Beyond the gates of the Stampede grounds, however, the mood was less affable. Hundreds braved a snow storm and icy temperatures to show their dissatisfaction with this convention and government's agenda more broadly. The gathering was part of a three-day conference advocating for democracy, the environment, Aboriginal Treaty rights, and human rights.
In perhaps the most significant line of his keynote Harper proclaimed, "As Conservatives, we believe that actions have consequences." Harper might not realize it, but this is perhaps the most telling line of the weekend and goes to the core of the Senate scandal. Opinion polls have slammed Harper for his handling of the scandal, and delegates at this conference have called for him to take responsibility and accept the consequences.
For a party that once appeared expansive and confident, the Conservatives now appear divided, shrinking and defensive. Even delegates arriving in Calgary are puzzled why media has been given such limited access to the convention. One quipped, "It's because of the Senate stuff going on."