Ron Paul to speak at Cdn gathering

Former Republican presidential candidate and libertarian Ron Paul will be the marquee speaker at Canada's premier gathering of Conservatives next month, a figure that even organizers bill as controversial.

Paul will speak to the Manning Centre for Building Democracy's networking conference, an event that in the past has drawn Prime Minister Stephen Harper and many of his key cabinet members and advisers.

Paul, referred to by some pundits as the real inspiration behind the Tea Party movement in the United States, is one of the foremost voices for small government, including eliminating foreign aid, the education department, key social programs and the war on drugs.

He is staunchly anti-abortion, anti-gun control, and opposed to President Barack Obama's health-care reform. The 77-year-old has advocated for an end to Medicare and Medicaid in the United States.

A Texan, Paul is a former doctor turned congressman and currently the chairman of the Campaign for Liberty. He was able to assemble a loyal following over the course of two Republican races in 2008 and 2011, notably with the use of the Internet.

"We oppose the dehumanizing assumption that all issues that divide us must be settled at the federal level and forced on every American community, whether by activist judges, a power-hungry executive, or a meddling Congress," says the campaign's website.

"We believe in the humane alternative of local self-government, as called for in our Constitution."

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