

They have to state whether they were ever drunks or druggies, give their views on abortion and Canada-U.S. relations, say what their wives think, and report almost everything else about themselves except whether they have ever had chicken pox.

"We now know why he called the party the Reform party," I wrote at the time. "He wants to reform the Reform Party so that it is a party like the others."

You had only to look at the way he went after Stockwell Day on abortion and "social conservatism" to see how hypocritical he is. For, depending on which way the wind was blowing, he has saluted the same flags, just as he has been go-stop-go on initiative and recall.

Immigration? Some time before I agreed to run for Reform I asked him at a big public meeting whether he would do something about it. He said he would. I am still waiting. Meanwhile, it is clear that the last thing he wanted was a full-scale debate on the subject. Similarly, he has shied away from the freedom of speech issue where it involves his own MPs and misnamed human rights.

Eight years ago he gave a speech to a Jewish group in Calgary in which he explained how he was silencing "racists", anyone being a racist who doesn't want to wake up and find himself living in a Canadian suburb of the Punjab, etc.

"We are training our constituency organizations to have in place 'moderators' in the audience who will stand up if someone goes to a mike and make statements that might be regarded as extreme or racist, and disassociate the Party from such statements...".

Far from "doing something" about immigration, Manning is a minority sucker-upper. He should apply for a job with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. For what his statement means, surely, is that under him traditional Canada can get lost.

As a prominent Reformer told me years ago, "Manning no more believes in the grass roots than my cat does."

I joined the Alliance just so I could vote for Stockwell Day. I think he has the right stuff, but even if he hasn't he couldn't be any worse than Preston.

Let's hope we have a nice Day.

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