Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Good News and Sad News

Stephane Dion announced our candidate for Palliser, Saskatchewan today. His name is Cal Johnston and he is the former chief of Police for the City of Regina.

Johnston said he chose politics as a way to further his interest in public service. It was he who approached the Liberals, saying that he appreciated during his time as police chief how the party tackled challenges in Canadian society.

He also said the Conservative's approach to crime is "patronizing" and that he would rather see politicians address the social challenges that fuel crime, such as poverty and living conditions. Focusing on the Criminal Code does not prevent crime, he said.

I'd like to see his Conservative opponent go after him with the standard, 'Liberals are soft on crime', nonsense. I don't know what our chances are in that riding, but I suspect they just got a little better.

The sad news though relates to the same riding. The current MP, Dave Batters has announced that he is resigning.

...Batters sent out a media release stating he has told Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he will not be back to run in the election that many expect will soon be announced.

"I have been ill for the past few months, dealing with anxiety and depression. As well, I overcame a dependency on certain prescribed medications (benzodiazepines)," said Batters in the media release.

"I make this very personal disclosure with the hope that others who suffer from these conditions will seek the assistance they need."

I have heard it said that he was a really popular MP in all quarters and a really nice guy. My personal feeling is that it takes tremendous courage to speak publicly about such issues, so kudos to him.

Update - More information on Johnston here.


Steve V said...

Apparently, Johnston approached the Liberals. Is this because of the Green Shift attraction? ;)

It's nice to see a chief of police running for the Libs, a nice counter to the weak on crime crap, not to mention someone in the know, who realizes that you have to improve the societal conditions if you want to prevent crime, not deal with it after the fact, like the Cons think.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am so proud of him for making such a full disclosure on a deeply personal matter.

It is sad when the people you would like to see stay in politics are the ones who decide that it is better if they do not.

That in itself is a sad commentary on political life these days.

RuralSandi said...

Well, sad indeed for Mr. Batters, but at least he's dealing with it. I wish him all the luck.

There's an interesting response on Kady's blog about this.

Apparently, this Johnson, was a very successful police chief when it came to fighting crime and crime rates went really down during his tenure...he must have done something right. These are the kind of law enforcement people you need on your team.

knb said...

Indeed Steve. I like the fact that he takes aim at the Con's plan and points out that it's patronizing.

Sean S. said...

unfortunately, having the former police chief running in Palliser will only ensure victory for whomever replaces Batters. This riding has traditionally been an NDP/Conservative battle...in 2004 Batters won by 124 votes, he increased this to over 3,500 votes in 2006.

knb said...

Joseph, it is too bad.

There are still some good ones around though.

I was worried that Glen Pearson would resign, but he's sticking it out.

knb said...

I haven't been to Kady's yet sandi, but thanks for the information. I'll check it out.

knb said...

Given that you are there Sean, I'll defer to your knowledge of prior elections, but I'm not going to jump to any conclusions just yet.

This man sounds like an interesting mix that might just shake things up a bit.

knb said...

Here is some more info on Johnston.

Born and raised in Regina, Mr. Johnston became Chief of the Regina Police Service in September, 1998, after serving in the Calgary Police Service for 18 years.

During his tenure, crime in Regina decreased by 25 per cent. Mr. Johnston spearheaded a multi-agency “Auto Theft Strategy” that put the brakes on repeated offenders stealing thousands of cars. He also promoted community policing, fostered good relations with First Nations and presided over a largely scandal-free force.

Dan said...

No offense to Sean S., but Johnston's not getting in this race all willy nilly. He's getting in it to win. And as a Liberal who cares deeply about winning in the west I'm very upbeat about this news. This is a riding that we can win, especially with a candidate of this quality.


lance said...

I second Sean. This riding is probably going NDP unless the CPC has a strong/semi-strong business leader available.

Maybe someone like Deb Thorn . . . .

catherine said...

Sounds like a great candidate to deflate Harper's crime rhetoric. I would think Johnston could shift some Conservative votes, particularly with Batters gone. Why would all the conservatives in this riding be so taken with the Harper Conservatives, independent of candidate, that some of those votes wouldn't be moved?

Eddie Blue said...

I tend to think that Johnson will bleed off the Conservative vote more than the NDP vote. I suspect this riding will go NDP (I am also in Regina).

Car thefts were down under Johnson, after they had reached positively stratospheric numbers and they fixed this problem by monitoring known car thieves not decreasing liberty for everyone as most security crackdowns do - I suppose this is to be admired, but I think people expect there to be reasonable protections for their property, and I don't know if this will help Johnson much.

This is a really diverse riding, the City of Regina part is very lefty, the rural part contains a lot of conservative farmers, and Moose Jaw is somewhere in between but doesn't really love the NDP even though it sometimes votes for them.

Take whatever name recognition Batters established out-of-the-mix and I would consider this seat in play for just about anyone with a slight advantage to the NDP. Batters, wasn't exactly Winston Churchill but he was present in the community and tended to pay attention to regular people (like friends of mine, who were advocating some fairly crackpot positions).