One of Chandler's supporters referred to the process as a "witch hunt", trying to disqualify Chandler based on his religious beliefs. Note to Chandler supporters: Politically active Christians who believe that society should reflect their own personal religious beliefs don't SUFFER from witch hunts, they HOLD them. Just ask every unpopular, unmarried, educated, independant-minded woman left in Spain after 1834... both of them.
Now, then, the question becomes: What now?
- For Craig Chandler, it will likely be threats of lawsuits, a run for Egmont as an independant, possibly a run at the Alliance or Wildrose leadership, and a lot of anti-PC vitriol to come on the Freedom Radio Network.
- For PC's in Egmont, another nomination contest. Several people - including yours truly - would have seriously considered running for that nomination were Chandler not already on the ticket. With his hand-picked president already in place and years of surreptitious fundraising and campaigning behind him, no one could have possibly hoped to beat him. With Chandler out of the picture, more candidates may step forward. Jonathan Denis remains a strong candidate, if he's interested. The Tories CAN simply APPOINT a candidate, if they so wish - but I wouldn't count on it. If they DO decide to appoint someone, though... they've got my number. ;)
- For the PC's Province-wide, a renewed push by the Wildrose and Alliance parties to paint the party as "out-of-touch, arrogant", and the like. Those holding rural seats of discontent will have to hope that the prospect of a rural premier will over-ride the general distrust that this incident might stir up over the Tories being "taken in" by the "Gay Agenda".
- For the Alberta Liberals, more bad news. They may have a shot at coming up the middle in races that were already going to be tight, with some of the social conservatives staying home, or voting for someone other than the PC candidate over this... but the Liberals were really, really hoping to be able to label the Tories as "the party of Craig Chandler".
Chandler spent thousands of dollars - whose thousands, we're not sure - running his campaign over the past few years. He sold memberships to people who had never been inclined to support the Tories in Egmont - most of those will likely not vote Tory now. But he got his voters out to the nomination meeting, and registered the most votes. He was the choice of the majority of the party members in Egmont, to represent them on the hustings.
Ed Stelmach, a year ago, was the choice of the majority of the party members in the province of Alberta. They chose him to lead this party, and defend it against destructive forces both external and internal.
Today, Ed did just that.
Should the party re-imburse Chandler's costs? Sure - it's only fair. If the decision had been made earlier in the process, the money would never have been solicited, accepted, or spent. But the PC Association of Alberta doesn't OWE Chandler a nomination to run for this party... it is far too easy to stack a nomination meeting or constituency board, as we saw all too well in this case. The democratic process can, and is, corrupted by those who have the finances and connections to manipulate the system. Knowing this, the party constitution allows the Leader to disqualify nominated candidates for the greater good of the party. Which he did today.
Sometimes, Craig, it doesn't matter how smart, loud, well-spoken, connected, crafty, Christian, or well-prepared you are. You can't run from a record of supporting bigotry - and such a record MUST disqualify you from running for a party that bears the word "progressive" right there in its name. You're a smart guy - you knew this was coming.
But there's no such thing as bad publicity - especially in politics. You weren't going to get the moderate votes anyway - but all the social conservatives in the riding, and many in the province, who had never heard of you before this now know who you are. They like what they see.
Maybe that was the point of the whole exercise... after all, you can't buy that kind of publicity. "This guy doesn't like queers... me neither, maybe I'll vote for him...". Can't really get that commercial to run on CFCN. But it's on every station today.
Crazy? Or crazy like a fox?