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Friday, November 23, 2007

Stelmach Is Reviewing the Chandler Nomination...YES!!!

I am delighted to hear Premier Stelmach is reviewing the Craig Chandler nomination as a candidate for the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta – and that the criteria he is using is the Statement of Principles of the party. Media reports say Premier Stelmach will meet with the PC Party executive committee to discuss this matter very soon.

Good move Mr. Premier. Being leader of a political party and Premier of a province has overlapping elements but they are fundamentally two different things. Mr. Chandler's nomination is a constituency and party matter but it is up to the leader to accept him as a candidate.

The leader’s final decision on candidates reflects to citizens/voters what the PC party will accept as "tolerable" and that should not include intolerance. This decision by Ed Stelmach is sending a message to voters about the character of our political party and our fitness to govern.

I believe Mr. Chandler is inappropriate as a PC candidate and as an elected representative from the PC party given our pluralistic, secular, inclusive and diverse province. He has often expressed views that are very inconsistent with those Alberta values as well as the Statement of Principles of the PC Party of Alberta.

He seems to be more closely aligned with the new Wild Rose Party. They look like they could use his organizational talents as they chase enough signatures to qualify as a new provincial political party before the next election.

Mr. Chandler will undoubtedly respond and make arguments about respect for democracy and freedom of speech. But many of his past actions have been anything but respectful of those values. He has even been forced to publicly apologize for Human Rights abuses in the past.

Premier Stelmach is right. We Progressive Conservatives can’t tolerate intolerance – especially in our political representation. While the democratic process duly nominated Mr. Chandler in Calgary Egmont. A nomination decision is only a recommendation from a constituency to the party. It is not a final decision.

That final decision on the acceptability of a candidate is, and ought to be, with the leader who, after all, has to work with a group that becomes his team at the end of the day. The PC Party selects it leader on a one person one vote basis so we are assured the winner is the real choice of the party membership. Those votes are very personal and individual decisions – not based on some phoney delegated authority of special interests. Given that leadership selection process, Ed Stelmach, as our party leader, should be able to exercise his discretion in accepting or rejecting candidate nomination recommendations from constituency organizations.

By personally consulting with the party executive, Premier Stelmach has shown once again that he brings ability and wisdom to his position as party leader. Legally speaking, seeking advice from the party executive need not be done at all. There is a legislation that gives him a right, a party leader, to override the local nomination process. He can, by law, refuse to sign the papers that turns a nominee into a candidate.

I hope and expect the PC party executive will conclude that Mr. Chandler is not an acceptable candidate and they will support a move to reject his nomination in Calgary Egmont. Do not expect Mr. Chandler and his followers to go away quietly. It is not their style. I would not be surprised if legal actions were at least threatened by Mr. Chandler and his acolytes. But adherence to values of respect, inclusiveness and diversity should not be diminished by any such threats or intimidation tactics.