OTTAWA — Before the Conservative pick a new leader, they will first gather at the end of this month to update the party's policy handbook — last refreshed in 2013, two years after the party won its first majority government.
This year, the Tories will come together to chew over the lessons learned from their election loss in October and chart a path forward. Many have spoken of a need to update the policy guidelines to reach new voters and bring some former ones back into the fold.
Here's a look at some of the resolutions that must first be debated and passed in closed-door workshops before they can be voted on by broader party membership and added to the book.
Some are new additions, others are modifications to existing resolutions.
Environment and economy:
— At least three resolutions propose changes to the party's existing statement on environmental principles. One calls for a commitment to keeping municipal drinking water and sewage free of heavy metals and other pollutants; another proposes adding that the party believes in the "principles of conservation and stewardship of renewable resources."
— Remove the words "greenhouse gas" from the section on clean air and greenhouse gas reductions and replace it with the word smog, among other amendments.
— "The Conservative party supports banning unpaid internships in any federally regulated institution or enterprise that are more than eight weeks in duration and not supervised by an accredited educational institution."
— Removing a very lengthy section on tax relief and replace it with "The Conservative party supports broad-based tax relief."
— "We believe the government should support and encourage the private development of the Energy East pipeline."
Criminal justice and social policy:
— The Conservative party "supports conscience rights for doctors, nurses and others to refuse to participate in or refer their patients for abortion, assisted suicide or euthanasia."
— "A Conservative government recognizes that civilian firearms ownership is a Canadian heritage" as part of three other modifications to existing policy on firearms.
— That peace officers be enabled to issue tickets for simple possession of small quantities of marijuana.
Marijuana in baggies are displayed for sale at a downtown 4/20 event on April 20, 2014 in Vancouver, B.C. (Photo: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
— That the existing policy stating the party would not support any legislation on assisted suicide be replaced with a call for national standards to govern such legislation because "we believe that all Canadians have the inalienable and private right, after deep personal reflection, to make their own end-of-life decisions."
— Removal of existing ban on supporting same-sex marriage legislation, while adding support for freedom of religious organizations to refuse to perform unions or allow use of their facilities for events that are incompatible with their faith and beliefs.
The role of government:
— That a national referendum must be held prior to implementing any future electoral reform proposal.
Foreign policy, Canadian culture and diversity:
— Establish year-round manned bases in the North to solidify sovereignty and increase infrastructure for development.
— That the party believes in a "mutual obligation in the form of a military covenant between the people of Canada and each individual member of the Canadian Forces ... this covenant recognizes that there is no equivalent profession to that of service in the Canadian Forces."
— Adding the words "safety to Canadians" as part of a statement on how refugee resettlement should be approached.
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