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The Calgary Congress Print E-mail

After a year of preparation, the Calgary Congress went off almost without a hitch.

The Congress met from Friday evening September 29 to Sunday afternoon, Oct 1. Under the watchful, sceptical eye of the news media and CPAC television cameras, several hundred people -- over 350 at the Saturday high point -- gathered to discuss and resolve the federal principles our country needs to succeed in the 21st century.

With giant portraits of great political leaders in Canadian history staring down from banners on the high walls of the assembly hall, there was a widely shared feeling that what we were doing marked the beginning of a new era.

We heard from strong federalists such as Preston Manning, Ralph Klein and Jason Kenney on the need to renew the federal union with clearer rules of accountability. We also heard a stern warning from an Alberta separatist, Professor Leon Craig, on what will happen in the West if these reforms are not made. We heard policy analysts from Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver explain why federal policies are holding back all regions, perpetuating needless grievance, and causing Canada to fall short of its immense potential.

The theme throughout was that Canada must forget about "federal sharing" and national social entitlements, and return to its constitutional roots in responsible government and genuine federalism.

The deliberations were animated yet civil, serious but often humorous; and by the end a strong consensus emerged.

It was summed up in resolutions adopted after intense debate on Sunday, and signed that afternoon by almost all who were still present to do it.


Canada needs rebalancing of power and responsibilities in our federation in conformation with our constitution. 

. Provinces should be fully responsible for their own internal social and economic future.

The primary mandate of an elected Senate should be to represent and protect provincial interests, powers and responsibilities.

. Effective counterbalances should be established to prevent the Courts from centralizing powers and expanding the meaning of Charter rights.

If you agree with these resolutions, click here to add your name to the list of endorsements.

Several additional resolutions directed the Congress co-chairs, Danielle Smith and Link Byfield, to present these principles to governments and other interested parties for response.

Congress moderator Andy Crooks wrote this preamble to the resolutions:


"We believe in one Canada; with many Provinces; and a Federal Parliament beside. Where each Province, accountable for its own and to its own, governs free of federal interference within its assigned areas of responsibility.

"We believe that Ottawa’s current practices of governance and wealth transfer are intolerable and pernicious, and should end now.

"We believe that Constitutional and conventional checks and balances should be made a more meaningful part of our political life.

"With these beliefs we submit these resolutions, considered and adopted by a majority of the Calgary Congress convened in Calgary, September, 2006."

Browse our web site for pictures of this remarkable event, a complete copy of the resolutions, speech texts and other details.

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