Thursday, April 30, 2009

Municipal Madness

Well, Nation - we're a scant 16 months from Calgary's next Municipal Election, and already the dominoes are rumoured to be falling.

What was already certain to be an interesting election - given the unpredictability of the voter turn-out and the significant re-drawing of ward boundaries - will be ramped up a notch with an actual, honest-to-goodness race for Mayor this time around, as one of the current Aldermen (does anyone know the square root of 144?) is rumoured to be targeting the current spend-and-cry officeholder.

Of course, that presupposes that the current officeholder is even interested in running for the job again. He's certainly raising money, but in a textbook illustration of one of the delightful little quirks of our current system, he could very well decide to take that campaign war chest, drop out of the race and go on the mother of all Vegas benders. Once it's donated, it's his money, to do with as he pleases. Oversight, overschmite.

The boundaries for the wards, by the way, are far from set in stone. Despite what you've read on this blog, among many other less reliable (obviously!) sources, the recommendations of earlier this Winter have been shelved, and (as reported by Don Braid) the new ward boundaries will be determined by gerrymandering, behind closed doors, in the near future.

There are already rumours of several notable locals considering a run at Aldermanic office. Linda Fox-Mellway may be facing a legitimate challenge in Ward 14 (in 2007 she was acclaimed). North-East Calgary (ward to be determined, pending boundary re-drawing) is rumoured to be facing a ballot featuring the name of Friend Of Enlightened Savage Naheed Nenshi, of the Better Calgary Campaign (Naheed, by the way, would be an absolutely spectacular Alderman - his politics and mine vary somewhat, but he is of the highest character with great vision and would be a tremendous asset to the citizens of Calgary within their municipal government). And a ward that may find itself in need of an Alderman after the mayoral candidates are announced (how many faces are on a dodecahedron? Anyone?) is rumoured to be coveted by a former independent provincial candidate of some renown in the neighbourhood.

Aldermanic campaigns are tough to call, but the one universal truth to them is that the best organized campaign almost always wins. With such low voter participation, the campaign that establishes an edge in name recognition and runs the best Get Out The Vote organization will win. Potential candidates should be getting their ducks in a row NOW, if they hope to have any chance of defeating incumbents, or candidates with built-in organizations.

Also in the news: If you live in North-East Calgary, and your office isn't in your basement, you'll want to be taking a serious look at attending tonight's Open House on the new airport runway and the proposed tunnel underneath it - if a tunnel or alternative free-flow route doesn't get built, traffic will be an absolute NIGHTMARE in the North-East trying to drive East-to-West or vice versa, Ring Road be damned. The Open House is tonight at the Inglewood Community Hall, 174 24th Ave. S.E., running from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Verily, members of that most exclusive of all Nations, I say unto thee: 'Tis good to once again grasp mine too-long neglected quill, and put point to parchment in the pursuit of fleeting Enlightenment. :)

Happy "Talk Like Shakespeare Day", everyone.

Nation, I've been off for a while (work - out of the country. Not my fault), and I'm glad to see that no one managed to set the E.S. Nation on fire in my absence.

I WOULD, however, be remiss if I didn't mention a couple of quick items in my return...

1) Auditor General's Report comes out. This is a BIG DEAL. I'm very much in favour of a fully-funded and empowered AG, which puts me at odds with the government. I'd encourage everyone to read this for themselves. I'd also strongly urge the Liberal Communications gurus to make sure not to overdo the cliches on their mailing list (which is a positive step for them, btw - is this new, or is the addition of my email address the only new thing about it?). The email to my inbox was splashed with the subject line "AG Report reveals culture of cronyism" - wow. Hot stuff, I think to myself. This should be quite a read. I open the email, to find what cronyism in particular is being decried. The answer? None whatsoever. There were allegations and suggestions of wasteful spending, but absolutely zero on alleged "cronyism". If you're going to make the allegations in the subject line, you've got to follow through in the body of the email, Lib staffers. Come on - be better than that. :)

2) The Plan for Parks is released. Are Provincial Parks for recreation, or for conservation? Both, it turns out. As a bonus, citizens can now nominate their own provincial parks. So, the $64,000 question becomes: what lucky stretch of land is destined to someday be named "Enlightened Savage Provincial Park"... anyone? Hey, if Colbert can get a treadmill on the ISS, surely I can get a Provincial Park!

3) Hinman steps down as leader of the Wildrose Alliance. While WAP members huddle in the pews praying fervently for Saint Preston to rediscover the fire in his belly, the rest of us wonder who will ACTUALLY step up to lead this group - and in what direction? The party itself has huge potential for growth, with the PC Party still on the energy sector's "crap list". Could this be the opening that some disaffected Tories on the party's right fringe were waiting for?

That's it for now, Nation - this Savage has some laundry to do.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Duff Man is Coming to Calgary!

OHHHHHHH yeah...

Sorry... what's that? Wrong Duff Man?

Well, he's pretty cool, too. In an unelected kind of way... ;)

That's right, Senator Mike Duffy will be in town for an evening reception with the Honourable Jason Kenney next Tuesday, the 14th of April.

If you'd like to rub elbows with the first Senator to interrupt his maiden speech in the Senate to check a message on his Blackberry (Duffy), OR to spend some time around the most famous Notre Dame Hound since Wendel Clark (Kenney), tickets can be purchased by emailing

(h/t to Shane over at CalgaryRants)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Budget 2009 - Waiting to Exhale

Well, Nation, B-Day has come and gone. Alberta's Finance Minister, wearing the nicest pink ensemble seen on Budget Day since the famous Stockwell Day-in-fuchsia ensemble for Budget 1998, has laid down the business plan for Alberta's largest single employer and service provider.

The Premier and his cabinet have decided to play "wait and see" with this budget - much to the chagrin of more aggressive fiscal hawks than I. Many of the more vocal fiscal conservatives in the province were calling for Klein-era cutbacks, across the board and in every department. The thought of going back into debt or deficit was anathema. "You can't spend your way out of a recession", went the mantra.

And yet, when the rubber hit the road, the government put forward a budget yesterday that looked very much like it would have had the price of oil and gas remained at 2007 levels. With crude at $65 per barrel, we likely would have seen a bit more for infrastructure, a bit more for parks and for culture, modest tax cuts and an increase in the numbers of local police and fire/ems personnel. "Feel good" spending. Take away that extra income, though, and the "feel good" spending goes into the circular file, but overall the budget still meets the needs of most of us, most of the time. Some areas saw increases in spending where needed (AISH, for example), and some saw decreases where they could be afforded.

Overall, one gets the impression that the government tabled this budget knowing that the REAL action is going to happen in about 8 months. By December of this year, we'll either be well on the way to recovery in this province, or we'll be in full-on recession mode. The reality of our situation is that we are very much dependant on our energy industry - right or wrong, that's the reality and it's unlikely to change any time soon. Global energy prices are low, and either that has nothing whatsoever to do with Ed Stelmach's new Royalty regime, or our man Ed ruined the global energy sector. Which do you think is more likely, Ed-haters? If energy prices go back up, we'll be able to pay back the stabilization fund, we'll post a smaller Actual Deficit than the Budgeted Deficit of $4.7 Billion (if energy prices go high enough, we may even end up posting a surplus - which would be far from unwelcome). If the energy sector does NOT begin to recover, and Alberta's economic engine remains "stalled", then we're going to have to start looking at real and substantive cuts - starting with $2.2 Billion in this fiscal year, under the current budget plan.

I've got to say that while I'm less than enthralled with some of the specific line items and program expenditures or cuts in the budget, overall this is a budget I can live with. We're not blowing up the public sector workforce, and making a bad situation worse by kicking hundreds or thousands of government workers to the curb, adding to unemployment. We've cost ourselves, as a province, over a billion per year by eliminating Health premiums - and I don't think anyone's too upset by THAT loss of provincial government income. We're running a "record deficit", but we're running that deficit predicting Crude Oil at USD$55.50 per barrel (it's just under $51, as of this moment) and Natural Gas at C$5.50 per Gigajoule (currently sitting around $3, if I'm reading the business page correctly) - if those numbers prove to be low, and the actual numbers are higher, we'll have a smaller deficit - if any at all.

Deficit, by the way, is another one of those words that ideologues sometimes throw around to scare you - like "liberal". Anyone who uses a credit card or dips into their overdraft for a day or two until the next paycheque comes in has run a deficit in their own life. Heck, I ROUTINELY run a deficit, from day-to-day... I'm going to earn around $200 today. If I go out and spend $400 today, and it's my bad luck to have to report my financial ins-and-outs on a daily basis to the Future Mrs. Savage, then my books are going to have red ink in them. Luckily, I have savings to draw on, in order to make up today's shortfall. Likewise with Alberta. We're forecasting greater spending in 2009-10 than revenue. But we've got money in the bank, and provided the economy doesn't go into free-fall, we'll be fine. If things stay the way they are, we'll have reason to start worrying. If things get worse - out comes the axe.

And IF we get to that point... we need to get over our fearfulness, and start having a real discussion about what we WANT versus what we NEED in this province. Just like in our own families, when times get tough we sometimes have to accept that "Filet Mignon Night" might become "Kraft Dinner Night", and our planned Disneyland Vacation might turn into a long week-end camping trip to Mt. Kidd in Kananaskis.

In the Savage household, when money gets tight, the first place we look for potential saving is in the areas of greatest expense. In our case, that's the mortgage, then the auto expenses. In the province's case, that's Alberta Health and Wellness.

Ooooooooooooooo... kinda makes your spine tingle, hearing the scream of outrage from the Friends of Medicare and Raging Grannies and Brian Mason's Facebook Fan Club, doesn't it?

Look, Nation - we are ALL stakeholders in the Alberta health system - unless I have readers who are in perfect health and plan on living forever (Q?), we're ALL going to have to use the system. But, as I said above, we have to decide what it is about our system that we NEED to have, and what it is that the WANT to have. The stuff that we NEED, like doctors and nurses and hand sanitizer, should stay. The stuff that we WANT, like 600 thread-count sheets, plasma screen televisions in the hospital rooms, and ambulances with 5 cd-changers, we might have to forego.

I regularly see a chiropractor. The fact that Alberta Health isn't going to pick up half the tab for those visits anymore is going to hurt my bottom line. I will have to make decisions about my care, then, with an eye towards my wallet instead of simply towards my quality of life. But you know what? I've been doing that same set of mental gymnastics about dental care for my entire life! We've all bought generic pain relievers when money was tight, even though we were sure that Advil was going to work better. We've all gone 8 months between dental cleanings, when the car needed a new transmission in month 6 and we couldn't afford to get both done. Those are decisions we've made as individuals, based on our priorities.

I'm not saying that we should cut costs provincially by firing the surgeons and mailing every Albertan a scalpel and the "E.R." DVD box set, but the recent amalgamation of the regional health authorities is going to be one of those measures through which we can spend less on things we DON'T need - like money to hire "government relations staff" (lobbyists) to lobby the provincial government for more money (which, one assumes, would be used to hire more lobbyists) - and, instead, spend that money on things that we DO need.

We need to be able to have open and frank discussions in this province about departments like Alberta Health and Alberta Education without letting fear drive us to the default position of "cutting anything in this department is terrible, and every budget this department should get a 10% increase, at the minimum". We simply can NOT afford to keep operating this way, and we can NOT afford to let fear make our spending decisions for us. And having our leaders afraid to even START the discussion, for fear of huge protests and political repurcussions, doesn't help ANY of us in the long run, because we're burning through money that we MIGHT not have to be spending - if the protest groups with lyrics sheets ready-to-go would just let us talk to each other about realities and priorities, like grown-ups.

We're adults... we can talk about where we're spending our education dollars, and where there are savings to be had and inefficiencies to be resolved without someone from an opposition party or the ATA issuing a press release decrying an "attack on teachers and classroom conditions!", can't we? We can talk about cutting the fat out of the health system without someone screaming bloody murder about low birthweight babies being Ron Liepert's legacy, or that Ed Stelmach causes cancer, right?

So let's DO that, and contribute to the solutions that will help this province save money rather than holding onto our good ideas for partisan reasons. If a New Democrat has an idea that will make this province a better place, I don't want him or her holding onto it so as not to let it be said that someone's life was improved with government help while the Tories were in power... If a Tory has an idea on how to help the Alberta Liberals fix their funding problems, I'd hope they'll come forward and share it with the Grits, so we can have an effective Opposition to the current government - which is a benefit to ALL Albertans... as citizens, we have a civic obligation to try and improve the lives of our fellow citizens that transcends politics. So let's stop taking shots at each other, leave that to the professionals on Access at 1:30 pm today, and let's put all this brain power to good use for the betterment of all.

This province is in need of good ideas to help us fix this mess and avoid future ones - not just partisan bickering about who screwed up the province's economy, or what party used to have what fiscal policies back in the 80's.

Whaddya say?

Feel like being part of the solution?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Alberta Government releases Budget 2009

Find the budget overview here.

YOUR thoughts, below. MY thoughts tomorrow, when I'm not at work. ;)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Poll-Vault: The Next Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Nation, on March 25th I set-up a poll on the Blog, and asked for your comments on a Hill Times piece about the future of the CPC and their political leadership. Recent news stories have illustrated the stark divide between the old PC faithful and the Reformers who sit in the current caucus, so this is perhaps as good a time as any to go back and take a look at your responses to the question: WHOM is the most likely candidate to hold these factions together and go on electoral victory, when Stephen is gone (not just to Europe for meetings, but for good)?

Let's handicap this race...

Jim Prentice - the winner of the poll, with 39% support. I think Prentice is a hell of a good man, an outstanding minister, and one of the most "baggage-free" of the contenders, having been a candidate for the PC leadership, but never the actual Leader. The thing that works against Prentice here is basic geography - this party has been working its tail off since the day it was formed to cast off the stereotype as a "Western, Calgary-centric" party... to name its second consecutive leader from Calgary wouldn't help their case with Central Canada. Without Central Canada, there's no majority. The odds: 7:3

Jean Charest - garnered 26% among the E.S. Nation. Charest gives the Tories their best chance of winning in Quebec - although his own numbers have been sliding there lately. The huge liability with Charest is his political baggage: A former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and a close associate of Brian Mulroney, Charest represents everything that the Reformers were protesting AGAINST when they formed their protest movement. He appeals to Central Canada - more than most of the contenders, anyway - but do you really see the old Reformers coming out to support someone who was very recently sitting under the banner of the Quebec Liberal Party? The odds: 3:1

Peter MacKay - scored 18% support in our poll. MacKay can be accused of peaking YEARS too soon. He's 44, and he's already been the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, and deputy leader of the CPC. He's been a part of the public consciousness for 12 years, and has remained relatively scandal-free during that time. He was seen as Harper's heir apparent, however the party's implosion in Atlantic Canada has left him a lonely Tory voice in a sea of red. His PC roots and ties to Mulroney through his father are a bit of a problem within the party, but he IS after all the man who brought the PC's to the table with the Canadian Alliance in the first place. Also, the "disrespects women" label, right or wrong, could come back to light in an election campaign, costing much-needed women's votes for the young, photogenic leader and denying him his majority win. The odds: 8:3

Jason Kenney - captured 9% support in our poll. Kenney is another young MP, although his rise has been far less rapid than that of McKay, having just hit the national spotlight recently. He's gotten good press in his current role as Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. He first won office in 1997 as a member of the Reform Party, and is seen as a stalwart fiscal and social conservative. He's an engaging individual, and very quick on his feet in a debate. Where Kenney runs into trouble is with the fact that the current leader of the CPC is the MP for the riding next door to Kenney's Calgary South-East. The Progressive Conservative faction would have a hard time accepting Kenney's social stances, and the nation as a whole hasn't seen fit yet to give a majority government to a bilingual, socially and fiscally conservative former Reform Party member from South Calgary (not even after AdScam) - and the second time is unlikely to be the charm. The odds: 6:1

Stockwell Day - Having captured 5% support in our poll, Day has proven to be a much more capable Colonel than he ever did a General. As the former leader of the Canadian Alliance, who eventually saw members of his caucus split off to sit with the PC's in protest of his leadership, Day is a classic example of a good politician whose handlers tried to package him as more than he was. Stock did very well in Alberta as the Provincial Treasurer under King Ralph, and was seen as the White Knight of the Canadian Alliance when he ran for and won their leadership. His religious views were, in my mind, unfairly mocked in the press during the 2000 Federal Election - but those stigmas tend to stick in the public consciousness. His social policies are tough to swallow for the PC's and "Blue Liberals", making a successful leadership run and subsequent majority incredibly hard to achieve, and he is clearly the most baggage-laden, deserved or not, of all of our candidates. The odds: 15:1

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'll Take "Self-Righteous Knuckleheads" for Five Hundred, Alex...

The Answer: "This Topeka, Kansas-based church has made headlines by picketing at the funerals of homosexual murder victims, protesting at the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq and describing them as "lazy, incompetent idiots", called the Reverend Billy Graham a "hell-bound false prophet", celebrated the loss of life in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake while describing the victims and their survivors as "vile oriental ingrates", and threatened to cross the border to picket at the funeral of Tim McLean in Winnipeg, who had been viciously murdered on a Greyhound Bus in Alberta."

Ummmm... what is "the most heinous group of people you can possibly imagine"?

Let's go to the judges... yes, we'll accept that answer.

That same group, whom we will not dignify in this space by naming them, recently got themselves back in the news by stating that the flooding of the past few weeks in Manitoba was as result of God having sent the floodwaters to "cover the evil people of Canada."

WHY are we evil?

Because we elect politicians (even Stephen Harper) who would be "lefties", by American standards... our largest religious affiliation, nationally, is Roman Catholic... and same-sex marriages are performed here.

Meanwhile, in North Dakota (Republican governor, same-sex marriage illegal)...

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

A Rare "LOL" Moment at E.S. World Headquarters

Nation, I read both Calgary papers in person most days, plus some other provincial and national papers over the course of the day. One of Calgary's dailies has a regular columnist, Rick Bell - whose editorial slant changed radically about 6 or 7 years ago, after Rick made some changes in his life. Rick even ran unsuccessfully for Mayor a few years ago.

Well, the "Dinger" (his nick-name from when he was one of us "common people") rarely writes anything to make me laugh anymore - usually, I just yell at my paper, scaring the heck out of my cheerios (editors would say that so long as I read the column, they're satisfied, no matter what my reaction).

Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself actually giggling at the imagery the Dinger threw at me earlier this week when he wrote:

"Getting someone disenchanted with the Tories to vote for any of the current opposition is like trying to get a devout Catholic who doesn't care for the Pope to become a Druid.

The person may stop going to mass, but they sure aren't going to go over and start worshipping trees."

Score one for the Dinger.

(column in its entirety can be found here)

More substantive content coming soon - got to get ramped up for the provincial budget. Stay tuned. ;)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Calgary West - the Aftermath

Well, Nation - the Calgary West CPC EDA AGM (how many acronyms can you fit into one event?) has come and gone... and brought with it the most hits to the corner of the blogosphere since the last Federal election (big props to the Bloggers who linked to my live-ish blogging of the event, in particular to Scott Tribe and Pierre Trudeau Is My Homeboy).

The question becomes: What now?

The Board of Directors for the Calgary-West EDA is a representative body elected by the membership of the Conservative Party of Canada in that riding. They are elected to represent the views of the local membership in their dealings with the National Party.

The Conservative Party of Canada nominee in Calgary West for the 41st General Election is, at this point, Rob Anders. He was acclaimed to this position, in accordance with a judgement by the Party. His role, as the candidate, is to represent the Conservative Party of Canada in the riding to the public-at-large, to seek election under the abnner of the Party, and to sit in the Party Caucus if elected. In this role, he answers to the Party directly, and to the Party's local membership, who can (in theory) dismiss him and choose another candidate under the rules set forth by the Party.

Anders also currently serves in another, separate role, as the elected Member of Parliament for the riding of Calgary-West. In this role, he is answerable to the voters of Calgary-West, who overwhelmingly (over 57%, in a field of 6) marked their "x's" next to his name, for whatever reasons they deemed important, in October of 2008.

Now, here's where it gets tricky...

No matter WHAT the Party does or doesn't do, on a local level or at Party Headquarters, Rob Anders will remain the Member of Parliament for Calgary West until the writ is issued for the 41st General Election. The Party could dump him , or the local membership could elect a new candidate TOMORROW, and Anders would still be the M.P. for Calgary West.

So... stories of Rob Anders' impending retirement are greatly exaggerated.

That said, though, undeniably there was some sentiment this past Saturday among the members of the CPC who live in Calgary West that Anders should face a challenge for the party's nomination. The membership, after all, elected a slate of candidates for the Board of Directors that were all on-the-record as being in favour of a nomination contest.

The Board candidates were all in favour of a NOMINATION CONTEST - NOT in favour, necessarily, of Dumping Rob Anders. While some of them - possibly MOST of them - likely prefer Donna Kennedy-Glans as a candidate over Anders, the truth is that the Board itself has little say in that decision. Ultimately, the decision as to who the candidate is lies with the party membership as a whole in Calgary West, and then with the National Party, who needs to decide whether to sign off on the locally chosen candidate.

The smoke has cleared as to the Next Step in the process, and it seems that what happens now is as follows: The Party will mail out a questionnaire to all registered Party members in Calgary West, asking them if they'd like to see a nomination race. If 66% of the party members (not 66% of respondents, but 66% of the total number of members on the roll) return the questionnaire indicating that they would, in fact, prefer a nomination race, then one will be held - with the newly-elected Board running the show (under the VERY watchful eye, no doubt, of the national Party brass - this riding has been more than enough of a headache for them already).

Now, we have every reason to believe, or at least little reason to doubt, that if a nomination vote were held tomorrow, Rob Anders would likely win it. There has been much conjecture - including some by yours truly - that the riding's voters don't WANT to vote for Rob Anders, but their desire to vote Conservative outweighs their distaste at voting for the party's candidate. It's important to remember, though, that suppositions like that are purely speculative: There's little evidence to support the idea that the majority of Calgary West Tories would dump Anders if given the chance. The little evidence that there IS, however, was bolstered by this past Saturday's AGM results.

It bears repeating that those in favour of a new board, those ON the new board, or even those who vote in favour of a nomination race, are not NECESSARILY anti-Anders. I agree that the likelihood is high, given that the man himself has made it pretty clear he'd rather not run a nomination contest. However, it's possible that there are a great many "true blue" Anders supporters (a description that makes one snicker, when one recalls that Anders, as a Reformer, was a "green" candidate before Green became synonymous with political cluelessness) that simply wish to see their man win a democratic nomination contest because, well, that's one of the basic founding tenets of the Reform movement: political accountability. You wouldn't see St. Preston or Queen Deb dodge a nomination race - they'd yell "BRING IT ON!". And that's what they want from Rob - even though they'd support him in the race itself.

Now, what makes dumping Anders as the Party candidate easier? The fact that the people who have lawful access to the local membership list, the minty-fresh Board of Directors for the Calgary West EDA, are in favour of the nomination vote going forward. Which makes the direct-mail smears of Anders' opponents leading up to the AGM much less likely in the case of a vote to hold a nomination (I believe all the candidates would get access to the member's list during a nomination race, so Ezra could rant to his heart's content during the race itself).

What COMPLICATES a dumping of Anders, though, is the fact that if a nomination race IS in fact to be held, it will be an OPEN nomination race - meaning anyone can jump in. There is already talk of another progressive conservative who might jump into the fray - which runs the real risk of splitting the progressive or "Anti-Rob" vote, and having Anders win in a 3 (or more) horse race. That's democracy, though. You live by the sword, and you die by it.

So where does the Board of Directors for Calgary West go from here?

Well, their current path is clear. They are elected, by the party membership in Calgary West, to represent them to the National Party. By virtue of their stated goals ahead of the AGM, they can make the case that the membership would like a chance to vote on whether or not a nomination race is to be held. The ballots will be mailed out, and then it's direct democracy in action - either there will be a nomination race to oversee, or there won't be.

In the meantime, though, this board has to work with Anders, the last person to be chosen by a majority of party members as the party's nominee. It's worth mentioning again that many of the new Board members probably voted for Anders in October in the General Election, and some would probably vote for him in a nomination race, were one to be held. They're not united by a desire to oust him, only by a desire to see him defend his status as the Party nominee in a democratic contest. But, in the interim, the business of the party needs to be done. The board and the nominee have to ensure election readiness, so that if the government falls tomorrow, they're ready to go to bat and to support their party's nominee in the riding - Rob Anders - in the 41st General Election. The board and the nominee have to ensure that they're planting the seeds for electoral victory in the riding. Where the candidate is hurting the cause, the board will have to point this out. Where the board is incorrect in their analysis, Anders (who has been elected enough times to know a thing or 2, at least) will have to set them straight.

And where they disagree?

Well... that's the thing...

If they disagree, what's the resolution apparatus? Do they poll the local membership, which selects both the Board and the nominee, and let them decide every issue of contention? Do they go to the party, and ask the Party to choose between alienating a nominee (and representative of a large portion of their core supporters, nation-wide) or alienating the duly-elected board of a local EDA, thus ticking off their ORIGINAL core of electoral Reformers and making the rest of the nation uneasy at their disregard for grassroots democracy in favour of a loose cannon M.P. whose very presence on the party's back-benches costs them thousands of votes across the country from moderate, former PC's?

The new Calgary West CPC EDA Board of Directors is making all the right noises about working with the nominee. I've yet to hear the same from the nominee, but I suspect we probably will.

When they CAN'T work together, though - who, exactly, is going to want to referee?