Sunday, December 9, 2007

Calgary Egmont: The Neverending Story

Word comes today that ousted/stepped down (depending on who's telling the story) consitituency president David Crutcher is considering a run for the PC nomination in Egmont.

Crutcher, as you know, is also a close associate of Craig Chandler, having worked on his campaign for the nomination before the Chandler/PGIB "One Riding At A Time" electoral machine ensured his election to the presidency of the constituency association, thus easing Chandler's path to the nomination. Since the PC Executive and Premier Ed Stelmach have rejected Chandler's nomination, Crutcher would be seen as a "Chandler-by-proxy" by the people who contributed to Chandler's alleged $127,000 nomination bid (note: HOLY CRAP!!!) and the social conservatives who bought memberships in the party purely to support Chandler, thus ensuring that their interests are represented over the great unwashed and silent moderate majority.

One has to wonder, if whomEVER the "One Riding At A Time" folks get elected to sit in Egmont is going to be busy representing the donors of the fabled $127,000 (note: HOLY CRAP!!!!), who, exactly, is going to be representing the voters and non-voters of the riding? NOTE: The following example is absolutely, 100% hypothetical. I have heard or read nothing to substantiate this, it's completely, as far as I know, 100% fictional. Please, Craig, don't sue me. If Birthright, for example, donates $50,000 to a candidate and he wins, but the majority of the riding's citizens are pro-choice, which view is the candidate, as MLA, going to champion? The view of the people in his riding, or the view of the group that bought $50,000 worth of favours and influence? Any candidate associated with Chandler's $127,000 price tag is going to be suspect, for that same reason.

Crutcher doesn't come without baggage of his own, mind you... he ran in Egmont for the Alberta Alliance in 2004, garnering 14% of the popular vote. In 2005, he finished 3rd in the leadership race for the Alberta Alliance. He joined the PC's in July of 2007 (yes, he wants the nomination after a whopping 5 months as a member), and (as covered earlier in this post) was successfully planted as president of the constituency association shortly thereafter. Among Crutcher's stated opinions:

  • Supports an Alberta provincial tax on consumer goods
  • Supports publicly funded alternative medicine in order to save money and resources
  • Supports traditional marriage and is pro-life
  • Supported Alberta's separation from Canada if the Conservative Party of Canada did not win the most recent federal election
Crutcher, whose campaign was run by none other than Craig Chandler, came under fire during the Alliance leadership race for what were described as "bully" tactics, including repeated threats and promises to sue party members who expressed negative views of Crutcher's campaign and candidacy. Sounds familiar.

Of course, none of the above is considered "baggage" by the Chandleristas. They'd mark it under "Qualifications".

Crutcher has requested that the PC Executive and Premier review his eligibility to run for the party, and notify him whether or not his candidacy WOULD be accepted, should he win.

On this, David and I agree.

Certainly, the PC Party of Alberta needs to reform its nomination process, and set up some sort of vetting process for potential candidates. In absence of one at this time, and considering the delicate state of affairs in Egmont, I think it's reasonable that ALL PC members in Egmont should hope that they won't be asked to trudge out of their homes on some cold January day to vote, only to find that the vote won't count if cast for Crutcher.

Of course, the PGIB Campaign Machine would likely also appreciate the "Heads Up" as, if Crutcher won't be approved by the party, they may be able to talk Erik Gregson into giving up his rumoured designs on Calgary Fish Creek in 4 years, and try to run in Egmont as the official "Chandler-by-proxy".

After all, the group's stated purpose, straight from the pen of PGIB Godfather and Kingpin Craig Chandler, is thus:
...the PGIB is launching a campaign to take back the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party called ONE RIDING AT A TIME. This campaign will help conservatives such as yourselves to win nominations within the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party... We can take ownership of the party and win nomination by nomination.

Gotta win a nomination, first. What better way than by getting your candidate pre-approved by the party before spending your $127,000 to buy the riding's nomination.

I wonder what it would cost to "take ownership of the party"... let's see, 42 ridings is a majority, 42 times $127,000... $5.3 million. To take control of the party that, in government, controls around $35 Billion annually. Seems like a bargain.

On second thought, maybe a vetting process is exactly what they want... 42 pre-approved candidates are better than 1.

The well is already being poisoned by Chandler for Jonathan Denis to run for the nomination again... so who's going to run against Crutcher?

ADDENDUM: It seems, based on murmurs in the ether, that Crutcher, Chandler and crew fully expect the Crutcher nomination to be squashed. In fact, they seem to be counting on it. After which they'd likely present another vocal evangelical to be rejected, and then another, until finally they could hold a news conference and declare their experience as proof positive that the PC Party of Alberta hates/doesn't want or value or welcome/is biased against Christians, and all the Christians in the province should vote for whatever party they're joining/taking over/founding.

The only way to stop this, of course, is to allow the candidacy of one of their chosen delgates, and then have the party members in Egmont simply CRUSH him in the nomination vote, without any "interference" from the party brass. Chandler apparently figures that nobody can beat a PGIB campaign machine-backed candidate with grass-roots, last-minute organization. He may be right, but it would be glorious to prove him wrong - at which point he'd still move on to the "PC Party and their members in Egmont hate Christians" step outlined above.

Just a quick note, in response to the press conference that hasn't happened yet... the PC Party isn't against Christians. The PC Party is against preaching intolerance in the name of Christ.

Which, I suspect, Christ would be opposed to as well.


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the smart thing for the PC party to do is nothing. Crutcher demands approval before standing. "Sorry. That's not the way the party does it." If Crutcher then declines to stand ... that's his decision. PC problem is gone. If he runs, he's going to have a problem raising money and/or volunteers, who won't want to work for nothing. If he runs anyway, hand loses, no problem for the party. If he wins, then they get free press proving that they are middle-of-the-road party by nixing Crutcher.

Anonymous said...

I have never said anything anti-gay please provide factual evidence.

What has happened is I have had words attributed to me that someone else said.

Attributing these words to me is wrong.

Also David Crutcher wanted and elimination of all other taxes, replaced with a consumption tax.

Your comment of that David supports an "Alberta provincial tax on consumer goods" without mentioning the eliminanation of other taxes is typical of a LIEberal.

Enlightened Savage said...

Craig: Thanks for stopping by.

First, to your points...

I know you've never said anything anti-gay, and the letter in question wasn't written by you. In fact, I understand you have gay friends. My point was that the PERCEPTION of you is as "anti-gay" - perception, in politics, being often far different from reality, and all TOO often, more important than reality as well.

As for David, if you have information regarding his policies, I'd be happy to post them here. What little I could find in the public sphere, I posted. Reality, as we know, has a decidedly liberal bias.

And, for the record: No provincial or federal ballot ever cast by me (I vote in every single election) has ever been marked for the Liberal. Or the NDP candidate.

susansmith said...

So are you saying that no matter how unprogressive the party becomes you still vote for them?

I guess you just think that being anti-gay, anti-free choice, is not ok, but not worth while voting for.

Enlightened Savage said...

Jan: I'm not saying anything of the sort.

I just think politics should be a discussion about what we can help people to become and achieve, not what opportunities we should deny people.

Anonymous said...

I thought that Crutcher said he was going to quit the Alberta PC party if Craig Chandler's nomination was refused. Either he changed his mind, or he just bought a new membership card.

I have no quarrel with the guy, but he did run under the Alliance banner last time, and he has been a member of the Alberta PC's for less than a year. He has also said less-than-gracious things about various members of the Party during the Chandler affair. So I think it is fair to ask where his loyaties lie.

If he is throwing his hat in the ring just to prove a point, then it is questionable he would receive the same vote total as Chandler. Agree with him or not, but Chandler ran because he wanted to be an MLA, and he managed to organize people to come out an vote on that ideal. Crutcher is running because... his friend was refused the nomination. Harder to put together an election slogan over that.

Anonymous said...

It is probably a lot easier to burn through $127,000 when you're handing out $5 bills in the parking lot outside the nomination. Discretion has never been noticed as a common trait of these guys.

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is the fault of Chandler and his minions. They are so discredited there's nothing they can do to "poison the well" to anyone.

My bet is that the second place finisher runs and wins by acclamation or the Premier appoints him.

Enlightened Savage said...

Anon @ 1:08 - I appreciate the sentiment, but don't know if I share your analysis. After all, to many local PC members, Chandler and his team were persona non grata during the first nomination race, and he cruised to a dominant electoral victory.

If it's not his personal popularity, then it has to be his organization - which is transferrable to any candidate that the PGIB decides to endorse and get behind.

As far as the second place finisher (Jonathan Denis), there have been rumblings from Team Chandler ever since Dec. 1st that Denis was in a conflict of interest position by virtue of his firm and thier connection to the Human Rights settlement and decision. Although, with Chandler out of the nomination race, the conflict disappears, too...

If the Premier opts for another race, he runs the risk of the next PGIB candidate getting nominated, and going through this nightmare all over again, losing face and giving the PGIB more "anti-democracy" ammo. An appointment might be the answer - suffer some short-term embarassment for the sake of avoiding long-term embarassment at having to over-rule the same constituency, and its members, twice within a few months. I'm available, Mr. Premier... ;)

Anonymous said...

Red Ed Stelmach sure has egg on his face from this one.

If he were smart he would have told Craig Chandler months ago that he would not be accepted - now this controversy will drag out and costs the PC's plenty of votes.

In fact, if the PC's lose enough votes to the Alliance, Wildrose, and Green Parties (which are all set to run full slates of candidates in the next election) this will cause all three Tory Edmonton seats to be up for grabs as well as between 8 - 12 more seats in Calgary.

If Ed were to lose ANY seats in the next provincial election as well as see the PC's popular vote decline you can bet the PC Party's organization, which is still controlled by Dinning loyalists, will kick him out and go for round 2 of the leadership race.

Anonymous said...

New Candidate in Calgary Egmont

VIcki Engel -

Anonymous said...

Vicki Engel and Don Middleton are both Chandler plants.

Enlightened Savage said...

Anon @ 11:55 - I hadn't heard Don Middleton was running.

As for them being PLANTS, I'd need to see something substantive to back that up. I know that Vicki worked on Chandler's campaign peripherally, but that's not the same as Crutcher running for the nomination.

I also have to question the logic behind planting a candidate in the PC spot for the riding in which Craig is running as an independant. Would the hope be that the "plant" would come out during the campaign and throw their support to Chandler, withdrawing in the process and forcing the PC voters to choose between Chandler and Williams? That's the ONLY logic I can see in such an action - unless I'm missing something.

Anonymous said...

This is a post that I made on another Blog when I was accused of being a supporter of Craig Chandler. Please forgive my recycling.
Wow, I can't believe that the mentioning of "family values" has become such a negative thing. It is really unfortunate that Craig Chandler has had that kind of impact. That being said though, I appreciate that people have this kind of healthy scepticism around anything that may be related to the Chandler group.

This is taken from Wikipedia, and it echoes my sentiments on "family values". "In a New York Times survey, "Five percent of the women and one percent of the men defined family values as being connected to religion or the Bible. Nine out of ten women defined family values as loving, taking care of and supporting each other, knowing right from wrong and having good values."" My political viewpoints are conservative and as a father and a human being I agree with the above quote. Families need to be closer knit, and spend more quality time that a bad thing?

I am also confused as to the concern about the mentioning of my church. People should not feel threatened with the fact that I present myself as a member of a church congregation. It speaks to a problem in perception with organized religion, that I will not discuss here. Suffice it to say that I volunteer with children at my church, and try to attend on a regular basis. My personal beliefs are just that - PERSONAL. I would not and do not try to impose my views on anyone. I do believe in healthy debate and that different opinions need to be expressed. I believe that elected officials must get their direction from their constituents...not the other way around.
Finally, I was not a supporter of anyone who sought the nomination in Calgary Egmont. I was truly neutral, as I was the Assistant Returning Officer.
Check out my website (which is only half done) at

Enlightened Savage said...

Don: Recycled or not, it's well-said, relevant, and more than welcome here.

Thank-you for coming by, and do come again. I hope to cover the nomination in some detail (it is, after all, my home riding, and my party of choice), so don't be shy about getting in touch.

- E.S.