Monday, May 09, 2005

Conservatives Appoint Candidates

Pondering politics!

Normally a person seeking to be a candidate in an election is required to win a nomination in a publicly announced nomination meeting open to the general public, except in the case of independent candidates. This normally has been the case even if there is only one candidate seeking the nomination. One must be a member of the political party they want to run under and the leader of that political party must also agree to sign the nomination papers of the person seeking to be nominated. If not, then winning the nomination has no purpose. Two recent examples in this regard were Grant Schmidt and Grant Devine. The rules of democracy and fair play were completely ignored.

Over the years, we have witnessed cases where liberals have appointed candidates and the voters have met it with disdain as we do with appointed Senators. This method of appointing candidates without a public nomination process has now become a normal practice among conservatives. It is less fitting for the Harper conservatives since it is a party that only recently gave up on the concept of recall where elected members could be forced to face the voters again before the next general election if they were deemed not to be filling their elected roles. The conservatives favour an elected Senate, but don’t mind appointing candidates for election to the House of Commons. The conservatives treat democracy like religion. They are all for it if it doesn’t inconvenience them.

In Saskatchewan, Stephan Harper and the Conservative Party have approved all thirteen conservative Members’ of Parliament as automatic candidates in the next election. None will have to face a challenge from some other person wanting to become involved in what used to be our democratic system of nominating and electing people to serve as our duly elected members of the House of Commons. Given the new process, “House of Elite” would be more appropriate. This was also the hushed case prior to the last election for sitting conservative members of Parliament under Stephan Harper’s leadership.

The conservatives have historically been the champion of grassroots politics and the defender of the rules of democracy. It would seem they are now no different than the liberals or the NDP.

Every year, the Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp requires all players to earn their spots on the team and that includes the star players. This is not the case in conservative politics where their apparent greed for power has left many asking, “what the hell happened to democracy?”

The Harper conservatives are in a tie game late in the fourth quarter. It may come down to a special play or a field goal to win this game of politics. It is an ugly game and ugly played by both sides. It can only result in an ugly win. Has Stephan Harper appointed the right players or will they drop the ball just short of the goal line and fail to score? If so, say good-bye to Stephan Harper and bring on Belinda!


Larry Birkbeck