THE URGE TO PURGE RETURNS:THE ALLIANCE, APING REFORM, CANCELS THE MEMBERSHIP OF POLITICAL DISSIDENTS
by: Kevin Michael Grace, Report Magazine
The old Reform Party was shaken by continual purges of MPs, riding associations and party members. The Canadian Alliance (CA) WAS supposed to be different. As Stockwell Day campaign co-chairman Jason Kenney told the National Post "We welcome the support of people for whatever reason. We have a pretty diverse coalition. We want to keep it that way"
But it did not stay that way for long.
Four CA members-Douglas Christie. Paul Fromm, Marc Lemire and Hugh Prendergast have been expelled in the past two months. All four joined specifically to vote for Mr. Day in the CA leadership race. Mr. Christie, a Victoria lawyer who has defended such controversial clients as Ernst Zundel, Malcolm Ross and Jim Keegstra, was kicked out after he announced that he was urging members of his separatist Western Canada Concept (WCC) organization to vote for Mr. Day to give Canada a 'last chance."
Mr. Fromm is a Toronto free-speech advocate who runs the Canada First Immigration Reform Committee, which argues for fewer Third World immigrants. Mr. Lemire is the Web master of Mr. Fromm's Internet sites. Toronto businessman Hugh Prendergast was a Reform candidate in the 1993 election.
Article 3d(iii) of the CA constitution stipulates that membership shall be terminated "for just cause, including conduct judged improper, unbecoming, or likely to adversely affect the interests or reputation of the Alliance as determined by National Council of the Alliance, in its sole discretion, after consultation with the Members' Constituency Association Executive." Mr. Kenney confirms that the Alliance carries some Reform Party baggage. He says, "One of the first decisions taken by the new Canadian Alliance Council was to ratify decisions made by previous Reform councils in that regard [ie., membership],"
In other words, anyone expelled from the Reform Party is automatically expelled from Canadian Alliance. Mr. Kenney claims that Messrs. Fromm and Prendergast ("he told me he was kicked out himself") were previously expelled from Reform and that Mr. Christie had his application rejected.
All three deny this. "That's an outright bloody falsehood," says Mr. Christie. Mr. Prendergast says he quit Reform after becoming disillusioned with Mr. Manning. He claims it took him three attempts to free himself of the party. Mr. Fromm says that after he was first told of his expulsion and the reason for it in September, he informed CA party headquarters he had never been a Reform member. On October 20 another expulsion letter was delivered to him, this time specifying the catch -all 3d(iii) clause. When he opened the envelope, he discovered the expulsion was not addressed to him but to Mr Prendergast. The Report has obtained a copy of this letter.
Canadian Alliance director of organization Morton Paulsen says that Members are typically notified of expulsions," but Mr. Prendergast insists he was not informed and that CA Ontario campaign chairman Dean French "told me I wasn't expelled." Mr. Prendergast is nonplussed, noting he played a significant role in Mr Day's leadership campaign in Toronto and was invited to meet Mr. Day and his wife in Toronto as recently as August 15. Mr. Prendergast reports that he has heard that the Reform Party compiled an enemies' list and speculates he might be on it.
Mr. Christie is angry he first heard of his expulsion not from the party but from the news media. The CA leadership was embarrassed after it told Southam News last month that Mr. Christie was not a member. A spokesman said the membership had "slipped through" but that "minutes after" this had been discovered the National Council expelled him.
Messrs. Christie, Fromm and Lemire are often accused of political extremism, but Mr. Prendergast, an economic libertarian, stresses he does not want loosely associated with their opinions, especially on immigration. 'I'm in favour of open borders," he says. Mr. Kenny chimes the Alliance still welcomes all Comers but adds, "I meant to qualify that by saying as long as they agree with our basic principles." He points out that "Paul Fromm is opposed to our immigration policy. And so, it turns out, is Mr. Prendergast. But CA MP Rahim Jaffer, another open borders man, also disagrees with party policy, a fact he made clear earlier this year. He was not disciplined.
Further expulsions from the party are likely. One candidate is retired journalist Doug Collins, who also joined the party to support Mr. Christie.

Another is Stockwell Day Sr., a CA and WCC member, who calls Mr. Christie "a very decent guy." The Alliance leaders father's views on immigration are similar to Mr. Fromm's, something he has made abundantly clear in letters published in the WCC newsletter.


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