Alliance members reflect on leadership woes

Local Canadian Alliance party members took the opportunity Saturday to discuss their new leader as well as policy changes that will prevent the bitter infighting that sparked the leadership race in the first place.
David Leskowski, who has been named to the national council, the Canadian Alliance party’s governing body, spoke at the annual meeting of the local riding association in Kenora.
“He was very impressed with Stephen Harper,” recounted Brian Williams of Emo, who also was re-elected association president Saturday.
“He thinks we have the right leader for now,” Williams added.
Policy changes, such as ways to deal with dissenting MPs, also were discussed at Saturday’s meeting.
“They’re going to be more strict. You can criticize the leader all you want in caucus and cabinet, but you won’t be able to do that nearly so long in front of the media,” he said, referring to the drawn out criticism of former leader Stockwell Day by fellow MPs.
“If it happens again, it won’t be for very long. You’re either with us or against us,” Williams stressed.
“We are a grassroots kind of party,” he added. “Policy comes from the members and an MP can interpret policy all they want and have an opinion on what they want, but putting up personal policy as the party’s is not acceptable.”
Still, Williams said he thinks the party can put its leadership problems aside and focus on the next election.
“I’m not anticipating that as a problem,” he remarked. “I haven’t heard a negative thing about him yet.”
But Williams also said he was a little disappointed in the number of people who turned out for the meeting. He had expected more than the two dozen members who showed up.
In addition to Williams, Hilda Graham of Wabigoon retained her post as association treasurer while newcomer Ken Preston of Fort Frances will take the position of secretary for 2002-03.