Earlier today, I went on a tour of the new Halifax Convention Centre. Scheduled to open at the end of this year, it will be hosting, not one, but two national political conventions in 2018. In my volunteer role as Nova Scotia’s representative on the National Council of the Conservative Party of Canada, I also serve as vice-chair of the 2018 convention committee.
August 23, 24 and 25, 2018, will mark the first time in Canadian history that Canada’s Conservatives will be holding their national convention in Halifax. Having attended every national Conservative convention since 1993, I have been privileged to see what a major positive impact these conventions have on cities like Ottawa/Gatineau (three times), Winnipeg (twice), Toronto (twice), Quebec City, Edmonton, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. Make no mistake – dollars spent by convention goers in a local economy are dollars that would otherwise be spent in another city.
I can’t wait to showcase my city and my province to more than 3,000 fellow Conservatives and their families from across Canada (I’m sure my NDP friends felt the same time when the federal NDP came to Halifax and 2009 and my Liberal friends will feel likewise when the Liberal Party of Canada comes in the spring of 2018 for their national convention).
This was my third visit to the new convention centre site since the spring of 2016 and it’s great to see the building so close to completion. Halifax Convention Centre CEO Carrie Cussons and her team did their usual stellar job giving new Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and I a tour of the different sections of the new centre.
Joining us on the tour was perhaps the person most responsible for Canada’s Conservatives choosing Halifax for their 2018 national convention – my good friend Cameron MacKeen. Before I was elected to National Council last year, Cameron served in the role from 2009 through 2016, finishing his tenure as Vice President of the Conservative Party of Canada. From 2011 onwards, Cameron was a tireless champion of promoting Halifax as a destination for the party’s national convention. By 2013, I started to hear more and more from leading Conservatives across Canada: “we promised Cameron the next convention is coming to Halifax”.
In July 2016, I was proud to join my colleagues on National Council to ratify Halifax as the host city of the 2018 national convention, which was subsequently announced by Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose at the National Caucus meeting held in Halifax in September 2016. But it was Cameron MacKeen who laid the groundwork of ensuring there was support across Canada to make this happen.
Although he’s a former journalist who now practices law for a living, Cameron is not one who seeks the limelight. But I want to take this opportunity to say so publicly: Thank You Cameron for helping make political history by leading the charge for the National Convention of the Conservative Party of Canada to come to Halifax in 2018.