An ugly internal dispute over sex, religion and violence erupted within the Alberta Conservative party Saturday, ending up with a candidate being ousted and Premier Ed Stelmach saying the reasons for the "difficult" decision must remain confidential.
Where was the violence in all this? He was denied the right to be a candidate.Sex and Religion sure I can see but 'violence'? Where's the violence? Except in over active imaginations of reporters. This was a bloodless purge of 'fightin' Craig Chandler the pugilistc politician.
Edmonton Journal Leg reporter Graham Thompson equates poor Craig Chandler with being bashed like a poor baby seal on the weekend. Well actually he equates it with the Sopranos.
What should have been done quickly and bloodlessly months ago ended up being done messily with a baseball bat last weekend.
Officials with the Alberta Progressive Conservatives bludgeoned to death the political career of Craig Chandler in a meeting room of a Red Deer Hotel on Saturday. It took 21/2 hours for the officials to bash away at Chandler's history and credibility before rejecting him as a candidate for Calgary-Egmont.
By the time they were done, there was so much blood on the carpet it's a wonder someone didn't think to put down a plastic sheet beforehand.
Don't any of these guys watch The Sopranos?
What's so puzzling about all this isn't that the Conservatives whacked Chandler but that they took so long to do it. And I don't mean the 21/2 hours of brass knuckles behind closed doors on Saturday.
The Tories could have saved themselves and Chandler a lot of grief if months ago they had taken him aside and warned him off. They could have simply told him that he wasn't welcome because while he might be a "conservative" they didn't think there was much "progressive" about him. Furthermore, if he managed to win the nomination, Premier Ed Stelmach wasn't going to sign his papers.
Chandler says he would have appreciated the warning.
"Someone could have taken me aside and told me," he said in an e-mail exchange on Monday.
It's not as if Chandler was a stranger to the PCs. He has a long and loud history of involvement with right-wing political movements including the federal Reform party and the Alberta Alliance. He is a social conservative, at times belligerently so.
More to the point, he has a long history of making inflammatory comments, often against homosexuality. He got in trouble with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and earlier this year posted an apology on his radio program's website agreeing to "cease and desist" from saying homosexuals are "sick, diseased or mentally ill" or that they are "wicked or dangerous."
It was brought on by his stacking and winning the nomination in Calgary Egmont, but the nail in his political coffin was this Human Rights Ruling last week.
An Alberta man who has pressed for five years to get an anti-gay letter branded as hate literature won a victory Friday with a human rights commission ruling that said it broke provincial law and may even have played a role in the beating of a gay teenager.
The letter, written by Stephen Boissoin and published in the Red Deer Advocate in 2002, carried the headline "Homosexual agenda wicked" and suggested gays were as immoral as pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps.
Darren Lund, a high school teacher in Red Deer at the time, complained to the Alberta Human Rights Commission after the teenager was beaten in the city two weeks after the letter was published.
In Friday's ruling, commission panel chairwoman Lori Andreachuk said both Boissoin and the Concerned Christian Coalition to which he belonged broke provincial human rights law by likely exposing gays to hatred and contempt.
During the panel's hearing earlier this year, Boissoin testified that Craig Chandler - a former CEO of the coalition who recently won a provincial Progressive Conservative nomination in Calgary - was aware of and supported what he was doing.
Chandler posted a formal apology on the coalition's website about the letter last January after a separate complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Tory officials are scheduled to review Chandler's nomination on Saturday.
The implication in the news reporters and pundits comments was that this was the Night of the Long Knives for the Social Conservative Right Wing in the PC's. Unlikely or they would have gotten rid of Oberfuerher Ted Morton.
Some bloggers say this shows how undemocratic the internal politics of the PC political apparatus is. In fact Craig Chandler sold more memberships, and stacked the nomination meeting with his supporters. Which is far more 'undemocratic' then ousting him cause he does not meet Uncle Ed's 'progressive' standards.
The fact is he should never have been allowed to run if they were going to deny him his nomination, and that has raised the hew and cry from bloggers left and right. But what did they expect why are they surprised at this apparent anti-democratic action by a Party that has ruled this One Party State for thirty six years.
Well because Uncle Ed blundered badly. Unlike King Ralph and his advisors, who pulled folks aside in the back rooms and told them whether they could run or not, Uncle Ed made this public. He wants to send a message that the Party is for All Albertans not just the radical right. Which does not explain his making Morton a Cabinet Minister, since he too represents the radical right. And Morton has campaigned long and hard against Gay Rights, just as Chandler has.
Like I said it is being equated with a Night of the Long Knives for the radical right in the PC's. But is it?
This is all for show, Chandler is an easy target, Morton isn't. There is going to be less fall out from kicking Chandler out than there would have been if Morton hadn't been given a Cabinet position. And considering how Morton is blundering, and dependent on the next election, he may not be in cabinet next time around.
Why is everyone surprised? This is typical of political parties that dominate power in other One Party States. Just look at Putin's election victory in newly 'democratic' Russia over the weekend.
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