Andrew Bennett will take his message this weekend to the country’s largest annual conservative gathering but won’t be opining about the Tory leadership or the Trumping of Canada.
The former Canadian ambassador for religious freedom, now program director for Cardus Law and a senior fellow with the think tank, will make the argument to delegates to the Manning Centre Networking Conference it’s “imperative” they grasp the importance of protecting spiritual belief and practices.
“Religious freedom as a fundamental freedom relates to how we understand ourselves as human beings,” Bennett told Convivium. “Religious freedom links directly to many other fundamental freedoms.”
Bennett is one of two Cardus program directors featured at this year’s Manning conference. Beth Green, program director for Cardus Education, will be on a panel with Deani Van Pelt of the Fraser Institute to ask whether school choice should be a priority for Canadian conservatives.
The Manning Centre Conference is billed as a “big tent” gathering for conservatives and Conservatives of all stripes. But while the 900 registered delegates this year will rub shoulders at the Ottawa Convention Centre in apparent common cause, there is always a feeling of all-in-the-family contestation between social conservatives and libertarians, professional politicians and grass roots purists.
The program for the 2017 version of the nine-year-old event is heavy on panel sessions such as “Down With The Elites,” “Digital Winners and Losers in the U.S. Election” and the “Future of Alberta Conservatism.” Suppression of dissent on Canadian university campuses also gets attention, as does the idea of pulling the plug on the CBC. Candidates for the federal Conservative party leadership will stage a two-hour debate this afternoon.