On Saturday March 20, Calgary will take its turn to host a conference touted by the organizer as "the political event of 2010."
The 'Think Big Conference: Inspiring The Leaders Of Tomorrow' is presented by the Société Macdonald-Cartier Society (SMCS), an organization founded by Immanuel Giulea that describes itself as "non partisan and independent." However, it turns out that Giulea is, in fact, an extremely partisan individual with strong Conservative ties.
Giulea is a product of the Young Conservatives, and is currently active in the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). He attended the 2008 CPC convention in Winnipeg, happily posing for pictures with every high level Conservative at the event, as well as the 2009 CPC Training Conference held in Ottawa. These events are reserved for Conservatives only, are tightly guarded, and are not open to the public.
A quick look at Giulea's Facebook profile provides some insight into his political motivations.
Among his 'favourite quotes', Giulea lists the following:
"Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." - Ronald Reagan
"Government is not the doctor. It is the disease."- Milton Friedman
"A government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims." - Ayn Rand
A snapshot of the Facebook groups Giulea belongs to reveals his ideology: The Conservative Party of Canada, The Tea Party Movement Of Canada, The Maple Tea Party, Fox News Canada, and Wildrose Alliance Party - Official Group.
This 'non-partisan' nature continues with the obligatory 'Obama as a Joker' picture used by the Right Wingers in the United States.
Knowing these facts about the founder and executive director of the SMCS, it's worth taking a closer look at the Think Big Conference Giulea is hosting.
The Calgary Beacon presents a very exciting look at the event in an article entitled 'Big Thinkers Proposing Big Ideas At Saturday Conference'. Here you'll find a friendly summary of the two keynote (and very Conservative) speakers; Tom Flanagan, former chief of staff and long time advisor to Stephen Harper, and Dr. Roger Gibbins, the president of Canada West Foundation. (Take note that the author of this article, Calgary Beacon editor and publisher Markham Hislop, will be moderating the event.)
What the Beacon fails to describe are the additional speakers at this event who, upon closer examination, raise a few eyebrows:
-John Carpay, Executive Director - Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF)
The CCF describes itself as "a registered charity, independent and non-partisan. We act as a voice for freedom in Canada's courtrooms and law schools." It also happens to be the group who represented Shona Holmes, the Ontario woman who starred in the Americans For Prosperity (AFP) anti health reform ad in the United States. Holmes, it was later revealed, misrepresented her medical condition in order to fit the ideology of the anti health reform movement. The ad, filled with lies and falsehoods, succeeded to smear the Canadian health care system and inject fear into the American people. For the AFP, it was mission accomplished.
-Joseph K. Woodard, Founding Member and Director - Canada Family Action Coalition (CFAC)
The CFAC calls itself a 'grassroots organization', but in reality is a part of the Christian Coalition, an extension of the ultra Right Evangelical organization Focus On The Family. Among its board of directors is Charles McVety, the anti-choice, anti same sex marriage, anti evolution, host of Word.ca on CTS and The Miracle Channel.
The CFAC lists the following articles on its site:
-Sex Education a Danger - and a Failure
-Gardasil A Dangerous Poison
-Pedophile Promotion By Public Education System
-Human Rights Actions Dangerous -- Even Illegal
-Joseph Quesnel, Policy Analyst - Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP)
The FCPP is a right-wing think tank closely tied to 'Friends of Science', the Calgary based astroturf anti climate change group. The FCPP and Friends of Science collaborated in bringing the king of the deniers, Lord Christopher Monckton, to Canada for a cross country speaking tour.
A senior Fellow at the FCPP is Tim Bell, a long time scientific advisor to Friends of Science.
Other conservative contributors at the conference include Tory defector Rob Anderson, MLA for Airdrie-Chestermere - Wildrose Alliance, Todd Hirsch, Senior Economist at ATB Financial, Marcel Latouche and President and CEO of The Institute For Public Sector Accountability, and Richard Truscott, Director of Provincial Affairs at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
One contributor who is definitively non partisan is the very respectable Janet Keeping, President of the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership.
In essence, the Think Big Conference is a gathering of anti-government, anti-environmentalism, anti-choice, homophobic Right Wing ideologues; a forum where they are free to push their agenda and twist information to fit their beliefs. It seems to me that the Think Big Conference is suited for small minds only.
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