Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hapercrite Lies Again...and, Again

Remember this statement last election?

John Reynolds, co-chair of the Conservative campaign in B.C., believes the Tory team is a good representation of the province's diversity. He argued his party does not appoint candidates or parachute them into ridings, as the Liberals have done, and therefore the people who are running under the Tory banner have been chosen by residents of their ridings -- not by national party strategists.

Reynolds also said that in the 2004 federal election, the Conservatives elected more visible minority MPs from across Canada than any other party.

Let's see. Turner kicked out for speaking the truth and blogging. Bill Casey was kicked out for doing what he was elected to do...represent his constituents.

Now these two gentlemen get kicked out by the Conswervatives. One for mentioning AIDS and one for not canvassing. One was a minority. One wasn't.

Thanks to CBC for the story.

Two former federal Conservative candidates said Wednesday they've been unfairly pushed aside by the party despite being acclaimed for the next election.

In fact last year's Conservative platform said the party would ensure nomination races are fair and transparent, but the recent decisions by the Tories' national office has left the two former contenders questioning the process.

Mark Warner, the once-acclaimed Tory candidate for Toronto Centre, was slated to run against former Ontario premier and federal Liberal leadership candidate Bob Rae. The seat was left vacant by the retirement of former interim Liberal leader and cabinet member Bill Graham in July.

But the 43-year-old Warner said the Conservatives party's national office informed him he was no longer their pick because of continued differences of opinion and strategy, as well his penchant for speaking out about subjects that didn't receive party authorization, such as education, affordable housing and HIV/AIDS issues.

"Frankly, I felt there was a lot of micromanagement … and I don't think it was legitimate," Warner, an international trade lawyer, told the CBC on Wednesday. "I was going off-message."

Warner said references to his attendance at an international AIDS conference in Toronto in 2006 were removed from his bio when he sent it to Ottawa for approval.

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"It does seem to be something that bothers people and I don't exactly know why," he said.

Conference organizers criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper for failing to attend the event, which featured high-profile speakers, including former UN envoy Stephen Lewis, former U.S. president Bill Clinton and Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.

But Conservative party officials said Warner was a difficult candidate because he didn't follow advice or take direction.

Warner said he was ousted in part for giving an interview to a national magazine about working with a former Liberal cabinet minister.

"I was told that when a reporter comes up like that, you say no comment," said Warner. "I am offended by it, I think it's important to use the modern means of communication to reach people."

Rae issued a release on Wednesday praising Warner as a "as a thoughtful and hardworking person" and said his treatment by Tory leaders was a "national disgrace."

Guelph businessman ousted
In the riding of Guelph, businessman Brent Barr had won the party's nomination in March, but was told on Oct. 19 that party headquarters had rejected him without any warning.

"They told me what happened, and I'm still surprised by what happened," he told on Wednesday.

"I would have imagined someone would have taken me aside and said, 'Brent, we have some questions.' They didn't do that."

Barr came in second in the riding in the 2006 election to the Liberal incumbent Brenda Chamberlain. He said the party brass told him he was being dropped because he wasn't campaigning hard enough to build up the party locally, despite his holding four community events a week and inviting potential voters into his home for coffee chats.

"That's a completely false statement," he said of the charge of lax campaigning. "If I had actually done anything the embarrass or denigrate the party, I would sit down right and accept it. But I didn't."

Barr said he suspected the party has pushed him aside in favour of a star candidate, something Prime Minister Stephen Harper has blasted Liberals for doing while campaigning for the 2004 federal election.

At the time, Harper said: "We want to clean up internal party politics, beginning with grassroots democratic control of the nomination process."

Conservative Party president Don Plett would not reveal the precise reasons for dropping the two candidates, citing privacy issues. He would only say there were certain concerns and because of those concerns the party needed to take action.

Barr said his loyalty to the party made him unsure about running as an independent whenever another federal election is called.

"By removing me, it's a slap in the face of democracy and i suspect that will come back and hurt them in the next election," he said.

"I'm a Conservative; I've always been a Conservative. But as far as what happens in the next election, I really can't say at this point."

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