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Conservatives to decide Monday whether Calgary convention proceeds

Canada's Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment Michelle Rempel speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 4, 2013.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

The governing Conservative Party says it will make a decision Monday on whether to proceed with a convention next week in flood-ravaged Calgary.

More than 2,000 people, including delegates and observers, are scheduled to gather for a party convention normally held every two years The get-together is supposed to be held at the Telus Convention Centre in the city's downtown, which was beset by flooding Friday.

Fred DeLorey, spokesman for the Tories, said the party will be monitoring the flooding over the weekend in order to make a decision.

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Conservative Party president John Walsh sent an email Friday to party members informing them of this schedule.

"Our thoughts are with our friends in Calgary this weekend as we monitor the flooding which has occurred," Mr. Walsh said.

"Over the weekend, we will be communicating with the various authorities close to the situation, and we will have an update for all delegates on Monday."

Calgary MP Michelle Rempel, who is co-chairing the convention's host committee, said it's too early to say what will happen.

"Right now our number one priority is making sure people are safe and stay safe. We're working very closely with the provincial and municipal officials to offer whatever help is needed," she said.

Asked if the convention could be delayed, she said: "I think it's too early to say at this at this point, because everyone's efforts are focused on keeping people safe."

The city and its first responders have done an "absolutely phenomenal" job, said Ms. Rempel, whose riding borders the Bow River and includes some of the neighbourhoods under evacuation order.

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"We're telling people do not return … don't sight-see. Now is not the time to be going with your blackberry camera to take a picture and post it," Ms. Rempel said, later adding: "This is a very rapid moving river. It's very unsafe. The banks are exceptionally unstable."

Calgary Centre Conservative MP Joan Crockatt said her riding, that encompasses the downtown core including the Telus Convention Centre, is the hardest hit area in Calgary.

"It's going to be a long, tough slog and it will take years to repair the infrastructure damage, not to mention damage to people's homes, yards, vehicles - especially in Calgary Centre," Ms. Crockatt said.

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About the Authors
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

Parliamentary reporter

Josh is a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa. Before moving to the nation's capital in 2013, he covered provincial affairs in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. He joined the Globe in 2008 in Toronto before returning to his home province in 2010. More

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