LAKELAND – The number of members from the Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul contingency who travelled to Calgary’s BMO Centre to attend the United Conservative Party’s (UCP) 2023 Annual General Meeting was unprecedented considering the miles it took to get there.
Making the roughly six-hour trip both ways were 187 registered area residents from Bonnyville, Cold Lake, and St. Paul areas.
“This was the largest showing by far from any other constituency,” said Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul MLA Scott Cyr, speaking with Lakeland This Week.
The UCP AGM that took place over the first weekend of November was also the largest political convention in Canadian history with over 3,700 people in attendance, Cyr noted.
Many who attended the convention from the region boarded buses that left the region at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning only to return home at 1 a.m. Sunday morning.
“The turnout we saw goes to show that our region is passionate about having our voices heard and about maintaining freedom,” said Cyr. “When we are engaged and working collaboratively, we can get that provincial attention in the northeast.”
Another milestone for the Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul Contingency Association was reached at this year’s UCP AGM. The local contingency association had three policies and two governance resolutions that were voted in by UCP members at the AGM.
This included policies involving freedom of expression, informed consent and privacy of medical records. These policies stemmed largely from political decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A policy on freedom of expression put forward by the Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul Contingency Association was adopted as Policy Proposal 2.
The rationale behind Policy Proposal 2 states, “Recent events saw Albertans being censored for their scientific, personal, and or religious beliefs regarding government policies because there was a perceived societal benefit to do so.”
“Many professionals, highly educated individuals, and or concerned critical thinking citizens were censored, ridiculed and or otherwise ignored for simply speaking out against and or not accepting the proffered government position on a subject and that may or may not have been correct, and such action on their part is reprehensible.”
Rationale behind adopted Policy Proposal 4 states, in part, “Under no circumstances regardless of provincial, federal, national, or international directive, treaty, mandate, or law should any Albertan not have the right to say no to any medical treatment, therapy, vaccine or otherwise against their own wishes.”
The third policy put forward by the local constituency and adopted at the AGM was Policy Proposal 7, which states, “Health decisions are private and as such these decisions must not be allowed to become a tool for limiting these rights and freedoms.”
Policy Proposal 7 continues, “An individual’s right to accept or deny any and all medical treatments, procedures, vaccines, and or therapies must be allowed to be included in their health care records without that information being a requirement for employment, health care, travel, or access to public and or private goods and services.”
Governance resolutions put forward by the local constituency associations and adopted at the AGM focused on the process of candidate selection rules and procedures.
“We enshrined in governance that it is the members themselves who will always choose their candidates for elections,” said Cyr. “This is a huge step forward in protecting the rights and freedoms of all Albertans.”
He added, “Our constituency has banded together, and we just knocked it out of the park... This is a win for all of us, the more active we are, the more we can press government for more ability to be heard – that is a powerful tool.”
Cyr went on to thank volunteers for making this year’s AGM such a success for the Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul contingency. He gave special thanks to Nestor Shapka who assisted with the policy and governance resolutions that were put forward and the contingency association’s president Mitch Sylvestre.
With the 2023 AGM all wrapped up, Cyr said the local contingency association will redirect its attention to hosting another large-scale event in the region with Premier Danielle Smith as the guest.