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MEDIA RELEASE, March 15, 2005

Conservative party nixes David Orchard’s member-observer status at convention!

David Orchard, twice leadership candidate for the Progressive Conservative Party, has had his member-observer status yanked by the Conservative Party leadership just before the convention.

Orchard, like all former PC party members, had his party membership automatically renewed until the end of 2004. He renewed it again in early February to attend the Montreal convention as a member-observer, wanting to witness the evolving nature of the Conservative party. His registration for the convention was sent and paid for online, the receipt of which was confirmed later by phone. Consequently, Mr. Orchard made travel and hotel arrangements to attend the convention which begins in two days.

Yesterday, (March 14) he was notified by the executive director of the party, Ian Brodie, that his observer registration was being cancelled because he was not a member! “Since your membership has expired and has not been renewed, you are not eligible to be an observer,” Mr. Brodie wrote.

When it was pointed out to Mr. Brodie that the membership had indeed been sent and when Mr. Orchard re-sent it online, Mr. Brodie made it clear today that it was not a question of not having renewed, but that Mr. Orchard’s membership was now rejected by the Party's Interim Joint Council. In his words, “The Committee has decided to decline your application for membership.” No reason was given.

The Conservative Party is publicly declaring itself to be a “Big Tent” party, ready to present a moderate face to the electorate. The “Big Tent” appears not to be big enough to tolerate the presence of David Orchard, even as a convention observer!

Mr. Orchard has been urged by many Conservative party members to attend the convention, to see for himself that the party is a changed party, welcoming all, including David Orchard and his substantial support base in the former PC Party, to join its ranks. The leadership of the party has now delivered a contrary message, that it won’t tolerate David Orchard even as an observer of its proceedings, and it has taken extraordinary measures to prevent him from attending.


For more information, contact Rose-Marie Larsson, Media Coordinator for David Orchard, tel: 604-215-5580, rlarsson@telus.net, http://www.davidorchard.com

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