Ron Paul and Preston Manning will share stage at Canadian Conservative gathering

OTTAWA – Former Republican presidential candidate and libertarian Ron Paul will be the marquee speaker at Canada’s premier gathering of Conservatives next month, a figure that even organizers bill as controversial.

Paul will speak to the Manning Centre for Building Democracy’s networking conference, an event that in the past has drawn Prime Minister Stephen Harper and many of his key cabinet members and advisers.

Paul, referred to by some pundits as the real inspiration behind the Tea Party movement in the United States, is one of the foremost voices for small government — including eliminating foreign aid, the education department, key social programs and the war on drugs.

He is staunchly anti-abortion, anti-gun control, and opposed to President Barack Obama’s health-care reform. The 77-year-old has advocated for an end to Medicare and Medicaid in the United States.

A Texan, Paul is a former doctor turned congressman and currently the chairman of the Campaign for Liberty. He was able to assemble a loyal following over the course of two Republican races in 2008 and 2011, notably with the use of the Internet.

“We oppose the dehumanizing assumption that all issues that divide us must be settled at the federal level and forced on every American community, whether by activist judges, a power-hungry executive, or a meddling Congress,” says the campaign’s website.

“We believe in the humane alternative of local self-government, as called for in our Constitution.”

Olivier Ballou, a spokesman for the Manning Centre, said centre president Preston Manning himself will engage in an on-stage discussion with Paul following the former presidential candidate’s speech.

“He’s definitely our biggest attraction and source of controversy,” Ballou said. “He’s one of those guys that people either love him or hate him. It’s fascinating since we announced him seeing the debates online.”

On the Manning Centre’s Facebook page, commenters were divided about the wisdom of having Paul speak at the conference.

“Ron Paul is a fool who will only discredit this fine attempt at preparing conservative minds for the future,” read one post.

“Ron Paul is the best politician in the U.S.A., the real deal. Very smart man, can’t believe he isn’t President he’s so smart,” said another.

Conservative parliamentarians who are on the schedule for the conference were markedly terse in their reaction to Paul’s participation.

“I actually have heard him speak in the past, and while I disagree with what he says on occasion, I’ll defend to the death his right to say it,” said Treasury Board President Tony Clement.

“The Manning Centre conference has a history of bringing up a wide variety of different speakers to appeal to a wide variety of different audiences, so I don’t think that’ll be any different this time around,” said Calgary MP Michelle Rempel.

Although there are many libertarians in the ranks of the Conservative party, including Harper himself, Paul’s small government is a different breed than that expressed publicly by Conservatives in power. Universal health care, official languages policy and supply management are just three areas that would be anathema to Paul’s positions.

Participants might more in common in another speaker — former Australian prime minister John Howard. Some in Harper’s team borrowed liberally from Howard’s campaign and communications style over the years.

Opposition MPs said it’s telling that Paul was selected to speak to Canada’s top Conservatives.

“We know that the right in Canada are getting loonier all the time, but I think it’s very telling that they’re bringing in Mr. Ron Paul,” said NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus.

“Mr. Ron Paul is a marginal figure in the United States where the right are extremely right wing, so the Harperites think they’re going to learn lessons from him? It might show an indication of where their backbench is certainly wanting to go.”

Said Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia: “I don’t understand what wisdom Mr. Paul can bring to the Canadian setting. We’re a very different country with very different issues.”

Paul courted controversy earlier this week when he tweeted that the “death of a former NAVY Seal at a shooting range confirmed that ‘he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’ Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense.”‘

Paul is strongly non-interventionist when it comes to American military activities, and voted against the war in Iraq.




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Ron Paul and Preston Manning will share stage at Canadian Conservative gathering

  1. Harper is a libertarian? That was before he gained a majority government, and he talked the talk. Once in power, walking the walk has proved an entirely different matter.

  2. How do you tweet this?

    Oh, and Ron Paul’s budget would have paid benefits for medicare etc to those who had paid in, but let the young opt out to have better control of their care. he cut a lot to make up for that, but the programs in our country were at the state level, most of them, until the 70s and still are, with the federal bit layered on top. He would return control to the states and communities as our Constitution requires.

  3. CND press wrote this so I won’t harp on this so much. But I find it funny how every right/left leaning media source makes libertarianism look far to the other side to make it look unappealing to their readers/viewers.

    “He is staunchly anti-abortion, anti-gun control and opposed to Obama’s health care”

    What this leftist source won’t tell you is that libertarians disagree with war, and prefer diplomacy. Most libertarians oppose the war on drugs.

    Libertarianism takes makes liberty and freedom from encroaching government the quintessential mark of their ideology. Abortion is a topic where you can argue liberty isn’t the biggest concern, but I argue that whichever side on abortion is arguing for a right. Either the right to kill a fetus or the right for a fetus to survive and become a human.

    Libertarians don’t see things like health care, (federalized) education, and other welfare state items as “rights” because they cannot be guaranteed without imposing on another’s true liberty. Here’s the only way you can guarantee the “right” to health care, either A. a doctor or a charity making sure someone who needs it receives it (libertarian support), or B. Making someone pay into a universal health care system, therefore if someone can’t afford it, we force someone else to relinquish their hard earned money so that it can be provided to them (theft). or C. Just force the doctor to provide it, strip away the doctors free will, and let’s just not compensate him either (slavery)

    Plus the left actually think government involvement in the economy balances the power, and doesn’t allow corporations to gain too much control. They couldn’t be more wrong any government in the economy, makes it unbalanced.

  4. HAHAHAHA HARPER A LIBERTARIAN? Stop trying to discredit the Libertarian movement by making the outrageous claim that neo-cons like Harper are libertarians.

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