Friday, October 06, 2006

There’s doings a transpirin’ on the Left Coast

It’s been quite a week for Mason Loh, who up until his resignation today was Bob Rae’s campaign chair in British Columbia.

It was a very good Superweekend for the Rae team in B.C. The latest numbers (32/48 reporting) have Bob in first place in B.C. at 29.2 cent, a comfortable eight per cent lead over Gerard Kennedy. I was a bit surprised to hear of those results, but I understand he has some solid, well respected organizers working for him in the province.

And Mason Loh, whom you may recall from the Vancouver-Kingsway nomination saga, was leading the charge as Bob’s B.C. campaign chair. Until today that is when, according to Public Eye Online, Loh tendered his resignation to the Rae campaign.

Something seemed to be building throughout the week though, if you were following things at Public Eye Online. Here’s how it went down:

On Monday came news of a free post-DSM victory dinner (date TBD) Loh was organizing for Rae voters. It was advertised to supporters in a letter on Sept. 25. How could they get into this dinner? After they voted (for Bob, presumably) at the DSMs, get the envelope the letter came in stamped by the Rae scrutineers at the polls. This brought to mind to some the rules that forbid campaigns from spending money “for the purpose of facilitating in any manner whatsoever...the presence of any member of the Party at a delegate selection meeting.” Loh said no it’s not a violation of those rules.

On Tuesday Manuel Pereda, whom you may know for his organizing against turncoat David Emerson in Vancouver-Kingsway, and who was recruited by Loh to run as a Rae delegate, withdrew his support for Rae over the dinner scandal citing the questionable ethics of the idea.

Also that day, the question was raised of who was paying for the dinner. Loh said it’s a campaign event that will be paid for by the campaign, but Rae’s national spokesperson said it’s not a campaign event and they don’t know who will be footing the bill, but it ain’t the campaign.

On Wednesday, it was reported that, on super weekend, teams of people were spotted working DSMs across Vancouver decked out in snazzy red and white baseball caps bearing Mason Loh’s name. Seems a bit weird, was Bob on the ballot after all.

On Thursday, it was still unclear who is paying for the Rae dinner.

And now today Loh has resigned as Rae’s top guy in B.C. It’s still not clear who is paying for the dinner, or if it is still on, but Public Eye reports the resignation was related to issues surrounding the filing of delegate nomination forms. It’s unclear just what the issues are, the picture painted is that “some inexperienced volunteers made “innocent mistakes” in the filling-out of the forms, and so Loh decided to resign and “take full responsibility.” The Rae campaign spokesperson also said, though, that “they were serious enough that he thought the party should be made aware of it.”

As I said, quite the week for Mr. Loh. I wasn’t going to comment on the dinner thing because, while it seemed fishy, to do so seemed a tad petty and I was confident the matter would sort itself out in time. But when piled on top of these undisclosed “serious” mistakes around the delegate nomination forms and Loh’s resignation, to which there seems to be more than meets the eye, I have to ask what in the heck is going on here?

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Steve V said...

It is "serious" in one way, but the fact that Rae can just replace the delegates, means it didn't really tamper with the vote, making it less of an issue in my mind. I guess the next question, are all these delegates alive?

I do have a serious issue with Manitoba's education system as it relates to math skills:

"University of Manitoba, for instance, only five members registered to vote in the student club but 28 ballots were cast."

With everyone looks for irregularities, they are bound to find them.

Ti-Guy said...

If you don't win the most humorous blog...

burlivespipe said...

i know Mason and he is someone who really knows how to rally his community behind him. Unfortunately someone took some shortcuts and no doubt some thorough delegate-candidates will be missing out on participating in the convention. That seems to be the story that's been missed by the mainstream media.
I was at the DSM Sunday and was given a 'Mason Loh' red hat -- and like many I just pinned a 'Bob' button over the name and was in fine fashion. Some of Kennedy's gang wore Raymond Chan t-shirts; did I see a Dion worker in a Blue Jays' cap? Who cares?
The Rae team did a terrific job getting out the vote. Since we ran about 30 candidates in each riding (Martha ran the same 2 names, while Ignatieff ran a slate of 40 in each of the 3 Lower mainland ballots I saw) there should be little trouble filling in the blanks... Of course you do that in case someone can't go, someone pulls out etc.
But yes, it was a tough week for the Lohs...