Claiming they don't want the process to be captured by special interests, the Conservatives have decided to employ what could be the very first closed-door public consultation.Let me back up a little here. I had professors at Carleton who were right-wing nutbars. I have no problem with right-wing professors, and I have little problem with right-wing professors who occasionally bring their own political views to the classroom -- I was a political science student, it's kind of inevitable. I give right-wing profs exactly the same latitude I give the left-wing profs, and truth be told I had twice as many lefty profs who annoyed me as I did right-wing profs.
They have hired pollster Conrad Winn to conduct a poll, and a think tank to convene a series of focus groups across the country. Citizens will be probed for their thoughts on the role of political parties in policy development, the decorum (read lack of it) in the House of Commons, Senate reform, civic engagement and, oh yes, electoral reform.
(In particular, I had a rightist history prof who couldn't help but rant about the corrupt Liberals every day. In a Chinese History class.)
My point is, I hope you'll believe me when I say that I'm not so ideologically intolerant that I would reject a professor simply because they hold or espouse views I disagree with.
Conrad Winn is not just conservative. He's so conservative that other conservative students follow him around from class to class, year to year. Entering one of his classes is like entering a poorly-constituted cult: you've got the new people who have no idea what the fuck is going on, and then you've got the true believers.
I enrolled in his class shortly after New Orleans was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and I remember quite clearly listening to Winn accuse CNN of "playing the race card" in order to help Democrats politically. This was in 2005, when there was no election. One of America's blackest cities was left to drown by the Federal government, but according to Winn CNN was "playing the race card."
Maybe I was still too angry about Katrina, maybe -- no, definitely -- I was just creeped out by the pod people. In any case, I am somewhat ashamed to say I walked out of the class and didn't look back, something I had never done before and don't plan on doing again.
So let's just say I can't wait to see what kind of crap Winn puts together on electoral reform. I expect a detailed poll telling Canadians that what they really want is for 2/3 of Parliament's seats to be given to Alberta.