Broadbent Institute bemoans Ron Paul’s Canadian speaking engagement

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

A left-leaning think tank is chiding a right-leaning think tank for inviting the 'Godfather of the Tea Party movement' to speak at an event later this week.

The Manning Centre for Building Democracy — of which Preston Manning is the President and CEO — has invited Ron Paul to speak its annual Manning Networking Conference (MNC) which, "brings together conservative-oriented thinkers, interest groups, activists, politicians, critics, and students."

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The Broadbent Institute — named after former NDP leader Ed Broadbent — is "concerned" about it.

Former Republican Congressman Ron Paul has been invited to speak at this year’s Manning Centre convention in Ottawa. Considered the “Godfather of the Tea Party movement”, he will deliver the keynote address at an event about “Big Ideas for Conservatives”.

If you are wondering what Ron Paul has to teach Canadians, or why the Manning Centre has invited him to share his perspective, you are not alone.

Broadbent's team has produced a video reminding Canadians who Ron Paul is.

"The same Ron Paul who recently suggested: The United States should have competing currencies," claims an excerpt from the video.

"And on the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act suggested that it violated the constitution and reduced individual liberties.

"Oh, and it's 2013 and he still doesn't believe in climate change."

You can see the video and accompanying quiz here.

The good folks at the Manning Centre are taking the left-wing jab with a sense of humour.

"The Broadbent Institute is just disappointed that the keynote speaker for their upcoming conference died this week in Caracas," Olivier Ballou, Director of Communications for the Manning Centre told Yahoo! alluding to Tuesday's death of socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Nevertheless, tying the Conservative Party to the Tea Party is a clever political tactic.

Not that anyone should be surprised but, according to the Globe and Mail, the Tea Party isn't that popular in Canada.

Canadians not only feel their economic prospects are superior, they also look at U.S. politics and see an inferior, wobbly, hyper-partisan mess.

[Pollster Nik] Nanos, who conducted the online survey of 1,004 Canadians from Aug. 24 to 29, says Canadians still have a soft spot for U.S. President Barack Obama (he’s doing his best, two-thirds of them say), but when they factor in the rise of the intransigent and destabilizing Tea Party, they “give U.S. politics a rather poor rating.”

[ Related: Tea Party Republicans are their own party’s worst enemy ]

The MNC attracts Conservative Party operatives, staffers and even MPs. In addition to Paul, this year's conference includes panels with MPs Michelle Rempel, Joan Crockatt, Candace Bergen, Jason Kenney, Maxime Bernier and Tony Clement.

According to the conference program, Paul will speak for one hour at 9.15 a.m. on Friday morning followed by a question and answer period with Manning.

The MNC takes place in Ottawa between March 7-9. Registration costs $399 for adults and $100 for students.

(Photo courtesy of the Reuters)

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