UCCA president Michael Smith.
courtesy Michael Smith

Conservative club still holding strong after 10 years on campus

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Now wrapping up their 10th year, the University of Calgary Campus Conservative Association (UCcCA) is inviting students to join Canada’s governing party.

The UCcCA was formed in 2003 after the merger between the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives. The club has since looked to educate and organize students interested in the Conservative Party of Canada.

Recently, their work included a hard-fought campaign for Conservative MP Joan Crockatt, who won last year’s Calgary-Centre by-election by just over a thousand votes.
The club also hosts speeches with prominent Conservative Party members, including Calgary Centre-North MP Michelle Rempel last October.

Michael Smith, who is also the student representative on the U of C Board of Governors, became president of the UCcCA last May. He said a persistent club executive named Chris Philips first brought him to the club.

“I was a Liberal when I first came to campus,” Smith said. “But in my first-year, I had a friend who lived on my floor in residence who was a conservative.”

The two spent much of their time arguing about politics. Sensing Smith could have a change of heart, Philips convinced him to meet some of the UCcCA’s members.

“He said to me, ‘just come to one Conservative club event. Just see if you like it. Meet a few people and see if you enjoy it,’ ” Smith said. “I went and I got hooked.”

Now in his fourth year of study, Smith said he believes most students are conservative, whether they realize it or not.

“What conservatives generally believe is people should be responsible for taking care of their own lives. If you work hard and you are financially rewarded because of that, that should be yours to keep and enjoy the spoils of,” Smith said.

“I think students understand that. They don’t want to pay higher fees so more money can be shuffled around to do different things. They want to focus on the money they have and move forward into careers that will do them financially well.”