July 12th, 2023
By Rick Peterson
I’d like to give you a full progress report as we near the halfway point of our effort announced on May 10th, with a September 20th deadline, to explore the viability of a new, centrist, federal political party in Canada.
A tremendous amount has been accomplished in these past two months, and much of the credit for this has to go to Dominic Cardy, chair of our Centre Ice Canadians Advisory Council. Dominic’s taken a leadership role and rolled up his sleeves on a number of things you’ll see below. He’s enjoyed huge support from Julie Smith, who’s leading our volunteer organizational efforts, with a strong backup from Chisholm Pothier. If you’ve reached out to us on a policy or constitutional issue, have offered to volunteer, or had questions on donations, website, social media or anything else, you’ve likely heard back from one of these three. Behind this leadership team, there is a large and growing network of support across Canada, as you’ll see below. The final decision on whether or not we proceed with a new party application will be made by consensus among our Centre Ice Canadians leadership team as well as our Advisory Council members. It goes without saying that their decision will be largely based on feedback we get from you, and everyone else who’s signed up to follow our efforts, once you see the results of the work described below. There are five key areas we know are top of mind for you all:
Policy - Dominic has put together a framework for policy input, sent it around and received thoughtful, insightful and strong feedback from across Canada. He has begun putting together key pieces of what this could look like and will send it out to you for final comments at some point before the end of August. We know that this policy overview is key to so very many of you who are potentially interested in supporting our effort. This framework will be available for further comment, feedback and thoughts before a final version is nailed down in advance of a September 20th decision date.
Party constitution - Dominic’s the perfect person to take this on given his previous career path in democratic reform and his more current political activism - you can see more details here. With help from a number of you who have volunteered to work on this, Dominic will have an outline of what a new party constitution should look like before the end of August as well. We’ve heard resounding feedback across Canada from Centre Ice supporters that virtually all of you want to avoid membership rules which allow special interest groups to hijack nomination efforts at the local and national levels. Consider that done.
Volunteers - we’ve been overwhelmed by the several hundred people who have stepped up across Canada to volunteer in one way or another. Julie has been tracking all of this, collecting data, working with potential regional organizers, launching a Centre Ice Canadians youth group and generally streamlining what will be - in my view - the most important factor in determining if we go ahead or not: assuring we have experienced, responsible and motivated volunteers to fill key positions. If we don’t have that, there will not be a decision to proceed. But if we do have qualified candidates for a role on a National Council, a Party Executive and a Fundraising Committee, for example, then that is 80% of the battle. Given what I’ve seen to date, it looks very promising.
Leadership & Party Name - the process of selecting an interim Leader, and then a duly elected Leader, will all be laid out clearly in the proposed constitution. If on September 20th, and only then, a decision is made to proceed with the formation of a new Party, that’s when the wheels will be set in motion to file an application for a new party with Elections Canada. We’ve received dozens of suggestions for a new Party name so far, and one of those will be picked by the proposed new National Council at that time. As well, the newly formed National Council would name the new party’s Interim Leader and will set out the procedure for the election of a Party Leader.
Fundraising - we’re so very, very grateful to everyone who stepped up with donations last week following the email appeal that went out to our Centre Ice Canadians supporter base from our good friend Phil D’Eon. All funds raised from this effort will go towards payment of the national survey we commissioned from a reputable national consulting group last spring. This survey provided us with the evidence we needed to proceed with this new party exploratory effort announced on May 10th. The cost of the survey was $30,000 and we’re now approaching the halfway mark in getting this paid off. As Phil pointed out in his email last week, we will not support any efforts on September 20th to form a new party unless we’ve completely paid off this outstanding debt.
I hope this gives you an idea of where we are. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know, or you can reach Dominic directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We still need your support and help in the next 60 days or so before September 20th. Please spread the word, and ask your friends to sign-up for our email updates here. If you’d like to volunteer, please click here. If you’ve got ideas on a policy platform, please click here. And, as always, your generous donation of $20, $200 or more will go a long way to supporting our efforts. Thank you.
Rick Peterson is founder and chair of Peterson Capital of Edmonton, a capital markets advisory firm with offices across Canada and in Europe. He’s co-founder and director of Centre Ice Canadians.