There was some interesting programing on CPAC today. It was about all four byelections, but by far the most interesting of the 4 to me were the two going on in my back yard. That would be Willowdale and Toronto Centre.
The show was a bit of a behind the scenes look at what is going on in each riding. The CPAC reporter spent time with each candidate, in their riding offices, out door-knocking and at all candidate meetings. I know you are familiar with the two Liberal candidates, Martha Hall Findley and Bob Rae but you may be less familiar with the 2 Conservative candidates.
If you are not familiar with them, you can be forgiven. Let me introduce you. On your left is Maureen Harquil. She is Martha's opponent. On the right, Don Meredith who was injected into the Toronto Centre riding after the Con's ejected Mark Warner.
The reason you may not know them is because they have both been forbidden to speak to national media and of course that includes CPAC. The show exposed this fact in no uncertain terms. It was painful to watch my friends but if there was ever any doubt about how much control Harper has over his people, this puts it to rest.
The CPAC reporter arrives at Harquil's riding office, a 2 storey house. She's upstairs and he asks if he can speak with her. An employee dispatched from above runs down the stairs and picks up a phone and suggests that the reporter speak to Harquil's campaign manager. (She is upstairs people, likely listening to all of this!) He tries to book a time and is told that she will not be speaking to media. Apparently, she has failed to show up at some of the all candidate meetings too.
The same held true for Meredith. The reporter cornered him at one point and he said he was just too busy at the moment, but gave him his cell phone number. The reporter left messages for 2 days, with no reply. On the 3rd day at an all candidates meeting Meredith was at the front of the room and the CPAC videographer had him in his sights. The reporter dialed the cell phone number. Meredith looked at his phone and let the call go to call answer. In fairness, he gave the reporter a few minutes after the meeting, but it was pathetic.
As I said, it was painful to watch. I may not agree with what these people stand for, (Harquil for instance is Flaherty's cousin), but they are clever, accomplished individuals. What I do not get is how such individuals can accept such terms in order to run? If they cannot deviate from script when they are running a byelection, what makes them think they'll have a voice in caucus. Ironic really, because they run on the fact that they are in government so they have a voice and can get the people's work done. Voice? Not a chance, at least not in those riding's.
I'm sure the programs will be repeated, so if you're interested, tune in. I watched the Sask and B.C. pieces too. Those Conservative candidates spoke. The candidate in Sask. was impressive, the one in B.C. is very accomplished, but the Kool-Aid stains were visible on her T-shirt.
Great campaign don't you think? Vote for me. I don't matter, but if you vote for me you give my master, Stephen Harper, more power.