Paul Tuns:

From Sept. 7-9, Conservative delegates from across the country assembled in Quebec City for the party’s biannual policy convention, where they elected a new National Council and voted on dozens of policies for the platform and constitutional amendments that govern the party. While the policies are not binding – a point leader Pierre Poilievre made to the media before the convention began – it provides a basis on which MPs or the party can advance certain causes with proven grassroots support.

CLC advised supporting 14 pro-family policy resolutions; 13 of 14 passed, and among those that passed by full convention were a ban on chemical and surgical sex changes for minors, protecting women’s spaces in sports and restrooms,  opposing expansion of euthanasia, and standing against mandatory vaccinations.

Jack Fonseca, director of political affairs for Campaign Life Coalition, said “Social conservatives scored a major win at the Conservative National Convention,” explaining, “We helped pass 13 policy resolutions which advance the cause of life, family, faith and freedom.”

Fonseca said the approval of policy 1268 banning puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital mutilation for children was “the most striking win” of the weekend.

To become party policy, a policy must be among the top vote-getters in the plenary sessions and pass a vote in the full convention with a double-majority — a majority of delegates and winning a majority of delegates in seven territories and provinces. It passed with 69 per cent approval, achieving a majority in every province, including among the more socially liberal Quebec delegation, which backed the policy 58-42 per cent.

The policy banning biological males from female spaces such as prisons and restrooms passed with an 87 per cent majority. The policy also calls for the establishment of “positive mental and physical health support for all Canadians suffering from gender dysphoria and related mental health challenges.”

Policy 1279, which called for tough criminal penalties against human traffickers, pedophiles, and groomers, passed with 84 per cent support from delegates.

Together, Fonseca said, these policies “form a powerful, pro-family platform” for the Conservatives.

Policy 194 to stop coercive vaccine mandates was also passed.

Policy 908 opposing euthanasia for the mentally ill, disabled, and impoverished who are not terminally ill passed with 71 per cent support. The policy also promotes palliative care and a national senior care program.

No policies that dealt directly with abortion were presented at the convention, although a policy on eliminating the GST on “essential maternity and newborn products” was passed.

CLC also supported a policy deleting a “climate change” language replacing it with a commitment to ensure clean air, water, and land, to and protect biodiversity.

CLC also supported policies calling for pushback against federal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies by banning identity politics and mandatory ideological attestations in government hiring and contracts.

For National Council, there were elections for delegates from B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, with the single national councilor candidates from the other provinces and territories being acclaimed. B.C. and Alberta have two national councilors, Quebec three, and Ontario four.

One pro-life National Council candidate from Ontario withdrew the day before the vote. Two of the three remaining Campaign Life Coalition-endorsed candidates from the province won. With 17 more pro-life delegates in Ontario and five in British Columbia, we could have gained one more pro-life national councilor in each of those provinces.

Numerous constitutional amendments to limit the power of National Council and the leader and restore power to local riding associations, especially when it comes to disqualifying supposedly controversial candidates, was defeated. One amendment would have allowed a local riding association to override a leader’s or National Council decision to disqualify a candidate by a majority vote of the Electoral District Association. To defeat these amendments, the Leader’s office directed all MPs and Conservative staffers to vote against every constitutional amendment under the guise that the party structure as originally visioned by its creators in 2003 was sound.

If there had been about 100 more pro-life delegates at the convention, the tactic would not have succeeded, as each constitutional amendment was narrowly defeated.

Fonseca said despite those setbacks, “This was a very successful Convention for social conservatives because of the amazing policies that were enshrined in the party’s policy handbook.” He said with greater participation at the local level to increase the number of pro-life delegates, there could be even more successes.

While no decision has been announced, the next National Policy Convention will likely be held in Edmonton or Toronto. CLC is encouraging supporters to get involved with their local Conservative EDAs to set the groundwork for greater success in 2025.

Fonseca also said, “now is the time to put pressure on Conservative MPs to uphold these policies,” because “it’s clear the party party base leans socially conservative.”