Thursday, November 2, 2006

Unhappy Campers with Local MP Colin Mayes party riding

Pandemonium, shouting at Tory meeting

Scott Neufeld November 2, 2006

“A period of pandemonium and shouting broke out.”This line isn’t from the play-by-play transcript of a recent wrestling match. This is a quote from the minutes of the last meeting of the Okanagan-Shuswap Conservative Party of Canada.The minutes show that despite MP Colin Mayes’ victory in the party’s most recent nomination election there are still some deep divisions within the party’s local membership.According to the minutes, the meeting escalated into bickering after a motion was introduced over the objections of several board members. The scene was described in the minutes as “a period of pandemonium and shouting.”Due to a recently passed media policy, only interim riding president Lori De Jong was able to speak to the media about the minutes. She said the minutes were “just about” accurate but refused to comment further on their contents.“Hopefully, we will resolve it in the next meeting and have it all cleaned up,” she said.The Conservative Party’s constitution lays out several functions for electoral district associations including supporting the party’s principles, objectives and policies as well as keeping up a productive association. The riding association is also meant to provide organizational and financial support to the party’s local candidate or MP. They are also involved in recruiting new members and encouraging youth participation in the party.The trouble at the Oct. 18 meeting started when board member Miles Lehn asked to add an item to the agenda relating to a motion of confidence that had been passed to support Mayes at the previous meeting, according to the minutes. According to sources, Lehn’s motion had to do with a letter sent to Stephen Harper from 33 local party members alleging Mayes misled them about a lawsuit laid against him.The motion was deemed out of order and Conservative Party area director Ethan Gorner said the matter was not open for discussion.“Miles was not satisfied with that reply and became somewhat belligerent,” the minutes say.Lehn then asked to have the minutes from the previous meeting read aloud but was told that because it was a special meeting, re-reading the minutes was not required.After the motion was denied, board member Wayne McGrath attempted to table several items for discussion but Mayes’ executive assistant Terri Jones informed that normal procedure is to table all of the items. According to the minutes, Jones was then told to “shut up” as she was not a board member and had no vote.A motion was made to add McGrath’s item to the agenda which unleashed the period of “shouting.” The motion was then defeated. “At this point (former board member) Dean Skoreyko rose from his chair, announced ‘I’m quitting’ and left the room,” the minutes said.The next party meeting is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 15. The annual general meeting has been set for Apr. 14.