Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some Highlights of the CHP Leadership Convention

by Pastor Eric Pennings CHP Prayer/Ethics/Personnel (PEP) Director

A week has passed now since the Leadership Convention has come to a close. We are very excited about the events of the convention. Allow me to highlight just some of the events:

1) Farewell Tribute to Party Leader Ron Gray – At the opening session of the convention, we dedicated an entire evening to celebrate the 13 years of leadership which he provided for the party. He and his wife, Janet, have sacrificed much for the advancement of the Christian Heritage Party through the years. This event was hosted by past deputy leader, Ian Knight, and his wife Leslie. Many members participated in giving tribute to Ron & Janet.

2) New Party Leader Elected - Three candidates for Party Leadership were presented. It was exciting to hear the presentations and participate in several Q&A sessions with the candidates. Jim Hnatiuk, former deputy leader, was elected as our new Party Leader on the first ballot, suggesting a strong mandate among the convention delegates. Please see attached media file for more information on him. The other two nominees for the leadership position made passionate presentations and presented visions that we will be able to capitalize on. Both are on the board in leadership positions. We have a strong and enthusiastic board with a clear vision for advancing the CHP over the next few years. The need to build membership has been acknowledged to be the most important challenge facing us. This will require the participation and commitment of every CHP member to the goal of providing a candidate in all 308 electoral districts across our country.

3) Youth Come Out With a Strong Voice – We had a higher percentage of youth at the convention that we have ever had at previous conventions. Not only were they present, but they participated vigorously in the debates on the resolutions. What a joy to see these youth represent the present face of the CHP and provide a promising future for the CHP. Along with attending all events planned for the convention, they met together in additional sessions. We anticipate that we will hear more from them as they strengthen in numbers and vision for youth involvement across Canada.

4) Twenty-one Resolutions Debated – Our chairman, former board president Mr. Tom Kroesbergen, chaired the plenary sessions and effectively led us through a heavy agenda of resolutions that were presented for debate. We trust that the Lord led our decisions and that each decision will bring glory to Him.

5) Special Sessions - We enjoyed a presentation by William Gairdner on Thursday night. This was attended by both members and non members. To guide us in our policy discussions, we heard from Ida Mutoigo, from CRWRC, on food sovereignty Thursday afternoon. Friday morning, Nadeem Esmail, from the Fraser Institute, provided us with information and a Q & A session on health care. The Mudde Family entertained us Friday evening.

6) Candidate Appreciation Brunch – On Saturday morning we held a celebratory brunch to honour 241 men and women who have served the party as candidates in seven federal elections since 1988. Of these candidates two were highlighted. Baird Judson served in all seven elections as a candidate in PEI. Former Party Leader Ron Gray has led the way as a candidate six elections and five by-elections).

7) New Board Presented – The new board was presented as follows:

National Executive: Party Leader: Jim Hnatiuk

Deputy Leader: Rod Taylor

Executive Director: Vicki Gunn

President: Larry Spencer

Vice-President: Leslie Bartley

Treasurer: Luke Kwantes

Secretary: Marcia Kroesbergen

PEP Director: Eric Pennings

Provincial Presidents: BC – Harold Ludwig

AB – Sya Strydhorst

SK – Harold Stephan

MB – David Reimer

ON – Dave Bylsma

QC – Thomas Sabourin

NS – Louise McKeen

Please pray for the positive transition the CHP is going through. Give thanks for Ron Gray's leadership of 13 years. Pray for wisdom for Party Leader Jim Hnatiuk. Pray that the Lord will lead us, His representatives in the public arena, to further growth and vision as a federal political party. All glory and honour to Him.

Jim Hnatiuk Elected New CHP Leader!!

Media Release---London, Ontario November 07, 2008

At its convention in London, Ontario this week, the Christian Heritage Party elected Jim Hnatiuk of Nova Scotia to be its new leader. The leadership race was the central event of the convention. Ron Gray, CHP Leader for the past 13 years, is passing the torch to Mr. Hnatiuk, a zealous candidate, party recruiter and former Deputy Leader.

CHP delegates gave their resounding support to Mr. Hnatiuk with a first ballot win in a 3-way race. The other two candidates were Harold Ludwig of Abbotsford and Rod Taylor of Smithers, British Columbia. Mr. Ludwig is the CHP's BC President and Mr. Taylor has now been appointed Deputy Leader of the party.

Jim Hnatiuk has been a dynamic member of the CHP ever since he first joined in 2002. He became the Interim Nova Scotia President prior to being named the Deputy Leader at the party's 2005 convention in Winnipeg. The party's only candidate in Atlantic Canada in the 2004 election (against incumbent Scott Brison) and 2006 election (against incumbent Gerald Keddy), he has worked tirelessly to expand the CHP's presence in Eastern Canada. As a result, the party ran five candidates in Nova Scotia in the recent election.

"I am absolutely encouraged by the overwhelming support I received," Jim Hnatiuk said. "It gives me the confidence to move forward with the goals and focus that I brought forward in my campaign."

Hnatiuk is looking forward to strengthening the party and building membership across Canada. He also wants to develop new policies to deal with concerns of the poor and low-income Canadians.

Hnatiuk was thrilled to see the increased number of delegates at this convention. "Many of the delegates here are young people," he said, "and they are the ones at the microphones, debating the resolutions."

Hnatiuk has been married to Ellen for 35 years They have two children and two grandchildren. He operates the largest hunting, fishing and taxidermy business in Nova Scotia. He retired from the Canadian Forces in 1995 after 25 years of service having attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer 1st Class.