Chickens coming home to roost on “open nominations” promises


How long did Trudeau keep the promise given in December of last year, to hold open nominations for the candidates in the federal next election?

By my calculation, it took approximately 106 days for him to break it.  That’s a rather quick about face on a supposed matter of principle, even for a born politician like JT.

So why the big kerfuffle in Trinity-Spadina over a nomination process for a by-election to replace recently departed mayoral candidate Olivia Chow?  The trouble began when Trudeau’s team vetoed a candidate with impeccable credentials, Christine Innes, who is not only married to the former Member of Parliament for the riding ( Tony Ianno) but also the former candidate for the riding in 2008 and 2011.  This was done, ostensibly, because Innes’s people (including, allegedly, her husband) played hardball by trying to rope in Young Liberals at the Convention in Montreal last February, threatening them with career violence if they didn’t get onboard with her campaign to steal the nomination from JT’s sweetheart, Christy Freeland.  In the end, Freeland  and Trudeau got their way, when it was announced this week that Freeland will be the Grit candidate for coveted University-Rosedale riding, and that she will be running unopposed in that particular “open nomination” race.

Innes maintains that this was JTs goal from the beginning and that she has proof that the allegations against her and her husband are just smears fabricated to cover up his clumsy attempts to secure the nomination for his crony Freeland (apparently Trudeau even made his true intentions clear in an e-mail to the membership of the riding).

Innes is planning on going down swinging, however,  and has already filed a defamation lawsuit against Trudeau The Younger, worth $1.5 million in damages to her reputation, suffered on account of the accusations made by Trudeau and others in the Liberal party against her.  She would have dropped the lawsuit for an apology, a donation to her favourite charity and a promise from the leader not to meddle in the nomination process.  But, evidently, no such olive branch will be forthcoming.  All of which has left a bad taste in the mouths of many liberals, including party fanatic Zach Paikin (son of journalist Steve Paikin) who have protested Innes’ treatment publicly.

rob ford AD #1

It has been reported that when asked to comment on the woes of his rivals in the riding he is currently contesting for the NDP, candidate Joe Cressy merely grinned from ear to ear.

Take heart my Gritty companions, the Tories are having a few nomination issues of their own.  The recent ugly row between Rob “Nelson Mandela’s a terrorist” Anders and Ron Leipert for the privilege of representing  Calgary- Signal Hill, proves that.  This may, in fact, SIGNAL (sorry) that the heartland of the Tory base, is no longer dancing to the tune played by their leaders, and could be in for more upsets as Conservative riding associations throughout Canada begin the process of picking their champions for the upcoming election.

Rob Anders may have been one of the biggest laughingstocks on the Hill but he was popular with his colleagues.  So well liked was he that one of the biggest kahunas in the Cabinet Jason Kenney endorsed him with a recorded message used by Anders supporters in their robo-calls to the membership.  This, however, did not endear him to rival candidate Leipert who told the Minister to go fly a kite.  Anders even got a rather weak endorsement from Harper himself.  Though, the word “endorsement” never appeared anywhere in the statement, and the fact that it was a generic statement that could be used by any sitting member of the Conservative caucus , mitigated its value somewhat.  In any case, Mr. Leipert surprised almost everyone in Ottawa with a win that will send him to Ottawa should he be chosen by the people in 2015, and represents the first time in ages that the party’s base rejected a sitting member of parliament, in favour of an upstart.

By far the most interesting case of challenges by the base to the top brass in Ottawa was when long time Harper right-hand man  Dimitri Soudas attempted to secure the lovely gift of a nomination for the new riding of Oakville Burlington-North for Eve Adams (the current MP for Missassauga).  The problem was that rigging riding association votes has gotten tougher for Harper’s team, with fewer and fewer local associations willing to simply roll over for them and their favoured candidates.

In this case, the riding association seemed to prefer one of their own (chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna) for the job.  The scandal reached a head when a respected local organizer named Wally Butts was apparently sacked for denouncing Soudas to his superiors for violating his own agreement as Executive Director for the Conservative Party’s 2015 campaign.  The contract bound Soudas not to intervene in Adams’ nomination process.  Am I the only one that thinks that this reflects very poorly on the PM to impose a man like Soudas on his party, despite such serious misgivings about that man’s character that he required him to take an oath to uphold the fairness of his own party’s nominations?

In any case as a love struck (cue the violins!) Soudas later claimed that he did it because he was “madly in love” and could not help himself.  The romance between these two star crossed lovers aside, the more interesting aspect of this debacle is that the conservative base appears to be in an increasingly testy mood lately, making a Harper led “strong, stable, national, Conservative majority” government that far less likely next time around.


Other articles by David DesBaillets

What’s really behind the silence of Harper on the trial of Fahmy in Egypt
Harper has a bad day in court
The “Leprechaun” of Canadian finance takes his walk in the snow
Will Harper Turn his Back on Péladeau and Sun News?
Confessions of a lefty Jewish Canadian on Harper’s visit to Israel

Follow David DesBaillets on twitter @DDesBaillets


Share this article