Monday, October 23, 2006

Colin Mayes MP / hush hush at local party riding

Tories funnel media
Scott Neufeld
October 23, 2006

Following several stories in recent months fueled by internal leaks, the local Conservative association has voted to close their ranks.The local riding’s board of directors voted in favour of a policy that the president will be the sole spokesperson. Local interim president Lori De Jong said the policy was put into motion because of leaks during the nomination race this past summer but would not go into specifics about what was exposed.“(The policy was passed) because of certain leakage,” she said. “At one time there were certain things leaked by board members.”The policy was passed before a letter from 33 Conservatives alleging MP Colin Mayes had misled them was sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, De Jong said. When asked if the new policy has worked since it was passed De Jong said, “I hope so.”However, a number of Conservative party members have expressed their displeasure with the new policy. One member would only say that he did not like the policy but added, “I am committed to honour that.”A party representative who asked not to be quoted, said it is normal for any organization to have an authorized speaker. The representative said further that the decision to prohibit individuals from speaking was made at the local level and was not imposed from on high. After Wednesday’s board meeting, former riding president Dean Skoreyko announced his resignation saying the meeting was the least democratic one he’d ever witnessed. In his letter of resignation he said to De Jong, “As chair you had an obligation to uphold the constitution of the party and not allow what transpired.”Skoreyko said later he would not comment on what had transpired at the meeting to upset him. He said his main reason for resigning was to focus on his business and his personal life.But Skoreyko said it wasn’t the new policy that led to his resignation.“It’s there so you don’t get someone spouting off to the media,” he said. “So there is something of value to it.”The departure of the recent nomination candidate marks the third board member in the past few weeks to step down. De Jong said that the other two resignations were expected while Skoreyko’s was not. She said that there was nothing on the agenda to upset Skoreyko.“The only thing on the agenda was the date of the AGM which we had to change,” she said. “Nothing else.”With the new policy De Jong said local party members will deal with issues in house rather than in the press.“I hope we will all be united and stand behind our member of parliament,” he said. “Going to the press doesn’t always help.”