Writing recently on the nomination brouhaha still simmering in the
First, however, back to
David Orchard knew full well that the federal Liberals wanted an aboriginal woman to run in a northern
byelection and shouldn't be surprised that one was handpicked to do so, MP Ralph Goodale suggested Wednesday. Saskatchewan
The twice failed Tory leadership hopeful - and anyone else who expressed interest in running as a Liberal in the Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River riding for that matter - signed a paper warning that leader Stephane Dion may appoint a qualified woman candidate, such as Joan Beatty, Goodale said.
"Everyone was informed about the leaders prerogative to appoint a candidate and the leader might want to exercise that prerogative if the appropriate strong, female, northern-riding resident came forward," Goodale said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press.
Goodale’s comments are predictably dismissed as “spin” by Orchard campaign manager Marjaleena Repo:
She said Orchard, who delivered key delegates to Dion during the Liberal leadership race, was told that the party was looking for an aboriginal woman to run. But when they couldn't find one, she said Dion encouraged Orchard to put his name forward.
I think there’s lots of spin going on here. Certainly Goodale’s revelations, if accurate, cast Orchard’s actions in another light. However, if Dion did give Orchard an eventual go-ahead…well, it’s all a mess and I think there’s plenty of blame to go around. I think Orchard is far from innocent, I think Goodale is far from innocent, and I think the campaign team is coming off like the Clampets.
Nevertheless, my original thesis stands: the LPC did a piss poor job of managing this and a number of other nominations, making avoidable foul-ups that give the party a black eye at times we should be gaining ground.
A repeat in Don Valley West?
Which brings us to the highly coveted (read: winnable) Toronto-area riding of Don Valley West, now held by the retiring John Godfrey. This same article points to potential nomination trouble ahead in this riding:
Meanwhile, some Liberals fear a similar controversy is brewing in the
riding of Don Valley West, which will become vacant in July when Liberal MP John Godfrey retires. Toronto
Potential candidates were warned late last year that Dion intended to appoint a star candidate in the safe Liberal seat. But insiders say Dion's efforts to recruit David Pecault, chairman of the
Toronto City Summit , failed and now a number of would-be candidates, tired of waiting, are starting to get organized. Alliance
Former MP Sarmite Bulte has filed nomination papers, constitutional expert Deborah Coyne, who ran for the Liberals against Jack Layton in the last election, is intending to file her papers shortly and up to a dozen more are said to be interested.
Insiders predict that Dion will eventually appoint a candidate in Don Valley West but will face a huge backlash if he waits until candidates have already sold thousands of memberships.
And the Hill Times adds another name to the mix:
Jonathan Mousley, former legislative assistant and senior policy adviser to former Liberal Cabinet minister David Collenette in the Jean Chrétien Cabinet, will run for the nomination in retiring Liberal MP John Godfrey's (Don Valley West, Ont.) riding. Mr. Godfrey won the riding in the last election with 53.3 per cent of the vote.Remember Mark Warner, the nominated Conservative candidate for Toronto-Centre dumped by the CPC leadership? He may be in the mix too (story is from November):
Godfrey acknowledged yesterday that Warner's name has been bandied as his possible successor in Don Valley West, where he's been the MP since 1993. Before then, the riding was a Progressive Conservative one, and Godfrey thinks Warner could have appeal there.Interesting to see Deborah Coyne, cousin of Andrew, back in the mix. She took on Jack Layton for the Liberals in the last election and had the Toronto-Danforth nomination again before deciding not to run there last month. While I like her as a candidate, I’m not keen on riding swircheroos and the optics of this, even if Don Valley West is her home riding, are iffy. So I’m of mixed feelings there. As for the potential return of Sam Bulte, another riding switchero from Parkdale-High Park where she lost her seat to the NDP in the last election, and Gerard Kennedy will run in the next one, I’m sure the digital copyright folks are already gearing-up.
Anyway, the point is with such an attractive riding in play the names are coming out of the woodwork and there is a lot of interest, high profile and otherwise. This is also exactly the sort of riding Dion has said he’d like to set aside for the appointment of qualified female candidates to meet his 1/3 female candidates goal.
With the rumours of a possible appointment and many names coming forward, Dion and the LPC need to learn from the mistakes of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River, Outremont, Scarborough-Southwest and the other ridings where they’ve bungled the nomination process.
The party need to make clear immediately its plans for this riding. Will it be a completely open nomination process? If so, say so and let people organize. Will it be a semi-open nomination process with only female candidates (a la Vancouver-Quadra)? Or will this riding be reserved for appointment, in which case people should stop campaigning?
The uncertainly cannot be allowed to fester. To allow people to start organizing now, and then make an appointment later, is unacceptable. The decision needs to be made immediately, and it needs to be made public. This will prevent any confusion, or any attempts to sow confusion.
The LPC has the chance to defuse this bomb before it goes off. Let’s hope this time they decide to do so. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers