Revealed: Secret conservative conference program 

Highlights of this weekend’s Civitas conference in Ottawa

Monday, October 19, 2015 - Calgary, Alberta - Conservative party supporters arrive to an empty room as they wait for party leader Stephen Harper to speak from Calgary, Alberta on Monday, October 19, 2015. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

(Photograph by Chris Bolin)

For 20 years the Civitas Society has been meeting to discuss the future of Canadian conservatism. Stephen Harper spoke to the group repeatedly, and used an early speech in 2003 to begin the process of uniting Canada’s conservative parties. As secret societies go, it’s not all that secret, really. But members are asked not to divulge one another’s identity publicly, or to share details of the conference program. But after I mentioned Civitas in my latest column, I was sent the program for this year’s conference. (Note to Civitas disciplinarians: There’s no point guessing who sent it. You’ll guess wrong.)

Highlights of this year’s conference include a debate over whether Harper was a success, with David Frum, the former speechwriter for George W. Bush, arguing the affirmative and John Robson, the former Ottawa Citizen columnist, saying nay. Participants include Conrad Black, Ezra Levant, Barbara Kay and Polish ambassador Marcin Bosacki.

Perhaps you’ve wondered what goes on behind closed Conservative doors. Now you’ll know.

Civitas Program 2016 by Maclean’s Magazine


Revealed: Secret conservative conference program 

  1. Trump and Trudeau II: How did this happen?!?

    If I could pick a session to be a fly on the wall, this would be the one. I’d love to hear what right-wing insiders tell themselves about the current state of North American politics. I’m picturing a lot of “WE HATES IT” in Gollum’s voice…

  2. I actually had one of the participants listed in this program tell me the conference was “the Davos of North America”… fortunately it was said in an email so the individual couldn’t hear my howls of laughter…

    • Given the idiocy that passes for intellectual thought at Davos each year, why would any conservative lower him or herself to that comparison? We should have been embarrassed as Canadians when allegedly conservative politicians like Harper and Flaherty attended Davos. I’d expect as much from Trudeau, but I hope the next Conservative leader is more discerning as to what types of international pageantry we need to engage in. I am sure I’ll be disappointed.

  3. A conservative gabfest featuring an American debating a talking head for hire, with support from an array of characters including, but not limited to an Brit ex-con, a right-wing grifter, a pit bull hater and the ambassador from a country that just a elected a right wing government that is turning fascist faster than you can say “toss out the Constitution”. All that’s missing is the whiny presence of Preston Manning.

  4. Merit Canada, the union-busting lobby group that met Harper directly several times in order to have C-377 adopted (later rescinded by the Liberals). A bill denounced by Constitutional experts.
    Also, Ezra Levant as a guest. It says all about this extreme right-wing group we need to know.

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