Now that the national inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act has turned its spotlight on the organizers of last February’s occupation of Ottawa and various border blockades, and they’re not lookin’ all that good, Preston Manning says he wants to have an inquiry of his own.

Mr. Manning in 1990, when he was still relevant, sort of (Photo: Toronto Public Library Archives).

Yesterday, Mr. Manning held a news conference in Ottawa to propose a “national citizens’ inquiry” to take an “independent” look into the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the while observing “the highest evidentiary standards,” of course.

Presumably someone had anticipated that Pierre Poilievre, the Conservative Party of Canada’s latest great hope for the restoration of Harperism, wasn’t going to look all that great when it was discovered that the recipients of his gifts of coffee and donuts also liked posting racist, Islamophobic memes on the Internet and mumbling about how the prime minister was about to “catch a bullet.”

But that’s what’s coming out of the official inquiry, the one headed by a real judge who can compel witnesses to testify and make them swear an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, etc., before they start yakking. 

So, maybe the results would be more satisfactory with another inquiry, one that made a point of talking to those folks who, like the organizers of the Ottawa occupation and the border blockades, “expressed harms concerning isolation, increased divorce or family tension, disruptions to the lives of children and students, job and income losses, business failures, increased mental and physical health stress, reduced health care quality, and limitations on rights and freedoms.”

That line’s right out of Mr. Manning’s proposed “inquiry” website, which also includes a survey by an online market research company’s panel hired by Mr. Manning’s backers to find “three out of four Canadians report having suffered harm as a result of our governments’ COVID-19 policies.”

Stephen Harper, the United Alternative’s possibly unintended gift to Canada (Photo: Justin Trudeau/Flicker).

The superannuated former godfather of the Canadian right used to be kind of wily – consider the machinations it took for the former Reform Party leader to engineer the “United Alternative” at the end of the 1990s, which eventually killed the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and gave us the dreary decade of Stephen Harper. 

But this latest big idea suggests Mr. Manning’s prowess at cooking up clever schemes is declining in his dotage. 

Obviously, like everything he does, if it gets off the ground this will be a partisan enterprise intended to get Conservatives elected, especially in Ottawa. 

It will have no power to compel testimony, and its objectives are pretty obviously not going to be finding ways to mitigate harm and uphold trust in public institutions, as the campaign’s expensive-looking website claims. 

Still, to lend the affair a little spurious verisimilitude, Mr. Manning said witnesses will be sworn in before they answer the softball questions lobbed at them by the inquiry’s yet-to-be-chosen commissioners.

J. Stephens Allen, better known as Steve, former leader of Jason Kenney’s fatuous “Public Inquiry Into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns” (Photo: Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta).

Speaking of whom, Mr. Manning would sure appreciate it if you’d suggest a commissioner or two to him – say, someone like J. Stephens Allen, better known as Steve, who had some experience with this sort of thing as commissioner of the Kenney government’s fatuous “Public Inquiry Into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns.” Donations will also be accepted. 

But getting back to the citizens’ inquiry, just who will these citizens be? I think we all know the answer to that one. 

Which is why, of course, virtually nobody will take this nonsense seriously. Except mainstream media, probably. 

Most of the news coverage yesterday, though, was from those mysteriously bankrolled far-right “news” sites that have been cropping up of late. Plus Postmedia, of course. 

Well, it’s nice, I guess, that Mr. Manning, who is 80, had the opportunity to feel relevant again for a few minutes and celebrate the 35th anniversary of his ascension to the leadership of the Reform Party of Canada 35 years ago Monday. 

Who cancelled Roger Reid? 

Surely one of the stranger Alberta political stories this week is the sudden decision by United Conservative Party MLA Roger Reid not to seek re-election after all in the Livingstone Macleod riding where Premier Danielle Smith resides. 

Roger Reid, the soon-to-be-retired MLA for southern Alberta’s Livingstone-Macleod Riding, home to Premier Danielle Smith (Photo: Twitter/Roger Reid).

Just days ago, Mr. Reid had indicated he didn’t want to step down to make way for Ms. Smith. On Monday, though, he published a statement saying, “while I hoped to serve a second term, I no longer feel it is possible for me to do so.” There were lots more words, but he did not explain. 

Monday, surely not by coincidence, was the morning after the deadline for new candidates to throw their hats in the ring. 

There is, however, one nominated candidate: Nadine Wellwood, former People’s Party of Canada federal candidate, Coutts border blockade participant, and, as political blogger Dave Cournoyer explained yesterday, “prolific sharer of Internet conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and globalist plots.”

The NDP candidate in the riding is the high profile conservationist, author and former superintendent of Banff National Park, Kevin Van Tighem.

Join the Conversation


  1. These pretend conservatives and Reformers cannot be trusted whatsoever. Here, Preston Manning is cooking up some sort of a scheme to get more support for the conservatives, which is lacking to a certain extent, especially in various provinces, such as Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, and is not as strong enough in other parts of Canada, and at the federal level. He is doing it any way that he can. The UCP is one of his concoctions. When one of his plans goes awry, he will try something else, regardless of how unsuccessful the outcome is. Playing games with people’s lives isn’t a smart thing to be doing, given what Covid-19 does. The likes of Preston Manning and Danielle Smith wouldn’t know about that. The lax attitude that Danielle Smith has will endanger more lives, and the public healthcare system in Alberta will be destroyed, so she can privatize it. The convoy protests in Ottawa and in Coutts, Alberta, ended up costing a lot of money in policing costs, and in other costs, but Preston Manning and Danielle Smith also don’t care about that at all. These pretend conservatives and Reformers don’t create any jobs, but only destroy them, and make many suffer. In Alberta, we should be enjoying the oil wealth that Alaska and Norway have, but we can’t do that either, because the UCP has done what Ralph Klein did, leaving us with not much, by allowing us to get fleeced. Seniors, and others get fooled by these pretend conservatives and Reformers, and we end up paying dearly for this stupidity.

  2. Well its nice to see Mr. Manning still gets out some, with a trip Ottawa and all that. While there, maybe he had some private words of wisdom for Mr. Poilievre, who besides his expected fiesty House of Commons performances has been suspiciously quiet lately. I am not sure Poilievre’s sort of boycott of mainstream media is really helping his cause, but perhaps it will end coincidentally right after the inquiry into the use of Emergency Act.

    Now that Manning is sort of an elder statesman, perhaps the media was kind enough not to ask him what he knew about Russian investors trying to entrap former Mayor Nenshi of Calgary. Or maybe in Ottawa they don’t find that to be relevant news.

    I initially had reservations the current Federal inquiry would just turn into a blame or bash the PM political exercise. While Post mortal media has certainly tried to occasionally spin it that way, a lot of truth is coming out that does not make a lot of others look good. I guess you do not proclaim an emergency because things are going well. At this point we’re not sure if the Ottawa police were incompetent, complicit or both and it seems the Ontario Provincial Police sure seemed to avoid doing much helpful too.

    Mr. Manning is not wrong about the suffering and damage caused, but he conflates what was caused by COVID with the Federal government. It is like attacking the Federal government for the hardships of rationing due to World War II. In any event Mr. Manning was in my opinion a very successful opposition leader in his time, so much so that as the old joke goes the voters rewarded him by keeping him in that job. So, yes Mr. Manning show Skippy how its done.

  3. If we had kangaroos here, Preston Manning’s kangaroo court might make some sense. No doubt the Friday convoy from a truck stop in Calgary to the courthouse in Lethbridge will add this to their stack of grievances. Perhaps they’ll be met with police barricades like the last time they protested in Lethbridge. Just don’t dress like a stormtrooper, convoyeurs.

  4. Ad for Epoch Times on the site, Dave.

    Back to the topic at hand…many many comments on NYT, WAPO et al about the (likely) death of western democratic institutions. By positioning his enquiry as just as legitimate, just as important as the ongoing federal one, Manning undermines our faith in and trust for institutions which are the stuff of a modern democracy.

  5. Seems that Skippy Pollivere is calling in some favours from his old friends. Or, at the very least, those who can’t bare to see another CON leader go down in flames at the resourceful hand of PMJT. Presto Manning has decided to step into the whole FreeDUMB Convoy mess as spin a yarn where he will sort all matters out and grant the voiceless a platform to vent against Trudeau, the Globalists, and whatever conspiracy trope they are running with this time. Apart from the Refooooooooormers who may still be alive, I’m not sure if anyone remembers or cares about Manning anyway.

    As for the official and legtimate inquiry into the Ottawa Occupation by the Yahoos, it appears that it’s all been a circular blame game, where public officials or one form or another are point figures and spouting off a stream of what-ifs and could-haves that would have dealt with the occupation. And there were also the multiude of Convoy leaders, where everyone claimed to be in charge, but it was the other guy who was the idiot. Allowing the testimony of Pat King was easily the highpoint, because not only did he blame everyone else, he would do it again because FREEDUMB!!!!

    Watching what little I have time for of the inquiry, it all makes it very clear to me that if one were to send in 9,000 heavily armed Klingon warriors to deal with the occupation, not another peep of opposition would be heard again.

    matay’DI’ maSov. (We do not forgive or forget.)

  6. Somehow I stumbled across this article. Mt Climenhaga, I wonder if you have kids? If you do, do you remember when they acted up and you had to sit them down and get the story about what happened so ‘We can do better next time’. Is that what you would call ‘A clever scheme?’ Seems to me this is what Mr. Manning is trying to do here, something that I have been wondering if anyone would do after the fiasco of the last 2 years. Whatever could be wrong with looking back and saying ‘what did we do right and what could be done better?’ I watched Mannings conference and finally I am seeing some common sense come through. Kudos to him. Im not from Alberta, but it sure seems to me that Alberta is where sanity is beginning to prevail

    1. Preston Manning is a dominionist reactionary who’s entire life’s goal has been the dismantling of this country as we know it. He’s about as trustworthy as the Hamburgler, if you have kids you should know what I’m talking about.

    2. A few thoughts:

      All mass media is propaganda that exists to advance the ideology and ambitions of whoever owns the propaganda empire. CBC is the Canadian government, Fox News is Rupert Murdoch, etc. The owner determines the ideology of their network by not hiring people unless they sincerely hold whatever the owners preferred ideology is. Many think tanks are also propaganda engines, such as the ones named for Broadbent or Manning. Once you stop feeling part of any political party, you start to see that each party is cynical and corrupt in their own way, and you start to see that partisan bickering is just how they prevent voters from uniting against the owning class. You start to see certain patterns of behavior from certain parties and politicians.

      It would be nice if we could constructively try to figure out what went well and what we can learn from the pandemic. Mr. Manning is not intending to do that, he’s intending to further his ideology under the pretense of being a responsible citizen. I would expect another politician to be cynical and corrupt but in a different way, so I would predict different abuses of power from, say, Justin Trudeau (I’d predict him to make a lot of empty, performative statements that make him seem moral without costing him anything, I’d expect big promises that would never happen, etc).

      Jmo of course.

    3. “Im not from Alberta, but it sure seems to me that Alberta is where sanity is beginning to prevail”

      Well, I’m not from Alberta either but based on the newly released polls I see a faint glimmer of hope that maybe sanity is beginning to prevail in Alberta. Although I sure wouldn’t attribute any of it to Preston Manning.

    4. DJC, I will not be offended if this doesn’t make the platform, hit a nerve…rrrrgh!!

      WNW,… it must be those darned gopher holes…..

      I also watched the press conference and my first impression was what “public opinion survey ” ? …74% of Canadians said they were harmed..??? Was that survey from the 60 people who showed up to the test project? I could give you a poll of a survey of people aged between 11 – 72 and 99% said they had no problems wearing a mask, and the 1 was a teenager ( fashion thing) who came around with a little bit of bling….so anyone can pick a # and sqew it for their own purpose. And next Mr Manning already has a company that supposedly gets donations ( another not for profit?) . As I see it, the fiasco you seem to be speaking of was created by a bunch of self centered, juveniles who want their own way, don’t want to take any responsibility for their own actions, have temper tantrums,and haven’t the moral fortitude, or common sense or compassion that oh,let’s see 83% of Canadians did. Like the spoiled teenager, you feel that everything should be done for you, feed me, clothe me, give me an allowance, but pick up my dirty clothes?, mow the lawn, that’s not my job, don’t tell me what to do. You can’t have it both ways.

      And every time I here someone else, with money, going here’s this great idea, lots of people, yada yada, just donate and we’ll figure out what to do with your money, oh but we’ll be totally transparent about how much is collected, from whom, and what it’s going to be used for– oh right, me and my other 2 directors will make all the decisions….
      And be careful out there, those gopher holes are covered with snow now.

      1. Randi-lee: Poll results are obviously impacted by the questions that are asked, but also how tiny regional samples in a panel survey like this are made to reflect underrepresented or missing demographics, how the panel is selected and so on. Reporters tend not to be very knowledgeable about or critical of methodology – mea culpa. My gut tells me this was not a good survey, but someone with more knowledge than me needs to dig into it. I could believe 75 per cent of Canadians thought they were hurt by the pandemic, but blame it on the federal government? Unlikely. Preston Manning is not a nice old gentleman. He’s done a lot of harm to Canada. DJC

      2. Question asked by pollster: “Were you harmed by the government’s handling of the pandemic, or are you currently eating one of your own legs?”

  7. Manning is a washed up, has been small c Conservative poobah whose advice is not worth very much to those who want to win an elections.

    Three CPC losses in a row. Not one seat in the GTA. Only 8 seats out of 116 in the urban areas of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

    His advice may work those in rural areas and evangelicals but it fall on deaf ears for the majority of voters.

    Just think back to his sage political advice and interference. At the municipal level three successful campaigns by Nenshi. The first two being a walk in the park because of substandard opponents and terrible political strategy. Thanks to Preston and the Manning club.

    Would you hire this gentleman to guide your election campaign????

    Sometimes you need to know when to go home, hang up your hat, and focus on your grandchildren.

  8. Re: Roger Reid, surprise eh? It appears that he was possibly going to lose the nomination, with perhaps, not enough support from the constituency association? It may be thought that there is enough radical ‘convoy, anti-vaccine/mandate, dominionist’ support in the riding. We will definitely be voting for the NDP candidate, Kevin Van Tighem, a very worthy candidate, indeed. One pertinent issue here is that we cannot trust the UCP to shut down open pit coal mining out west with its threat to our environment and waters.

  9. This guy Manning in true Reform Party fashion just can’t keep his nose out of it, and like all the rest of these ignorant fools has never once suggested we should be following our hero Peter Lougheed and collecting proper royalties and taxes and running this province properly.This the same Preston Manning who with former Ontario premier Mike Harris spent a year travelling Canada trying to promote the privatization of health care and were laughed at, from what we were told. Too bad these reformers aren’t smart enough to understand that they aren’t wanted, along with the many seniors who are just too dumb to look at the true facts, and believe every lie they feed them.Who do these reformers hurt the most with their stupid policies? The very seniors who are dumb enough to support them, of course, and sadly they take us with them. Let’s hope the people in Brooks and Medicine Hat aren’t the morons Smith wants them to be.

  10. Get a load of Stephen Harper’s comb over. Did Trudeau’s photographer spray his head with Krazy Glue?

  11. DJC, okay, homework done, up till 3….back in the day it would have been a trip to Scott’s Cafe (depending who was working for 3rd or4 th coffee refill) with newspapers in hand, for now Google is handy , and saves roaming the streets..

    Maclean’s article:April 29 by Stephen Maher…
    Preston Manning tries to calm CPC waters..PM has written to CPC contenders urging them to lay off personal attacks……which have been the “achilles heel of the party for some time “….P Poilievre went after the Bank of Canada, saying he would forbid it issuing a digital currency, allow the auditor general to audit it and push for a review of its pandemic policies.

    Ottawa, Conservatives gather…how best to spread their party’s message, and they’ve been told the best way to do it is by knowing when to shut up. The message comes from PM, he referred to Tom Flanagan. He added that Canadians have every right to ask whether those who can’t govern their own tongue can govern the party.

    Kitchener city news: May 6
    P Manning says the sentiments behind the convoy protest can be an “enormous source of political energy ” if harnessed properly. Jason Kenney and Mike Harris, were among those in attendance.

    CBC news: Aug 23
    Liberals could weaponize Conservatives infighting to weaken P Poilievre, Preston Manning warns.

    IMHO, Mr Manning hasn’t been as quiet or homebound as people believe ( not counting his tour d’Canada with Mike Harris) and all his trips to Ottawa …well maybe he’s just making up on lost frequent flier miles, what with that inconvenient pandemic and all….and with PP being “quiet “, as I have stated, what IS he up to??? And the timing of P Manning announcing this NCI ,while the convoy inquiry is going on, just when they are hearing from the so called ” organizers ” is 100% pure coincidence…

    Side bar: yes I am skeptical of polls, I was in Halifax when they did one, the question asked 600 people in the city about a question, relating to an issue pertaining to a majority of rural people & the push back was immediate and they redid the poll to completely different results. This was when I first found out about the #s used,
    And from one pollster *a couple of months ago ” “majority of Canadians “” I looked them up and who they were asking, and found that they have a ” regular ” group they ask, oh from a large & diverse group of 1200-1500, made me even more skeptical. I have abit more faith in our daily local one, and I have found that you can tell the mood of the people by how many people are “yelling ”
    1200 -1500 avg…2000, making a statement, 3000 want our voices heard, 3500 + yelling, pay attention….this to me is a fairer assessment. , but that’s just me.

  12. Maybe, just maybe, the average Canadian wants a place where they can tell their story about losing jobs, losing friends, family, not being able to worship, not being able to travel, gather, eat, celebrate. Maybe some one lost a child to suicide, to drugs. Maybe just maybe when we were told “go make your own platforms” we did, then get vilified for being in echo chambers. All we really want is to be heard, to get some explaination, and get an apology. Those who could “work from home” deserve nothing.

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