As a university student involved in politics and as a CJPAC Fellow, it was inevitable that I would become aware of the Manning Centre Conference. I had attended past political conferences such as political student conferences, political party conferences, and the CJPAC Fellowship conference, but Manning is a unique environment. Although it is a right-leaning organization, the conference offers an array of speakers, including journalists, that provide an alternative perspective to conservative politics in Canada.
At the 2016 Manning Centre Conference, there was one event that struck a chord with me that I think gives you an idea of the types of discussion that take place at the Conference.
During a panel with Ottawa journalists, audience members were given the opportunity to ask questions. Great discussions were had, but one in particular stood out to me showing the dynamics of this conference. One attendee introduced himself as a “Green Conservative”: someone who was right-leaning politically with a passion for environmental policy. His question was about conservative policies on the environment and how the Party can win over Canadian environmentalists. One of the journalists responded by saying that if he must identify himself as a “Green Conservative” that highlights the issue: environmentalists don’t already identify themselves under the Conservative brand, which is something to consider moving forward shaping policy. This discussion typically isn’t had at other right-leaning conferences, such as party conferences. However, at the Manning Centre Conference there is a dialogue about policy and the future of conservatives in Canada that is welcoming and can shape the future of conservative campaigns and leadership.
This year’s conference will be especially important for the future of conservatism in Canada. Friday’s debate with all Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidates will provide another chance for conservatives to hear from the future Leader of the Opposition, and possibly, future Prime Minister. In addition, there will be an opportunity for those in attendance to meet the candidates afterwards. This is another special part of Manning; it brings you into the same room as future and current decision makers in Canada, allowing you to meet and discuss with them what the future holds.
For your chance to hear from interesting speakers, future and current politicians and students with a passion for politics, this year’s Manning Centre Conference should be on your calendar to attend. The student ticket price is heavily discounted but, don’t forget that there are opportunities to volunteer and attend the event for free!
Good luck at Manning 2017!
Rebecca Hubble, Honours B.A., MPA Candidate 2017
Junior & Senior Fellow 2014-2016