Almost unnoticed by the media but included in Stephen Harpers’ victory speech was a most fitting and appropriate thank you mention of Preston Manning, founder of the old Reform Party and later the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance.
When he created the Reform Party in Vancouver in 1987 Preston Manning initiated nothing less than a transformation in Canadian politics culminating in the majority Conservative government Canadians elected May 2. This was long a vision both he and his father Earnest Manning shared.
Manning accomplished in 10 short years what it took Jack Layton and the NDP some 50 years to realize. The Reform Party and Manning became the official opposition starting from an obscure grassroots movement, something unprecedented in Canadian politics and this paved the way for subsequent mergers of conservatives across the country to form the now governing Conservative Party of Canada.
Preston Manning is truly an unsung hero and one of Canada’s great political visionaries.
He continues to tirelessly work in the background to champion the cause of democratic and political reform through his writing and as founder and president of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. Conservatives — and Canada — owe him much.