Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mr. Premier - Just Say No to Mr. Chandler!

The PC Party Executive and its leader, Ed Stelmach, is coming together in Red Deer this Saturday to consider if Mr. Craig Chandler’s nomination in Calgary Egmont is in the best interests of the party. I am unequivocal in saying that it is not.

Mr. Chandler’s record speaks for itself and is being well exploited by Liberal Bloggers and well documented and commented on in the main stream media in Alberta and now nationally in the Globe and Mail editorial pages. These commentaries are focused on Mr. Chandler’s attitudes and beliefs and issues with matters decided by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

The record of Mr. Chandler speaks for itself and is well documented. I also think this matter has some purely crass political elements that need to be considered as well. The Stelmach government has some serious challenges in retaining and recruiting electoral support in Calgary.

The Calgary response to the Stelmach Cabinet appointments was shock and awe as they felt frozen out of their usual place of power and influence. The loss of former Premier Klein’s seat to the Liberals in the by-election in Calgary Elbow earlier this year was a very clear shot across the Stelmach bow. The recent full court press on the royalty review emanating from the energy towers in downtown Calgary is another unsettling example.

The PC party appears to be at least organizationally inert in Calgary and that ennui allowed the Alliance Party to take over the Egmont PC constituency and to be very effective in nominating Mr. Chandler as their “favourite son.”

To accept Mr. Chandler’s nomination means the citizens as voters in Calgary Egmont will see the Candler candidacy as nothing more than the Alliance party in a Progressive Conservative wrapper. That means the PC Party will effectively forfeit this seat to the Liberals if they accept Mr. Chandler’s nomination. How can forfeiting a seat to another party be in the best interests of the party?

Chandler’s candidacy will be the election story in Calgary and may be seen by Calgarians as yet another slight to that city by the PC party offering a candidate who has a proven record that does not respect the human rights of homosexuals. Calgary is a modern, inclusive and cosmopolitan city. It is hard to see a circumstance where Calgarians will embrace a candidate with these values and attitudes of Mr. Chandler. They are so out of alignment with how that great Canadian city sees itself.

There is not a single compelling reason to accept Mr. Chandler’s nomination on merit, principle or even based on pure politics. I can’t imagine how the Ed Stelmach that I know could see any way that he would welcome Mr. Chandler to his team as a Progressive Conservative candidate in Calgary. But politics is a strange business so we will have to wait and see how this all unfolds (or unravels) on Saturday.