I was wondering how long it would take for the first major screwups to take place. So far, there’s been a few doozies, and, of course, from more than one party.
Last week, Ryan Dolby, the NDP candidate for Elgin-Middlesex-London, dropped out of the race. His reason was that, fearing a Conservative majority, he was withdrawing to throw his support behind the Liberal candidate in hopes that he would be able to defeat the Conservative Party’s Joe Preston. Fred Sinclair has since been named as the new NDP candidate for the riding. That can’t have left a good feeling in the NDP election team room.
Then, it got worse. Mustafa Rivis, who was running for the NDP in Mississaugua-Erindale, dropped out of the race. In this case, he announced he was switching allegiences to the Conservative Party, hoping Prime Minister Harper got a majority in the election. Ouch.
One would think those issues to be problems, but now, we have the issue of Conservative Party staffers checking out the Facebook pages of rally attendee applicants. Two students were ejected from a rally in London, ON. According to the staff member that ejected one of them, this was due to them having a picture of them with Michael Ignatieff taken earlier in the week. The second was prohibited for having an NDP bumper sticker on his car (and I’m still curious how that fact was known). Several veterans were prohibited from attending a CPC rally in Halifax and two other students were prohibited from attending one in Guelph.
Dimitri Soudas from the PMO hastily apologised to the two students from London. The RCMP have also stated that they will no longer remove people from Conservative rallies unless for security reasons. The Prime Minister has stated that this is the result of decisions made by party staff.
Other tacky things have happened. Yvon Lévesque, the Bloc Québécois candidate in Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou. He informed Jack Layton that his star candidate in the riding wouldn’t win because he’s “an aboriginal candidate.” Suffice to say, M Lévesque has apologised although the NDP did call for his resignation.
And, despite my comment that parties probably vetted internet comments made by their candidates, some seem to have slipped through the cracks. André Forbes, the Liberal candidate in Manicouagan, also turns out to be the founder for l’Association des Droits des Blancs (the Association for the Rights of Whites). One can surmise what type of group this is easily by its name. He has publicly refered to Innu people as “featherheads” and made several other rascist statements. This showed up this morning and by the afternoon, M. Forbes was the former candidate, having been fired by the party.
So, this is the Coles Notes version of the gaffes to date. Don’t worry. Elections bring out the worst in people so we can sadly expect more.