Constitutional Amendments proposed by Saint John EDA – January 5, 2005
(Changes proposed by Saint john EDA are underlined.)
Proposal #1: Replace Article 6 in the Constitution with the following:
6. Governance Objectives
6.1 The governance of the Party shall adhere to the following objectives:
6.1.1 A full representation of the interests and views of members;
6.1.2 Democratic representation of the membership at National Conventions:
6.1.3 Direct regular communication from National Council, Conservative Fund
Canada and the Leader to Electoral District Associations and Members to
6.1.4 Maintenance of a policy development process which respects and
encourages the participation of all members and which culminates in the
adoption of policy resolutions at National Conventions that will become
the Party’s official Policy Declaration document from which the Party’s
election campaign platform will be developed.
6.1.5 Open and accountable fundraising and financing which are coordinated
with other Party activities and EDA fundraising efforts designed to meet
our Party’s overall objectives.
Rationale: The Conservative Party of Canada belongs to its members. Our Party Members are our Party’s supreme governing body and, as such, they take part in a lengthy policy development process. It is essential that the efforts of our Members be appropriately acknowledged by having the policies adopted by them at National Conventions recognized as the official policies of our Party. By designating the adopted policies as a “resource” that our Leadership may or may not draw upon, the role of our Members in defining our Party will be greatly diminished.
Proposal #2: Replace Article 7 in the Constitution with the following:
7. National Conventions
7.1 Subject to Article 12, the governance, management and control of the activities
of the Party are vested in the members at National Conventions.
7.2 Subject to Article 7.3, a National Convention has the power and responsibility
7.2.1 Amend this Constitution;
7.2.2 Amend and adopt Party policy;
7.2.3 Elect the National Council by secret ballot; and
7.2.4 Conduct a secret ballot of delegates on whether to engage a leadership
7.3 The date, location(s), business to be transacted, and the rules and procedures for
any National Convention of the Party will be as determined by the National
Council. One or more of the matters set out in Article 7.2 need not be conducted
at a National Convention if less than eighteen months have passed since such a
matter was conducted at a National Convention. National Council may convene
a National Convention upon 90 days' notice to the membership.
7.4 There shall be a National Convention with a National Council election at least
every second calendar year, subject to such reasonable extension not exceeding
nine months as may be necessary due to a federal election or conduct of the
leadership selection process.
7.5 The following Party Members shall be entitled to vote as delegates to a National
7.5.1 An equal number not exceeding 10 from each Electoral District
Association elected in such number and in such manner as determined by
National Council which shall include a requirement that at least one such
delegate reflect youth participation, and as an additional delegate the
President of the Electoral District Association as of a date set by National
7.5.2 The Member of Parliament representing an Electoral District
The official candidate of the Party for each Electoral District in the
preceding federal election, or the then current nominated Party candidate
for each such electoral district;
7.5.3 Elected members of National Council;
7.5.4 Leaders of provincial parties;
7.5.5 Former Leaders of the Party; (ex-officio delegates – deleted)
7.6 Between National Conventions, the governance, management and control of the
activities of the Party are vested in the National Council, subject always to the
provisions of this Constitution and motions approved at National Conventions
and by Referenda of the full Party membership.
Rationale: All delegates to CPC National Conventions should be Members in good standing of the CPC. If Leaders of provincial parties are members of the CPC and no other federal political party, then they could be extended the courtesy of being a voting delegate at our National Conventions. Some people may argue that Jean Charest, Gordon Campbell or Mario Dumont are somewhat “conservative”, possibly to a greater extent than some provincial Party Leaders that carry the PC or Alliance brand name.
National Council is elected by our Membership to govern our Party between National Meetings. Although the Leader has a very important role to play in determining the strategic direction of our Party, the National Council must govern, manage and control the activities of the Party. It is important to keep in mind that when it becomes time to elect a new Leader, the governance and management of the Party and the control of Party activities must be solidly in the hands of our elected National Council which is accountable to the Members.
Proposal #3: Replace Article 8 in the Constitution with the following:
8. National Council
8.1 The National Council shall be composed of:
8.1.1 Five members from a province with more than 100 Electoral Districts;
8.1.2 Four members from a province with 51-100 Electoral Districts;
8.1.3 Three members from a province with 26-50 Electoral Districts;
8.1.4 Two members from a province with up to 25 Electoral Districts;
8.1.5 One member from the territories;
8.1.6 The Leader;
8.1.7 The Chair of Conservative Fund Canada, in a non-voting capacity.
(Unelected persons and Party employees – deleted)
8.2 The following may not hold office as, nor be appointed to replace, an elected
member of National Council:
8.2.1 Members of Parliament or Senators, except the Leader;
8.2.2 Employees or contractors of the Party;
8.2.3 Employees or contractors of Senators or Members of Parliament;
8.2.4 Individuals holding a membership in another federal political party;
(Directors of Conservative Fund Canada – deleted)
8.3 The Term of office for all National Councillors shall run from 3pm local time on
the last day of the National Convention following their election until 3pm local
time on the last day of the next National Convention. No Councillor, except the
Leader, shall serve more than three consecutive terms.
8.4 No person shall be considered for selection as a candidate for the National
Council unless that person has signed the following affirmation: "I have read,
understand, and do hereby affirm my personal commitment to the principles
and policies of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Constitution of the
Conservative Party of Canada."
8.5 National Councillors shall be reasonably compensated for expenses incurred
while fulfilling their responsibilities on National Council.
8.6 Immediately following each National Convention at which an election of
National Council occurred, National Council shall elect by simple majority from
its members, a President, 1st Vice-president, 2nd Vice-president and Secretary
and other positions as it may determine. National Council may provide that
such elections occur annually. The President of the Party shall be the Party’s
Chief Operating Officer and the Chair of National Council.
8.7 The National Council has the following powers and responsibilities:
8.7.1 The establishment and recognition of Electoral District Associations and
the terms of their constitutions, including processes for the conduct of
founding meetings, and the transfer of assets in the event of
8.7.2 The development and implementation of rules and procedures to ensure
fair and effective candidate recruitment and selection;
8.7.3 Recognition of affiliated organizations;
8.7.4 Encouraging the participation and recruitment of youth;
8.7.5 The sole authority to appoint persons to the following positions:
188.8.131.52 The Chair and Directors of Conservative Fund Canada
184.108.40.206 The Auditor of the Party
220.127.116.11 The Executive Director
18.104.22.168 The Director of Political Operations
22.214.171.124 The Chair and members of the Arbitration Committee
126.96.36.199 The Returning Officer for the election of National Council
188.8.131.52 The Chair and members of the Leadership Election Organizing
8.7.6 The approval of the hiring of all personnel for National Office and the
Party’s Political Operations.
8.7.7 The establishment of such committees as National Council may determine
for the conduct of its responsibilities;
8.7.8 The enactment of rules and procedures for the conduct of its business;
8.7.9 The enactment of by-laws for matters set out in this Constitution to
be provided by by-law; and
8.7.10 Other responsibilities as set out in this Constitution.
(“as may be assigned by the Leader” – deleted)
8.8 National Council and the parliamentary caucus of the Party shall establish a
liaison committee with equal representation from each body whose purpose will
be to ensure a close and harmonious working relationship between the
membership and the parliamentary caucus.
8.9 National Council, on approval of two-thirds (2/3) of its full membership (not
including those on leave of absence) may remove a National Council member
whose conduct is judged improper or unbecoming, or likely to adversely affect
the interest or reputation of National Council, the Leader, or the Party, at a
meeting called for that purpose.
8.10 National Council, on approval of a majority of its full membership (not
including those on leave of absence) may suspend a National Council
member whose conduct is judged improper or unbecoming, or likely to
adversely affect the interest or reputation of National Council, the Leader, or
the Party, at a meeting called for that purpose.
8.11 Disputes concerning the revocation or continuance of the suspension, or the
removal of the member from National Council, shall be adjudicated by a panel
of the Arbitration Committee, whose decision shall be final and binding.
8.12 The National Council, on the approval of two-thirds (2/3) of its full
membership may appoint members to the National Council to fill any vacancies
in elected positions. The replacement shall be from the same province as the
8.13 National Council shall meet at least quarterly in every twelve (12) month
period, at the call of the Chair or the Leader. It shall also meet upon written
request of at least five (5) National Council members.
8.14 National Council may meet by telephone conference when deemed necessary
for the good order and operation of the Party.
8.15 The voting of National Council on motions shall be recorded in the minutes of
meeting to indicate by Councillor member name his/her vote on each motion, as
follows: (i) In favour; (ii) Against; (iii) Abstained; (iv) Absent. Where a motion
names a person or persons for a position on Council or staff, the vote will be by
secret written ballot, only the number of votes falling into these four categories
will be recorded.
8.16 National Council shall provide copies of the minutes of its meetings (including
teleconference meetings) to all recognized Electoral District Associations within
30 days following the meeting.
8.17 National Council shall abide by the principles and policies of the Party and
shall act in the interests of all Members, not just the jurisdiction from
which they were elected, subject always to the provisions of this Constitution,
and to motions passed at any National Convention, or by referenda.
Rationale: One or both of the parties that merged to form the CPC were governed by an elected body consisting of an equal number of representatives from each province. This was consistent with the former Party’s position that the Senate of Canada should consist of an equal number of representatives elected from each province. The Constitution adopted by the appointees to the IJC has departed from this equality principle. A compromise between “equality” and “number of Electoral Districts in a province” is included in this proposal. It is essential that National Council be composed of around 30 elected persons in order to have enough members to handle the many tasks and responsibilities inherent in the governance of a national political party.
The Members of one of the merging Parties amended their Party Constitution so that minutes of National Council meetings and the voting record of Councillors were distributed to Riding Presidents in a timely manner following each National Council meeting. Our Members, at the time, demanded to know what their elected Council representatives were deciding on their behalf. Our present Members continue to deserve that same transparency and accountability.
The Constitution adopted by the appointees to the IJC does not state who nominates the Directors of Conservative Fund Canada and persons to other key positions within our Party. Clearly, National Council is the Party’s duly elected governing body and, as such, National Council, not the appointed Conservative Fund Canada members, should appoint the Returning Officer for the election of the next National Council. Likewise, our Party’s National Council is the only legitimate elected body that should appoint other senior Party employees and positions including the Directors of Conservative Fund Canada, the Auditor of the Party, the Executive Director, the Director of Political Operations, the Arbitration Committee, and members of the Leadership Election Organizing Committee.
If National Council is not designated to appoint people to the above senior Party positions, who is? Without question it is not in the best interest of our Party to have these key Party personnel appointed by and reporting directly to the Leader’s Office. Leaders come and go. When the time comes for our Party to elect a new Leader, the political arm of our Party needs to continue to function properly without undue influence by the Leader who may be on his/her way out. This is why the CA Constitution was carefully designed so the Leader was not the Party’s CEO.
If our Party is to be run effectively by an elected National Council that is accountable to its members, then the National Council must continue to be guided by duly elected Constitutional Officers such as a President, 1st & 2nd Vive-presidents and a Party Secretary – all of these positions were eliminated by the Interim Joint Council appointees in their adopted Constitution.
Proposal #4: Replace Article 9 in the Constitution with the following:
9. Financial Organization
9.1 The Conservative Fund Canada, a non-share capital corporation incorporated
under and governed by the provisions of the Canada Corporations Act, is the
sole fundraising arm of the Party and shall be the Chief Agent of the Party
pursuant to the Canada Elections Act.
9.2 The Conservative Fund Canada shall consist of the following members:
9.2.1 A Chair, appointed by National Council
9.2.2 Directors elected by National Council from amongst their own number;
9.2.3 Directors elected by National Council from Party Members not on
9.3 The Conservative Fund Canada shall submit quarterly financial reports and an
annual audited financial statement to National Council.
9.4 The Conservative Fund Canada shall submit the annual budget of the Party to
National Council for ratification prior to adoption and implementation by the
Conservative Fund Canada.
9.5 The Conservative Fund Canada shall not authorize or implement substantial
amendments to the party budget without prior ratification by National Council.
9.6 The Conservative Fund Canada shall not provide funding for activities or
programs unless such activities or programs have been approved by National
Council. (“within areas of responsibility of National Council” – deleted)
9.7 Electoral District Associations and affiliated organizations shall provide such
financial information to the Conservative Fund Canada as National Council may
9.8 The National Council may authorize the Conservative Fund Canada to take all
necessary steps to assume control and ownership of all of the assets of an
Electoral District Association in such special circumstances as may be set out by
by-law, including the suspension or revocation of recognition of any Electoral
9.9 Assets assumed under the provisions of Article 9.8 shall be held by the
Conservative Fund Canada and shall be returned to or paid out to the next duly
elected board of the Electoral District Association whose recognition has been
renewed. In the event that such association ceases to exist or does not re-apply
for renewal of recognition within a period of five (5) years from the assumption
of the control of its assets, such assets shall become property of the Conservative
9.10 Any member committing the Conservative Fund Canada or Party to
unauthorized expenditures or indebtedness shall save harmless and indemnify
the Party against any claim, demand, action, debt or cause of action which
may arise as a result of such unauthorized commitment.
9.11 The Party shall maintain a National Office in the National Capital Region.
Rationale: The Constitution adopted by the appointees to IJC does not indicate who nominates the Chair and Directors of Conservative Fund Canada. Clearly, as the body elected by our Party membership to govern the Party between National Conventions, National Council is the only appropriate body to appoint the Chair and Directors of Conservative Fund Canada. Thus, it is only reasonable that Conservative Fund Canada must report directly to National Council.
Proposal #5: Replace Article 10 in the Constitution with the following:
10.1 The Leader is the chief public official of the Party, whose authority includes
that specified for the Leader of a party pursuant to the Canada Elections Act.
10.2 The Leader shall promote the Party, its principles and policies.
10.3 If the Leader is not a Member of Parliament or Senator, he or she shall, upon
written request to the Chair of the Conservative Fund Canada, be entitled to
receive a salary equivalent to that of a Member of Parliament.
10.4 The Leader shall provide a report to, and carry out an accountability session
with, the delegates at every National Convention.
10.5 The Leader shall provide a report to the National Council at least quarterly.
10.6 At each National Convention, when the Leader has not indicated, prior to
the commencement of the meeting, an irrevocable intention to resign, the
delegates will vote by secret ballot if they wish to engage the leadership
10.7 In the event of any of the following, National Council shall implement
the leadership selection process at the earliest convenient date thereafter:
10.7.1 The death or retirement of the Leader;
10.7.2 The Leader indicates an intention to resign by submitting notice in
writing to the President of the Party.
10.7.3 More than fifty percent (50%) of the votes cast at a National Convention
as provided for in Article 10.6 are in favour of engaging the leadership
10.8 In the event of the implementation of the leadership selection process, the
following shall apply:
10.8.1 The parliamentary caucus shall appoint an Interim Leader of the Party
who shall exercise the powers and responsibilities of the Leader until a
new Leader has been selected.
10.8.2 A person appointed as Interim Leader may not be nor become a
candidate in the leadership selection process. An Interim Leader may,
but need not, be appointed where the Leader has indicated an intention
(“ The Interim Leader or his or her designate shall act as chair of
leadership election organizing committee.” – deleted)
10.9 The election of the Leader shall be by way of a direct vote of members in every
electoral district, as follows.
10.9.1 Each member of the Party will have one vote.
10.9.2 Each electoral district will be allocated 100 points.
10.9.3 Leadership candidates will be assigned a point total based on their
percentage of the vote in each electoral district.
10.9.4 To win the leadership, a candidate must obtain a majority of points from
across the country.
10.9.5 Voting will be by preferential vote (single transferable ballot).
Rationale: National Council is elected by our Party Members to serve as our Party’s governing body. As such, National Council is the only legitimate body that should organize a Leadership Selection process within our Party. Therefore, it should be the responsibility of National Council, not the Interim Leader, to appoint the Chair of the Leadership Election Organizing Committee. At every National Convention, our Party Members should be able to assess the status of our Party and to have an opportunity to vote on whether or not to engage the leadership selection process.
Proposal #6: Replace Article 13 in the Constitution with the following:
13.1 Prior to each National Convention, National Council shall create a policy
development process which respects and encourages the participation of all
Members and which culminates in the adoption of policy resolutions at
National Conventions that become the Party’s official Policy Declaration
document, from which the Party’s election campaign platform will be
13.2 Between National Meetings, Interim Policies of the Party shall be determined
by the Caucus and Leader with interim approval by National Council
provided such policies are consistent with the Party’s Policy Declaration
document. Final approval of Interim Policies shall occur at National
13.3 To be carried, a Policy Resolution must receive a double majority vote which
13.3.1 A majority of the votes cast: and
13.3.2 A majority of the votes cast in each of a majority of individual provinces.
Rationale: If the policy adopted at National Meetings only becomes a “resource”, the value placed on input from our Members becomes diminished. The Members of our Party who invest much effort into our extensive policy development process need to know that the final product of their efforts will become the official policy for our Party. Why would any Member of our Party pay upwards of to attend a policy convention that does not produce an official Policy Declaration document for our Party?
Proposal #7: Replace Article 17 in the Constitution with the following:
17. Enforcement and Interpretation of the Constitution
17.1 The Constitution is to be interpreted and read subject to the provisions of the
Canada Elections Act. Unless the context otherwise requires, words and phrases
used in the Constitution have the same meaning as in the Canada Elections Act.
To the extent that there is any conflict between any provision of this
Constitution and the Canada Elections Act or other applicable law, the law shall
17.2 National Council shall provide rules and procedures for the giving of any notice
required under the Constitution.
17.3 Subject to Article 17.1, the Constitution shall govern the affairs of the Party
and in the event of any conflict between the Constitution and any other
document, the Constitution shall prevail.
17.4 All matters not specifically covered in this Constitution are within the purview
of National Council to act with full authority, subject to subsequent ratification,
nullification, or amendment by the Membership. Opportunities for National
Convention delegates to discuss, amend, ratify or nullify acts of National
Council must be provided at National Conventions.
Rationale: An item very similar to the above was added to the CA Constitution by a vote of our Party Members who demanded that our party Leadership maintain a high degree of accountability. The above Article gave power to our Party Members and promoted accountability on the part of their elected National Councillors. It appears that the persons appointed to the Interim Joint Council have removed this opportunity for accountability.
Additional Constitutional Amendments approved by Saint John EDA
Add to Article 8 – National Council
Proposal #8 – Two (2) months to three (3) months prior to a National Convention, National Council shall provide to all Electoral District Associations, the rules, procedures and timelines for the conduct of the National Council election.
Rationale: Our EDA has made repeated requests to National Office personnel to obtain details on the National Council Election Process. As of today, January 20, 2005, we have been unable to receive virtually any information from our Regional Organizer, right up to the Executive Director. This is unacceptable when we are less than two months from the Convention. This guideline needs to be firmly placed in our Constitution.
Proposal #9 – Candidates for National Council must be Party Members and must file nomination papers no later than (1) month prior to the date on which the vote is to be taken.
Rationale: There is no need to leave this detail open to “change on the run”.
Proposal #10 – Candidates seeking election to National Council shall be elected by the preferential/alternate vote method by the voting delegates at a National Convention from the Province or Territory in which that candidate ordinarily resides. When there are not more candidates standing for election than vacant positions, each Member present and voting shall mark “yes” or “no” opposite the name of each candidate on the ballot. Only the candidate(s) receiving more affirmative than negative votes shall be elected to National Council.
Rationale: It should be up to our Members to decide how they want to elect the National Councillors that will represent them.
Proposal #11 – Replace Article 8.7.8 with the following: (new part is underlined)
The establishment of such committees as National Council may determine for the conduct of its responsibilities. Each Committee shall be accountable to and report to National Council. Before any meeting of any Committee of, or established by National Council, there shall be an opening quorum of a majority of the Members of that Committee.
Rationale: Committees established by National Council do a pile of work on behalf of our Party. The requirements for their meetings must be clearly stated to avoid any appearance of abuse.
Proposal #12 – Replace Article 8.13 with the following: (new part is underlined)
8.13 National Council shall meet at least quarterly in every twelve (12) month period, at the call of the Chair or the Leader. It shall also meet upon written request to the Secretary from at least five (5) National Council members. Quorum for all meetings of National Council shall be a majority of its Full membership.
Rationale: The identification of the person who is designated to receive meeting requests and the establishment of a clearly defined quorum for National Council meetings must be specified to avoid unnecessary confusion.
Proposal #13 - To follow immediately after Article 8.13 given in Proposal #13
A meeting of National Council shall be deemed to take place when National Councillors participate in a telephone conference that permits all persons participating in the meeting to hear each other. All members so participating in a meeting shall be deemed to be present in the meeting and shall be included in the quorum. These provisions relating to meetings by telephone conference shall apply to each committee established by National Council.
Rationale: In the past, National Council has conducted the bulk of its work by teleconference. We should leave no doubt about what is required for the conduct of these meetings.
Proposal #14 – National Councillors, upon filing papers to seek the nomination as a Candidate in an upcoming federal election or by-election, shall take a leave of absence as a Councillor and can only resume Council duties when they are no longer a nominee or candidate for the election or by-election.
Rationale: We must adopt this proposal so that National Councilors are not in a potential conflict of interest once they file to run for nomination to become a candidate for Member of Parliament.
Proposal #15 – Replace Article 8.1.5 with the following: (new part is underlined)
8.1.5 One member from each territory:
Rationale: There appears to be broad support across the country for having a National Councillor elected from each of the three territories.
Proposal #16 - Add to Article 8.8 and Article 8.9 the following:
Such a vote may only be held following a written request to the Secretary from five (5) members of National Council.
Rationale: An action to remove a National Councillor is very serious and should only be initiated following a request by at least five Councillors.