Doug Rutherford

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An Interesting Development

April 2011
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Note: This is my fourth submission  to the CBC Your Take election blog.

It’s time to wonder what vetting goes into a political candidate for election. There is the understanding, or at least the given, that politicians are human and have pasts. Some of those pasts, however, are not what one would expect… particularly in light of the philosophy of the party for which they are running.

The Toronto Star is reporting that Conservative Party of Canada candidate for the Yukon was convicted in 2009 of falsifying a wildllife report while working as a big game outfitter. Further, he was, at the same time, a wildlife conservation officer who was charged with violating the laws he was supposed to uphold. (I’m also a little curious as to whether or not you’re supposed to be an officer and someone that officer is supposed to oversee but I have to check with Wildlife to see if this is common).

I have no issues with someone paying for an indiscretion. After all, none of us are perfect. However, I have a question for the party. Was the party aware of Ryan Leef’s record before he was nominated? If so, how do you reconcile the party’s tough on crime stance with nominating someone with a conviction and not making that point very clear at the outset of the campaign. Yes, Yukoners have tolerated a variety of politicians with criminal records,  but not as a complete suprise…


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