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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

PC Party Should Learn From the Chandler Experience and Fix Its Nomination and Leadership Process

The right decision was made by the PC Party Executive Committee on Mr. Chandler’s suitability for candidacy in the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. The matter is not over. Beyond Mr. Chandler’s indications he may sue the Party for his nomination costs which he says are $127,000.00, the PC Party needs to revisit its nomination and leadership selection processes.

The PC Party, and other political parties too I expect, need to review their nomination process in the light of expectations of accountability, transparency and fairness. Premier Stelmach promised the Party would review and fix the leadership process. Let’s kill two birds and deal with the nomination process at the same time.

Let’s learn from the Chandler experience and do some Constitutional updating. First fairness. If the Leader or the Party Executive has reservations about a candidate pursuing nomination perhaps we need to take a page from the federal CPCs and have a questionnaire and statutory declaration completed by each candidate before they are eligible to run. We can confidentially get a sense of their background and skeletons, if any, and judge their suitability up front. We should not have to rely on Dr. Oberg for this information on skeletons. A suitability test and a decision could be made without embarrassing anyone.

Second, we need full disclosure of donors and perhaps limits on nomination campaign spending to level the playing field and for transparency. If Mr. Chandler spent $127,000.00 for about 950 votes, how did he spend it? Did he buy every supporter dinner in a nice restaurant? For that money? He could have.

Who ponied up $127,000 in the first place? Spending that kind of money at this level of the political process shows that Mr. Chandler is clearly only a social conservative...he is no fiscal conservative, that is for sure. Can you imagine how he might spend of our tax money if he were in government? We need to clean this matter up in the leadership process too. We have been waiting about a year and still don't know who supported Do. Oberg's leadership despite his promise to disclose donors. Dr. Morton said he will not disclose his leadership campaign donors and under the current Party rules - he is entitled to that entitlement. Not good enough.

We have some fixin’ to do in the PC Party around our nomination and leadership processes. This is up to the Party not the leader to undertake this job. Let’s get at it.