Monday, May 30, 2005


You may have read articles like this in the Globe and elsewhere. This one appeared in Metro. It quotes Val Meredith complaining about the nomination process in the Tory party, which is increasingly being hijacked by various special interest groups who sign up a bunch of their diehard followers and take over meetings and get their people nominated for Parliament.

More particularly the article bodyslams the Christian candidates backed by these fundamentalist groups like Focus on the Family and the right-to-life people. What happens is these people sign up all their fellow one-issue Christians to the Tory party in order to try and take the riding over. Unfortunately the other candidates are out of luck because their constituency is entirely made up of people who have no interest in politics and would rather sit at home watching TV. People seeking nominations because they want to change the system and get rid of the special interests are out of luck because the people they want to appeal to are so disgusted with politics that they'll refuse to even participate.

So the one-issue Christians show up in droves and vote at the nomination meeting, and a one-issue Christian becomes the candidate for the party. In some cases they end up winning, and the Tories end up looking like the Stockwell Day Party, hijacked by special interests. Val Meredith actually has reason to complain, because she lost her nomination (and her seat in Parliament) in just such a manner to one of these Christian-backed campaigns. That nominee ended up sitting in Parliament, so the voters in that riding had no problem with it. But the voters in Toronto and in Ontario have a problem with it. That's the problem. These Christians win the battle locally but the party loses the war nationally.

I don't know why these papers are on a crusade against the Christian fundamentalists and trashing them in print, because frankly there are a lot worse people in politics than the fundamentalists. You don't see any fundamentalists breaking too many laws, they don't want to go to hell when they die. I get the impression people are actively opposed to organized religion in this country. Not that I'm a fan of the Christian right either, but still, the Christian right isn't the only group of people hijacking riding association nomination meetings. Anyone with an organization could do it. The David Orchard anti-free-trade people did it in the old PC party and really made a mess of things for a while, getting their candidates nominated. These were one-issue people blatantly attempting to hijack the party and take it over. They failed in the end, but it shows you how easy it is for the special interest groups to hijack the system.

The same thing happens when you have these ethnic groups backing candidates from their own "ethnic" community and then packing nomination meetings in a similar manner. That's what happened to Chuck Cadman and you see how well that all worked out for the party when he ran against us and then voted against us in the Commons. Actually, the Liberal party is even more notorious for this type of activity.

And this isn't just a problem during nomination races. It's also a problem in leadership races. I know of a few campaigns that organized with heavy assistance from special interests and one-issue groups ( David Orchard again, and Stockwell Day with the fundamentalists ). And they do this riding by riding, organizing and sometimes taking them over. It's machine politics, it's disgusting.

I can tell you that the way it's set up right now makes it extremely easy for these special interest groups to hijack a riding. In the case of the fundamentalists, all these people needed to do was go to their local churches and sign everyone up, and get their people all fired up over abortion and same-sex marriage, and haul them to the vote. They'll get their people nominated, no problem. So thanks to this type of activity the Tories now have a bunch of nominated candidates who look like dinosaurs, and the image of the party takes another hit in Toronto and all over Canada. Darnet, why can't these federal Tories try and act like the provincial PCs? Then maybe they'd get elected? Sheesh.

The fundamentalists will say that such criticism is sour grapes, and if you're so opposed to this then why didn't you organize yourself and show up and vote? But frankly, it makes the Conservative Party look bad if special interests of any stripe are running the show all the time. This party is supposed to be demanding better. Well, why isn't it?

Unfortunately there's no easy solution here. What the Tories could do is try and hold primary elections like they do in the United States, but it's so unfamiliar a concept to Canada that it might fall prey to extremely low voter turnout and even more abuse. Ordinary people would still stay at home and these special interests would still be the best organized in rounding people up off the street and getting people nominated, plus you probably will have more attempts by Liberals and by Orchardite-type people to try and hijack the Tories and influence the process. The other possibility is for the party to simply appoint candidates, but frankly that's completely undemocratic.

The third option is to cut off membership sales prior to nominations being held, but that would cut off a lot of ordinary people who want to get involved in getting a candidate nominated. And it wouldn't stop the fundamentalists. They're so organized that they'd find some other way to pack the riding executive with their own people and completely control things, so the ordinary Joes get stuck on the street. See, this is why I'm still involved in the process. Someone's got to stand up to these interest groups and represent the younger people. I'm not some lunatic, I'm just an ordinary citizen trying to speak for the wing of the party that represents the people who want to chase girls, purchase fast cars and watch reality shows and sports on TV every night. If they cut off the membership sales beforehand it would be people like ME getting shafted. Some will say that's a good thing, too. Like these fundamentalists.

I don't know. Personally I would prefer it if this country changed to the American primary system at once, then you'd put a stop to these instant Tories and instant Liberals, and the nominated candidates would all be people who will have proven their ability to get elected. Then there would be no more complaints because the people would have spoken, and if some Christian-religious person got nominated, then too bad. It's democracy, they deserved to win.

Actually, the real reason I'm annoyed with the fundamentalists has nothing to do with nomination meetings and everything to do with the United States. The moral-values people are completely power-mad and getting carried away trying to regulate people's lives by cutting funds for stem-cell research and banning stuff from TV, and nobody wants that, not even down there. Now they're even going after team sports. Just the other day some nutty congressman wanted the New Jersey Devils NHL team to change its name from "Devils". But I think "Devils" is a perfect name for the team. They're in a league that's gone straight to hell, so why not call them "Devils".

Bahahahaha. This blog is all about getting laughs.

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