Thursday, December 27, 2007

"The Power of Words..."

Nation, much has been made lately of the fact that Will Smith thinks that Hitler wasn't so bad.

The only problem with the story, of course, is that it's completely false.

Never ones to let the truth get in the way of a good ratings bump, though, the media are all over it like a fat kid on a cupcake. After all, they can get away with saying it as long as they quote the source of the article - if you can be a journalist by interviewing journalists on your television show, then surely you can be a journalist AND avoid culpability by quoting other journalists and then asking someone for their reaction to the other journalists work.

(On an aside, that sounds a lot like what many bloggers do - but we're not "real journalists", as Big Media so often and derisively points out... and then they proceed to do the same thing.)

Immediately after the article was released, the Jewish Defence League, which proudly trumpets itself as "the most controversial... of all Jewish organizations (note to JDL: Calling yourself "controversial" and proudly trumpeting the fact that you get hate-mail from illiterates doesn't make you good at what you do, or important... ditto for Ezra Levant, Michael Coren, and Rick Bell) issued a release which said, in part:

... Smith's comments are ignorant, detestable and offensive. They spit on the memory of every person murdered by the Nazis. His disgusting words stick a knife in the backs of every veteran who fought so valiantly to save the world from those aspirations of Adolf Hitler. Smith's comments also cast the perpetrators of the Holocaust as misguided fellows rather than the repulsive villains of history they truly were.

If people do not understand how idiotic and insensitive it was to make such a comment, it is like a Jew saying that James Earl Ray, the assassin of Rev. Martin Luther King, was basically a good person who did a "bad thing."

The Jewish Defense League is calling on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to repudiate the comments made by Smith, his friend and supporter.

The Jewish Defense League also is calling for movie theaters to stop showing Smith's movie I Am Legend, a science fiction story about a man-made virus that has killed off most of the world's population. The JDL also is asking the movie-going public to avoid going to see the movie, which received mixed reviews, and is asking executives in the entertainment industry to cancel future projects planned for Smith.

The Jewish Defense League also vows to confront Smith if ever the chance occurs.

Okay, so let's review...

Smith's comments were "ignorant, detestable, and offensive". They "spit on the memory" of 6 million murdered Jews and every Allied soldier who died fighting the Nazis. Smith was "idiotic and insensitive" to make the comments. They played the race card, heavily, and even went so far as to request a repudiation from "the black guy running for president, who must be one of Will's friends". They then called for a boycott of his movie, which they insinuated wasn't all that good (nice of them to throw in a thinly-veiled movie review in the midst of a statement of outrage). They ask that Will never be allowed to work in Hollywood again, and they say they'll "confront him" when the chance occurs.

Of course, things got a little more clouded when Smith fired back at the allegations, which was immediately after he heard of them, stating:
"It is an awful and disgusting lie. It speaks to the dangerous power of an ignorant person with a pen. I am incensed and infuriated to have to respond to such ludicrous misinterpretation. Adolph Hitler was a vile, heinous, vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet."

All right... it looks like the Fresh Prince isn't that into Hitler after all. Now, we wait for the JDL's retraction. Oh, look, here it comes now, in its entirety...

The following statement was issued by Will Smith through his publicist after JDL publicly condemned the words he used in his interview with The Daily Record: “Adolf Hitler was a vile, heinous, vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet.”

To Smith, JDL says: This is what you should have said in the first place.

While we do not believe Will Smith is a Jew-hater by any stretch of the imagination, we stand by our original assessment that his original comments were offensive. He thinks there is goodness in everyone but, sadly, that is far from true. Smith's articulation of such a naive view is not only worthy of derision, it is worthy of condemnation since it is always dangerous to whitewash evil.

Will Smith’s apology is enough for us to call off JDL’s request for non-attendance of his motion picture, I Am Legend. We also have no problem with anyone who wishes to employ him.

In a related matter, the Jewish Defense League supports the Hollywood writers and hopes the strike is settled soon so that Smith, a very talented actor, can continue doing what he does so well.

Umm... what about THIS part of Will's statement, JDL?

"It is an awful and disgusting lie. It speaks to the dangerous power of an ignorant person with a pen. I am incensed and infuriated to have to respond to such ludicrous misinterpretation."

Don't so much want to deal with the implication that maybe Will DIDN'T say what you attacked him for saying?

Okay... so, on second thought, Will is not a Jew-Hater (very big of you to admit that), but he IS naive... you don't want people to boycott the movie... something about the writer's strike... Will has talent... I guess you're not going to "confront him" anymore... umm... what about THESE points?

Smith's comments were "ignorant, detestable, and offensive". They "spit on the memory" of 6 million murdered Jews and every Allied soldier who died fighting the Nazis. Smith was "idiotic and insensitive" to make the comments. They played the race card, heavily, and even went so far as to request a repudiation from "the black guy running for president, who must be one of Will's friends". They then called for a boycott of his movie (later rescinded), which they insinuated wasn't all that good. They ask that Will never be allowed to work in Hollywood again, and they say they'll "confront him" when the chance occurs. (both rescinded).

The problem, JDL, is this: By originally painting Will Smith with the anti-Semitic brush, screaming it to the high heavens, and then issuing a watered-down half-hearted clarification, you have, in essence, DEFAMED him. You attacked him without confirming your facts. You were prejudicial. You attacked the man's character, reputation, work, and intelligence, without a shred of proof beyond an unconfirmed quote in a newspaper article.

So, as we do in cases of defamation, we consult the Anti-Defamation League. After all, they clearly state their principles right at the top of their website:

... to stop the defamation of the Jewish people... to secure justice and fair treatment to all...

Will's part of "all", right?

From the Anti-Defamation League:

New York, NY, December 26, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed and accepted actor Will Smith's clarifying statement that Adolf Hitler was "a vile, heinous, vicious killer" and not someone to be held up as a good person.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We welcome and accept Will Smith's statement that Hitler was a 'vicious killer' and that he did not mean for his remarks about the Nazi leader to be mistaken as praise. Once Smith realized that his remarks may have been misunderstood, he took immediate steps to clarify his words and unequivocally condemn Hitler as an evil person. We would have expected no less from a celebrity of his standing in the strata of Hollywood stardom.

Unfortunately, in citing Hitler in what appears to be a positive context, Smith stirred up a hornet's nest on the Internet, where hate groups and anti-Semites latched on to the remark and praised it. If anything, this episode serves as a reminder of the power of words, and how words can be twisted by those with hate and bigotry in their hearts to suit their own worldview. This is why all celebrities bear a special responsibility to weigh their words carefully, and an obligation to speak out against racism and bigotry whenever even a whiff of it appears, as Will Smith has done in this instance.

Okay... good stuff. I'll keep reading, and I'm sure there will be a reference made to the need for the JDL to apologize and retract their statements about Will's character, intellect, work, et al...

Sorry, come again?

There IS no more?

Nation, herein lies the problem with "social justice" organizations... they're very into "justice for all" in public, but in reality, they're about pushing their own agendas.

Now, there's nothing wrong with pushing your own agenda. It's your time and your money, and you have every right to do so. I support, with my voice AND my money, several pro-Israel and Jewish groups and charities. I agree whole-heartedly with the cause and calling of the ADL. But these groups, ESPECIALLY groups with the influential voice of the Anti-Defamation League, have an obligation to choose their words as carefully as (as they kindly point out in their own release) high profile actors and celebrities must. It's the same obligation.

By not coming out strongly in their release against ANY assertion, by ANY group that Will Smith is an anti-Semite (which was what the 24-hour news networks were telling all of Western civilization for the better part of a day and a half), the ADL has left it open to the interpretation of the listener as to whether or not Will pulled a "Gibson". "He clarified, and we accept that". Hey, great. I wonder if he accepts the JDL's retraction which, through omission, re-affirms their assertions that:

Smith's comments were "ignorant, detestable, and offensive". They "spit on the memory" of 6 million murdered Jews and every Allied soldier who died fighting the Nazis. Smith was "idiotic and insensitive" to make the comments. "The black guy running for president, who must be one of Will's friends, should respond to his views". His movie isn't all that good.

Actors and celebrities aren't the only people who need to clarify and apologize for insensitive and prejudicial attacks, Nation. The JDL attacked without clarifying their information, and damaged Will Smith's reputation in the process. Where is the accountability from this group that they demand from others?

Words DO have power. All of us should remember that - including the Jewish Defence League. And shame on their ideological cousins, the Anti-Defamation League, for not using their superior reputation and media presence to remind them of such.

So much for "justice and fair treatment for all".

Monday, December 24, 2007

Yes Virginia, There IS A Santa Claus

A little bit of "warm and fuzzy" as I stay up, trying to catch Santa Claus breaking and entering. Warmest greetings of the season to all. - The Enlightened Savage

(As printed in the New York Sun, 1897)

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' Please tell me the truth;
is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe in anything except what they can see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest man that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Now Eligible for "Best New Blog"

The nomination criteria have been changed, and the deadline is November 12, 2006 - the Enlightened Savage was born several days after, and thus, I'm eligible.

You know what you have to do, Nation. ;)

In other news - still working on the other features you were promised earlier this week. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Calgary Council Irony - Holiday Edition

Nation, not one to spend a lot of time whipping the dead horse that is Calgary's city council accountability, but...

As most Calgarians know, the city council decreed in mid-2007 that yellow "Support the Troops" decals would not be permitted on city-owned vehicles, owing to the fact that some citizens and employees of the city would be offended by the sentiment. Mayor Dave Bronconnier went so far, on the record, as to call the yellow ribbon movement the "flavour of the month".

Seen today on the electronic messageboard on several city-owned buses:

ROUTE (whatever).

Greeeeeeat... they'll manufacture something as being "potentially offensive", but forget that most of western civilization has decided, for better or worse, that "Merry Christmas" is verboten to spare the feelings of groups that have ACTUALLY been offended in the past.

Good to see the fresh blood at Silly Hall has abandoned all common sense at the door.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Snow Job

Nation, with the arrival of Winter comes the annual rite-of-passage for Calgarians. They wake up in the morning, look at the streets on the way to their vehicle, see snow, and then try to guess a) how many accidents will be reported on in tomorrow's paper, and b) how long it will take for the city to plow their neighbourhood.

Calgary city council, predictably, cries foul over any suggestion that the city needs to increase the snow removal budget.
"Citizens will revolt! It'll mean increasing their taxes by a hundred dollars or more per year!"
, they cry. Anyone who has lived here for more than 2 Winters realizes the game that council is playing, of course: It's called "pray for a chinook".

If Calgary gets 10 cm of snow in a 24 hour period, you just need to plow and sand the major routes, and cross your fingers. 250 vehicular accidents will take place in those 24 hours, but think of the thousands of vehicles that WON'T be in collisions. Then you sit tight, and wait for Mother Nature to cast that beautiful arch in the West, and She'll take care of the rest.

Elections are in October, so snow removal rarely comes up. After all, it's been 6 months since the last time the roads needed to be plowed. And as long as those chinooks keep coming, people will be happy, roads will be clear, and you'll be acclaimed for doing a great job, and keeping tax rates down.

The people involved in those 100, 150, 200, 250, or more accidents EVERY. SINGLE. SNOWFALL. would disagree. They'd tell you that the failure of the city to plow and sand any but the most major of the routes led to their accident. The minivan full of Timbit hockey players that bounced off that light standard because the feeder road still hadn't been plowed, 4 days later, isn't all that concerned with the tax rate.

Nation, I know we hate to compare ourselves with Edmonton... but, as the only major centre near us, and facing a similar climate, we're going to take a look and compare snow removal in the 2 cities.

Size within city limits: 726 km2.
Average annual snowfall: 135 cm
Annual Snow Removal Budget: 21.1 Million
Size within city limits: 684 km2
Average annual snowfall: 123 cm
Annual Snow Removal Budget: 40 Million

So, let's review: Edmonton is smaller, by a shade over 40 square kilometres. They get 12 centimetres less of snow every year. They (admittedly) don't get chinooks. And they spend 18.9 MILLION dollars more per year on snow removal than Calgary.

"We don't have the money!", cries city council.

"Find something to cut - do your jobs, and keep your citizens safe!", respond Joe and Jane Calgarian.

Playing "pray for a chinook" might be fun, but it's not good public policy. Chinooks or not, we live in a snow-prone area in one of the northernmost major cities on the planet - only London, Berlin, St. Petersburg and Moscow are further North with larger populations than Calgary.

Calgarians are a funny bunch. They revolt against even the whiff of unfairness in their federal government, occasionally make noise about the provincial government, and all but ignore their city council for the first 3 years of the new council's term. Mis-spending, lack of services, you name it, and Calgarians will just assume it's some other level of government's fault for not giving their mayor enough to work with.

I'm told I have to clear my sidewalk within 24 hours of a snowfall, or risk a $155 ticket. The reason I'm given for this commandment is "public safety". The irony should not be lost on anyone.

The bottom line is, people get hurt and die every snowfall in this city, because our council lacks the political courage to do something unpopular (raising taxes or cutting programs to allow an increase in the snow removal budget) in order to save lives and suffering.

Calgarians should hold their elected officials accountable for this lack of courage. Mail your $155 ticket in to city hall with a note attached to it:

"You First".

Lest we forget (and we usually do): THEY answer to US, not the other way around.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Week Ahead

Nation, the week ahead is going to be a busy one for yours truly in the blogosphere. Here's what you can expect in the next 7 days (in no particular order)...

  • Coverage of, and reaction to, RCMP Taskforce recommendations
  • What Calgarians can't afford to ignore until the next civic election, part 1: Snow Removal
  • The last word on Chandler's Egmont play until at least February
  • The Harper Conservatives: Reasonable environmental policy presented in excessively stupid ways
  • The first of my analysis of the Alberta political parties ahead of an expected early 2008 election - Wildrose: Ready to blossom, or withering on the vine?

Ambitious? Sure. But compared to 6 weeks of near-daily posting on every municipal ward and race in Calgary, it'll be a piece of cake. :)

Going out to buy Red Bull, and uninstalling Eastside Hockey Manager and Civ4 from my computer...

- E.S.


Nation, I am honoured to announce that I have been nominated in 2 categories for the Canadian Blog Awards. Nominations remain open, and many heavyweights have yet to have their names thrown into to ring... I expect that my odds of winning are about equal to the Miami Dolphins winning the Superbowl, or Brian Mason being Alberta's next Premier. That said, at the risk of pulling out a cliche, it is an absolute honour to even be nominated.

The 2 categories that I have been nominated in (so far!) are:
  • Best Blog (wow!)
  • Best Political Blog (wow again!)

Many thanks to Lance and Clarke for the nominations. They mean more than you know. :)

- E.S.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Two Stinkin' Weeks...

Nation, the nominations for the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards have now opened. You can nominate me in whichever categories, and however many, as you wish. ;)

EXCEPT, of course, for the "New Blog" category, which is open to blogs started after December 1st, 2006 - I hit the blogosphere on November 15th, 2 weeks too early. :(

I thank-you in advance for the overwhelming response from the millions and MILLIONS of members of the E.S. Nation.

Nominate me (or, I guess, other blogs that you might read) here.

But, really, WHY would you read other blogs?

-E.S., who has the following blogs on his "daily must-read" bookmark list:
  • Summer's Daydreams
  • Six Meetings Before Lunch
  • CalgaryGrit
  • daveberta
  • Ken Chapman's Blog
  • Phendrana Drifts

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.

Coming Soon

Nation, in the next week or so I'll be putting the finishing touches on overviews of the "contenders and pretenders" for the provincial election that, finally, it seems we won't be forced to endure until spring at the earliest.

The parties, and platforms that I'll be looking at:
  • Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta
  • Alberta Liberals
  • New Democratic Party of Alberta
  • Alberta Alliance
  • Wildrose Party
  • Alberta Greens

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead!

Well, Ed Stelmach has pulled the plug on the Chandler nomination. Chandler and his Chandleristas (credit to daveberta for the term) have, predictably, already come out attacking the party, Ed, Ed's dog, the media, and everyone else even remotely connected with the decision. One wonders why, if they have so many bad things to say about the party and its leader, they wanted to run under its banner? Flag of convenience?

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?

Egmont Drama - the Appetizer

Nation, the crap has already begun to hit the fan in the provincial riding of Calgary-Egmont, and we are still a few hours from learning the fate of the democratically-nominated (regardless of circumstance) Craig Chandler.

Riding President, former Alliance candidate, and former Chandler campaign treasurer David Crutcher, accused by many of being the "wedge" that would set the table for Chandler's nomination win, was ousted last night by the riding's Constituency Association board.

Don Leonardo, the riding's Executive Vice-President, has stepped down in protest over the move.

A harbinger of things to come? Or is Chandler going to go into battle without his hand-picked President and with a hostile riding board? Stay tuned.