Monday, September 29, 2008

An interesting seven-course lunch

You don't need to know where or with whom, but two of us had an interesting lunch today. It didn't have seven courses of food, but we've come away with seven points to consider:

1. No party is going to give up the ability to appoint candidates. But in Halton, the Conservatives were considerate enough to make certain a race didn't start knowing what was coming. The same could not be said of the Liberals in Saskatchewan when Joan Beatty's appointment shut down a nomination contest that was nearly complete.

2. Has the message to the back room boys been delivered already? Lunch might be considered confirmation that it has. If so, what purpose is being served by continuing to oppose Lisa Raitt?

3. The NDP platform has been released. Do we really want votes to go there?

4. Even with a poor start with regards to the nomination process, does Lisa Raitt's potential ability to serve tihs riding well in an upcoming government warrant some sober second thought?

5. Why are we repeating scurrilous descriptions of Lisa Raitt's tenure at the TPA? She was much more effective than some other people have given her credit for.

6. Garth Turner's statements notwithstanding, this riding is in play. Which is stronger? Our frustration at the nomination process or our profound disappointment with Garth Turner?

7. If we have advice to give to the next member of parliament for Halton, what is the likelihood that Lisa Raitt will listen to it carefully? Apparently, the promise is there that we will indeed be given time. What is the likelihood that Garth Turner would hang up the phone on us? Near certainty.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bizarre theories and honest facts

Bizarre Theory: We're really Garth Turner.

The Truth: Really, this is absurd beyond belief.

Myth: Garth Turner is polling well.

The Truth: We still have pipelines into the party, and the local numbers indicate that Halton is truly in play.

If it wasn't a close race, why would we care? Lisa Raitt would lose and the back room boys in Ottawa would learn a lesson. But Lisa Raitt is definitely in contention, and we're concerned that the people in Ottawa will start to think that they know better than local riding associations. For the long term health of our party, we need the back room brokers to trust us on the ground.

Don't vote for Garth Turner, the man who sold his riding out.

Don't vote for Lisa Raitt, the woman who was handed this riding by people who think they own it.

This message from long time Conservatives who care about how both Garth Turner and Lisa Raitt have undermined democracy in our riding. Halton deserves better.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The fake and the farce

In criticizing Lisa Raitt and the way she was thrust onto our riding by the back room boys in Ottawa, the question remains of who true Conservatives in Halton ought to vote for.

Before we answer that, we'd like to make it clear who not to vote for. Clearly we don't want Garth Turner as our member of parliament. When Garth Turner was ejected from the caucus, we stood by him. We thought he took a principled position and we thought he was brave to stand as an independent -- the pure MP, beholden to no party.

Then, unexpected and inexplicably, Garth Turner joined the Liberal Party. Since then, he has become a parody. His fawning professions of loyalty for Stephane Dion inspire a mixture of laughter and revulsion. His behaviour in this election, highlighted by the farcical appearance on CPAC, showed us the worst in how an MP can behave.

Garth Turner posted out letter, but he edited out our criticism of him in the second paragraph. We don't appreciate our words being censored, but we have come to expect this sort of thing from our former colleague.

So we are recommending that Conservative voters in Halton, and for that matter, all voters in Halton, reject both the fake and the farce.

Two of us are sitting on our hands. As for me, I know Robert Wagner. I like Robert Wagner. I think a lot of angry Conservatives and embarrassed Liberals could do worse than vote for the NDP in Halton.

The Letter

The letter we released:

The back room boys in Ottawa have appointed Lisa Raitt as the Conservative candidate for our riding. The decision was announced at a closed door meeting that you as a member were entitled to attend, but were never notified of. As long time members of the riding association we are opposed to this action and do not support her candidacy.

Ms. Raitt has no political or campaign experience. She has no name recognition within our riding or any history of community involvement. She has just recently joined our party, has never been involved in this riding association or participated in any of our fund raising events. She is nothing more than a political opportunist very similar to Garth Turner and we all know what happened after we selected that star candidate.

Ms. Raitt is a government bureaucrat who was appointed to her current government patronage position as CEO of the Toronto Port Authority by the previous Liberal government. The TPA under Ms. Raitt’s direction has consistently lost money at taxpayers’ expense and she was involved in the controversial bridge contract and linked to a scandal associated with that contract.

The fact that Mrs. Raitt refused to put her name forward and go through the nomination process and seek your support, as the other interested candidates had agreed to demonstrates that she has no respect for the democratic process or you as a grass roots member of our party. She instead chose to accept another patronage appointment. If elected her loyalty and commitment would be to her masters in Ottawa and not to the people of Halton, something that Garth Turner will make known to the voters of Halton. He will portray himself as the voice of Halton and Ms. Raitt as the voice of Ottawa. This was confirmed when Ms. Raitt refused to answer any questions at the meeting on the instructions of her political master from Ottawa who was present.

This decision was made by the same party officials who have been named in the Chuck Cadman attempted bribery affair, the “In and Out” election fund scandal and who were behind the decision to kick Garth Turner out of the party for speaking out on behalf of his constituents. This decision is contrary to the democratic process we as Conservatives believe in and goes against our party platform. It is a slap in the face to our Board of Directors who for the past 2 years have been working hard on your behalf to find qualified and suitable candidates to seek the nomination and who have for the past 18 months been asking HQs to allow us to hold a nomination meeting. It is also a slap in the face to you as a riding association member who has supported our association during these troubled times and who has now been denied the opportunity to have a say as to who should represent us in this election.

As long time Conservatives of this riding association we are asking that you not support this candidate, when called upon to donate money or accept a lawn sign we ask that you say no and tell the caller why you are refusing. The party has shown a total disrespect for you by denying you the right to select your candidate and you should not be expected to donate money and support a candidate that could not be bothered to seek your support. Let us send a message to the back room boys in Ottawa that they can not hijack this riding association and get away with it. Losing this riding will not affect the overall result of the election but it will send a message to the spin doctors and back room boys at party headquarters, a message they need to hear loud and clear.