Wednesday, January 11, 2006

SASKATCHEWAN RACE: DAVID ORCHARD JOINS THE LIBERALS

Now comes word that the Liberal Party is now supported by another reputable figure in the world of politics, David Orchard, who is backing the Liberals in Saskatoon-Wanuskewin according to Calgary Grit.

The question I have is why is David Orchard supporting the Liberals? And why would the Liberals even want this guy? David Orchard is basically an anti-free-trade extremist who wants to seal the border. His views, far from being conservative or even progressive-conservative, would fit in with the Green Party or the NDP. To have him rummaging around the Liberal Party is quite bizarre. It makes the Liberals look like they are the party of wingnuts! It raises a lot of questions about whether the Liberals are interested in sealing the border, scrapping NAFTA and so on.

When you look a little more closely at who Orchard is supporting it makes a little more sense. Orchard is supporting Chris Axworthy, a former member of Parliament for the area who interestingly used to be a member of the NDP. In fact he sat in Parliament as a New Democrat, sat in the provincial Cabinet as a New Democrat and ran for the provincial leadership of the NDP. Then Paul Martin co-opted him and these other ex-NDPers. So no wonder Orchard feels at home supporting him. But why would the Liberals want Orchard, that's what I wonder about. Who's next, Joe Clark?

By the way, Wanuskewin is the most right-leaning riding in the entire City of Saskatoon. It covers the whole north end of the city which leans in a conservative direction anyway, and it encompasses the rural section which includes towns like Warman which are absolutely filled with social conservatives. These people probably think the Conservative platform is too liberal!!!Also, the part of Saskatoon that makes up Wanuskewin is the very same area of town that was responsible for sending Ray Hnatyshyn to Ottawa for so many years, as a PC. It's currently held provincially by the Saskatchewan Party, one of the very few urban seats it has at the moment. Practically the whole rest of the city is NDP provincially.

Granted, the NDP vote is always very strong here and they were able to win here occasionally. The NDP candidate, Jim Maddin, was once Mayor of Saskatoon and will probably steal votes away from the Liberals. It's not totally hopeless for the Liberals, they were able to capture a seat in this riding at the provincial level in recent memory. Former Liberal leader Jim Melenchuk held the seat provincially in the north end of Saskatoon, before he joined the NDP. Maybe that's why the local Liberals feel they have a hope. But federal politics is a different story given the current boundaries. The Liberals also got drilled here in 2004 with the same candidate they're running now.

And David Orchard's involvement is the kiss of death. He lost every race he's ever attempted. The history:

1988- fought nationally against Brian Mulroney and Free Trade. Lost.
1998- Lost PC Leadership race to Joe Clark
2000- Lost race for Parliament in Prince Albert as a PC, badly.
2003- Ran for PC Leadership again, eliminated on third ballot. Did infamous deal with Peter MacKay.
Late 2003- MacKay tears up agreement with Orchard. PC Party holds vote on merger with Alliance. Orchard fights the merger with his "No" campaign and also tries to block it in court. Merger is approved with 90% of the vote. Orchard also loses in court.
2006- Joins the Liberals and supports Chris Axworthy. Look at the polls, man, to figure out what is going to happen next.

I think the UBC Political Stock Market should have a special category for name politicians: buy, sell, hold, etc. They would rate Orchard's status at the level of "junk bond". Totally.

1 comment:

Adam Letourneau said...

Hi Chris –

I couldn't find your email. Sorry to have to use the comment section.

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Regards,

Adam Letourneau

http://canadalawstudent.blogspot.com/