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Lone ranger


If you’re not reading this online, go to the nearest computer. Check out this web page: http://www.conservative.ca/team/. Look at the smiling faces from across Canada, all members of the Conservative Party’s team of candidates for October’s federal election.

Scroll down until you find Newfoundland and Labrador. There’s one grinning face: Kevin O’Brien, running in Coast of Bays–Central–Notre Dame. And that’s it. This province has seven ridings; there is one Conservative candidate.
Now go to http://www.ndp.ca/ and check for NDP candidates. There are five, including Jeannie Baldwin running in Avalon. She had to contest the seat against Jenny Wright.
Who else is running in Avalon? Well, Ken McDonald is running for the Liberals. Krista Byrne-Puumala is running for the Green Party. Former Liberal MP Scott Andrews is running as an independent after being booted out of the party. And Jennifer McCreath is running under the banner Strength in Democracy.
Who’s running for the Conservatives? No one. St. John’s lawyer Ches Crosbie offered himself, but party brass told him to buzz off.
If this doesn’t strike you as odd, you were clearly born yesterday. Because never in the history of this province has the federal Conservative Party of Canada (or the former Progressive Conservative Party) only had one candidate ready to roll here so close to an election.
But, you might be thinking, what about the Reform Party, or the short-lived Canadian Alliance Party? Those are the true roots of the new Conservative Party.
Well, in the 2000 election, the Canadian Alliance ran not one, not two, but seven candidates in Newfoundland and Labrador. (One of them, famously, was former provincial NDP leader Peter Fenwick.)
Stephen Harper may be unpopular in this province, but there are still plenty of partisan Conservatives around. Are they being excluded, like Ches Crosbie was? If so, what does it signify that a national party has all but boycotted an entire Canadian province, willingly or unwillingly?
And what does it say about the party that Kevin O’Brien, a poster boy of petty politics, is their sole representative?
Two years ago, as Municipal Affairs minister, he strong-armed organizers of a community breakfast in Gander to uninvite members of the NDP party who had been asked to participate as well. When pressed, he said he was trying to ensure the event was “non-political.”
This kind of hyper-partisan behaviour would normally induce party leaders to hastily douse the flames of controversy. Perhaps, though, this is exactly the sort of candidate the federal Conservatives are looking for.
That would be sad indeed.

Scroll down until you find Newfoundland and Labrador. There’s one grinning face: Kevin O’Brien, running in Coast of Bays–Central–Notre Dame. And that’s it. This province has seven ridings; there is one Conservative candidate.
Now go to http://www.ndp.ca/ and check for NDP candidates. There are five, including Jeannie Baldwin running in Avalon. She had to contest the seat against Jenny Wright.
Who else is running in Avalon? Well, Ken McDonald is running for the Liberals. Krista Byrne-Puumala is running for the Green Party. Former Liberal MP Scott Andrews is running as an independent after being booted out of the party. And Jennifer McCreath is running under the banner Strength in Democracy.
Who’s running for the Conservatives? No one. St. John’s lawyer Ches Crosbie offered himself, but party brass told him to buzz off.
If this doesn’t strike you as odd, you were clearly born yesterday. Because never in the history of this province has the federal Conservative Party of Canada (or the former Progressive Conservative Party) only had one candidate ready to roll here so close to an election.
But, you might be thinking, what about the Reform Party, or the short-lived Canadian Alliance Party? Those are the true roots of the new Conservative Party.
Well, in the 2000 election, the Canadian Alliance ran not one, not two, but seven candidates in Newfoundland and Labrador. (One of them, famously, was former provincial NDP leader Peter Fenwick.)
Stephen Harper may be unpopular in this province, but there are still plenty of partisan Conservatives around. Are they being excluded, like Ches Crosbie was? If so, what does it signify that a national party has all but boycotted an entire Canadian province, willingly or unwillingly?
And what does it say about the party that Kevin O’Brien, a poster boy of petty politics, is their sole representative?
Two years ago, as Municipal Affairs minister, he strong-armed organizers of a community breakfast in Gander to uninvite members of the NDP party who had been asked to participate as well. When pressed, he said he was trying to ensure the event was “non-political.”
This kind of hyper-partisan behaviour would normally induce party leaders to hastily douse the flames of controversy. Perhaps, though, this is exactly the sort of candidate the federal Conservatives are looking for.
That would be sad indeed.

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