No one running for the UCP leadership was present for this gathering of “centrist” Conservatives, but it should be noted that seven candidates appeared at a June debate held by the Free Alberta Strategy, a group that promotes provincial sovereignty.
The Centre Ice Conservatives are a four-month old group that claims they are looking to bring nuanced conversation back into the political realm.
“We are not a very united country. I can’t remember a time in my life when Canada seemed less united than it does now,” said Clark. “It’s time for people across the country to recognize how hard it is to keep this country together.”
Clark, who is supporting Jean Charest’s bid to become federal Tory leader, said Canadians need leaders who tell us what we have in common, not hammer away at what divides us. We need to put the brakes on a political culture that drills down, riding by riding, where pockets of support might be for a certain party. She said leaders need to get back to the idea of building broad-based support around the country.
“We’re trying to have deeper conversations that don’t lend themselves well to the environment of a political campaign or political messaging,” said Azim Jiwani, the executive director of the Centre Ice Conservatives. “We’re creating an environment where people are coming together and we’re talking about the common-sense problems that maybe aren’t as exciting, but are really, really important.”