As Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid reports;
Tory leader Ed Stelmach stood up his star Calgary candidate Friday to ride his campaign buckboard around Edmonton and the rural north.
And Arthur Kent says the Stelmach campaign wants "nothing but my name, sadly." But he vows to fight on as the Tory candidate in Calgary-Currie.
The episode left local Tories gasping in disbelief, although they should be used to Stelmach's tin ear for Calgary by now.
It's just one more example of a Conservative campaign that has quickly become a mule-train wreck of bad policy, bad preparation, and bad politics.
Kent, the Calgary boy who became famous as a U.S. TV reporter during the first Gulf War, was personally recruited as a candidate by Stelmach.
When Stelmach promised weeks ago to attend the breakfast, Kent easily sold more than 100 tickets. Then the premier's campaign phoned Wednesday to say Ed wouldn't make it.
The call didn't even come to him, Kent tells me.
"I would have thought they'd have phoned me directly."
Later, though, Kent was harshly critical of Stelmach's campaign team. I've never heard anything like it from any candidate during an election campaign.
Kent says Stelmach's close knot of advisers doesn't communicate with him in any way.
"They've asked nothing. They want nothing but my name, sadly. But I'm not letting them discourage me. I'm going after the biggest majority in southern Alberta."
Kent feels Stelmach's people see him and his team "as competitors, somehow, rather than as partners. There should be a more inclusive attitude.
"They should be asking us what we're hearing on the doorsteps and where the campaign should go. They don't do that.
"Instead, they rely on those damn telephone surveys that are really pissing people off."
Then the most damaging zinger:
"One-way communication of the sort we experienced this week is not the way to go. You don't just call the bustling heartland of the most exciting city in North America and say, 'No, we can't make it.' "
This might get the candidate in trouble with his leader, but there's no sign Kent gives a damn.
The delicious irony is that it looks like "Scud Stud" Kent's campaign will be as successful as Saddam's Scud missiles were.
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