Saturday, April 30, 2005

THOUGHTS ABOUT NOMINATION RACES

I have been looking around for information about the nomination fights going on right now in anticipation of a snap federal election, in part because I want to find out what's happening in my area.

Anyway I found a great new website, Nomination Watch. It tracks all the nomination races going on in the country and I think it does a great public service. Generally these nomination fights are under-reported in the mainstream media, and quite frankly, they feature plenty of action. They're like mini-political conventions.

I was at the one in Don Valley East last year that nominated Dave Johnson on the first ballot. I was there as a Johnson supporter and it was pretty obvious he had the nomination in the bag. His opposition consisted of two party members who had no shot at winning whatsoever and someone else who seemed a little crazy. Anyway Johnson won on the first ballot by such a big margin that it was a joke. Over a hundred people voted.

The Liberal nomination meeting in Don Valley East last year went something like three or four ballots and had several serious candidates, and I heard that it got a huge turnout, more than a thousand people at least. Apparently it pitted ethnic groups against each other- each ethnic group had their candidate and hauled in everyone from their "community" to the convention hall. It also had "Martin" people taking on "Chretien" people, so everyone hated everyone. What I heard was that the winner cut a deal with one of the losing campaigns.

This happens a lot, though, in urban Canada and not just in the Liberal Party: ethnic groups take over riding associations and haul their "instant members" to nomination meetings by the truckload to get their people nominated. There's been lots of news stories written about all this stuff. I think this happens because it's a way for these groups to wield power and have more clout in Ottawa. Personally, though, I hate it. I think it's stupid for people to be voting at nomination meetings based on what ethnic group they're a part of. I only vote in nomination meetings for the best person who I think will win the seat, I don't care if they aren't part of my ethnic group! It would be like me only voting for members of the "Anglo-Saxon Canadian community" or something all the time. It's lunacy, and besides, it's also racist to do that anyway.

The other thing that's been happening in Conservative ridings is that you have old PCs taking on old Alliance types so it becomes a civil war within the party all over again. That's what happened last year in Newmarket-Aurora when the moderates and old PCs backed Belinda Stronach while the Alliance supporters backed Lois Brown. Actually I think it was a good thing that Belinda got nominated, because she won the election. But she only won the election by a narrow margin, even though the whole country knew who she was. If Brown had won the nomination with her so-con views, I am convinced the Conservatives would have definitely lost that seat and we wouldn't be talking about no-confidence motions today.

Anyway that is my rant on nomination meetings. From what I heard the Liberals might not even be holding many conventions, they might appoint a ton of people. I heard all their MPs are getting automatically renominated. I also heard that the Tory MPs won't be facing nomination fights either, their nominations were good for two years or something.

Some of the more contentious nomination fights last year included the Liberals' Tony Valeri beating Sheila Copps in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, Carolyn Parrish beating Steve Mahoney in Mississauga. The Valeri-Copps battle was probably the most publicized one in the country
and thousands upon thousands of people showed up for that one. Ridiculous. For the Tories, I mentioned that Belinda beat Lois Brown in Newmarket-Aurora in a contested fight. There were also quite a few good Tory fights in ridings in Alberta and BC. In BC, MPs Val Meredith and Chuck Cadman both lost their nominations and that's why Cadman is sitting in Parliament as an independent today, because the Tory party in his riding blew it and didn't renominate him. Bunch of fools out there; thanks to them, we might not get an election.

Hopefully that web site will let us know what happens in Etobicoke-Lakeshore with Kells and Capobianco and maybe it'll mention what is going on in the Don Valley area. It also mentions that Tony Clement, who is considering Parry Sound-Muskoka, is also looking at Vaughan as a place to run (!) and all I gotta say is Tony, don't go there! It doesn't matter that it's the 905, Vaughan is the most Liberal riding in the 905, it's HOPELESS. DON'T RUN THERE, TONY!

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