Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vote for an Independent Conservative. Vote for Jim Ford May 2

OK - it will come as a surprise to many that I am endorsing a conservative candidate in the May 2 federal election.  Well I am.  It is my strong recommendation (for what it is worth) that the good citizens in the Edmonton Sherwood Park Fort Saskatchewan riding vote for Independent Conservative Jim Ford .

I have known Jim Ford for decades.  We were both active in the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.  We were in different parts of that "big tent." He was Reform leaning and I was Red Tory as they come.  We could always  share ideas, address concerns and have real and respectful conversations about issues that mattered.  That is not the case in the current opposition hating hyper-partisan Harper hegemony and that is not good enough.

There is a difference between a thinking independent conservative like Jim Ford and the herd of Harper compliant conservative candidates we see hunkered down and running scared across the country.  We rarely hear from the individual Conservative candidates in this election. When we do it is all just speaking points. This election it is all Harper all the time and he is only talking about the most simplistic, shallow and short-sighted of his own speaking points.  They are used to keep his half-hearted fiscal conservative and disheartened social conservative base happy since he has does so much to betray all of their trust since coming to power.

In conversations with Jim Ford over the years we knew we could thrive on our differences.  We never had to fear each other or deride each other for having another point of view. Jim was always about gathering the collective wisdom of people.  I expect he still is all about that.  That is only part of why I want to endorse his candidacy, again.

We Albertans need to send the Harper Conservatives a message, not the least of which is he should no longer take the support of Alberta for granted. Canada is a representative democracy not a "friendly dictatorship" as Mr. Harper sees it as he rules rough shod over HIS caucus and HIS cabinet in the HARPER government.  If Harper wins a majority  government he will reign and rule over the rest of us and we will all suffer from the natural consequences of such absolute power. 

Chuck Cadman knew that first hand about how Harper uses political power when he was ousted  from the CPC nomination in favour of a Harper loyalists.  After serving many years as a Reform and later Alliance MP Cadman was unceremoniously pushed out of the CPC nomination. Cadman was offended by the tactics used in the nomination process and decided to run anyway.  He won as an independent Conservative - and the Harper preferred candidate came in 4th.  Cadman heard about his 2004 election victory from his hospital bed.  He had terminal cancer at the time but was still the overwhelming choice of his constituents.  Canadians, and especially Albertan, need to take that same rebellious independent spirit that elected Cadman and do it again in ridings all over the country and all over Alberta.

Cadman made a huge difference and a positive personal contribution to good governance in Canada.  Some of you will recall the scandal that erupted when it was alleged that key advisers to Harper were accused of offering a bribe to Cadman to secure his vote against the Martin Budget in May 2005. Cadman apparently refused and in fact, while in chemotherapy,  he flew from his riding in BC to Ottawa specifically to vote for the Martin Budget.  The Budget vote was a tie and the Speaker broke the tie voting with Cadman and the Martin government on the obvious non-confidence motion.

There is so much more to the Cadman story on Wikipedia and other sources if you are interested.  You should be interested,  It is a fascinating story that has been forgotten in the perpetual partial attention world of modern politics.  Cadman was a man of courage, principle and public service.  He had values that he lived by.  He was caring, and conscientious and responsible.  His ethics were not situational and selective as we see in so much of the Harper approach that is often an abuse of his political power.

The Jim Ford I know is an independent thinker - much like Chuck Cadman - and I expect he shares many of the other admirable Cadman qualities.  Jim Ford is a guy worthy of our consent to govern. I strongly recommend the citizens of Edmonton Sherwood Park Fort Saskatchewan.send Jim to Ottawa for your own good, for the good of Alberta and yes, even for the good of the country.