Sunday, October 23, 2016

Social conservatives elect young twink to be Progressive Conservative candidate in Niagara West-Glanbrook

19-year-old PC candidate Sam Oosterhoff (Facebook)
I've been busy with work and life these last two months, so my apologies.  A few topics, mostly around the ongoing U.S. election, have been on my mind lately, which will inspire some posts in the very near future.

But I couldn't let this day go by without marveling at the mindless audacity of most social conservatives, particularly those still hard at work in the grassroots of Patrick Brown's Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

Yesterday, local Tories voted to select a successor to Tim Hudak to run in the provincial byelection Nov 17th in Niagara West-Glanbrook.

They chose 19-year-old, first-year university student Sam Oosterhoff, pictured on the right, whose experience seems to be little more than graduating high school and working briefly as a junior staffer for a Conservative MP on Parliament Hill. 

By they, I mean the social conservatives who reportedly swamped the local membership to back this inexperienced yet undeniably handsome young man.   He's the perfect definition of a young twink if there ever was one.

In taking the nomination, Oosterhoff beat out party president Rick Dykstra (a personal friend of leader Patrick Brown and former MP for St. Catharines), as well as local businessman Mike Williscraft and Niagara regional councillor Tony Quirk (who was the preferred choice of outgoing MPP Hudak.)   Thus, local Tories were not bereft of highly qualified choices.

Yet the so-cons chose this kid, who's now promising to be “a voice for common-sense, pro-family policies and concerns” when he squares off against Liberal lawyer Vicky Ringuette and New Democrat retired cop Mike Thomas next month.

“I will never waver in my support of parents as primary educators, and I will strive to ensure that parental rights are respected in education,” said Oosterhoff, echoing the concerns expressed by mostly homophobic opponents of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s updated sex ed curriculum.  


Such is the extremism of socially conservative wingnuts.  It seems no lack of experience in a candidate is preposterous enough to earn their passionate support. 

Look at Donald Trump in the U.S. who has also won widespread support from social conservatives, despite the fact that he's a philanderer and has flip flopped on all the important issues these folks claim to care about.  

Oosterhoff's strange win also points to more serious chaos inside Patrick Brown's party.  How on earth did Brown's office manage to screw up the local nomination so badly?  And allowed this kid to emerge victorious?  

This, of course, follows the controversy during another byelection fight in August in which 13,000 letters were circulated to Scarborough residents - in English and Chinese and bearing Brown's signature - promising to "scrap" the sex ed curriculum if he becomes premier in 2018.  Brown then reneged on that pledge, alienating social conservatives.   Brown insists he supports the modernized sex-education curriculum and is pro-choice, despite his long pro-life voting record as a MP. 

Perhaps Brown has little ability to run his own party?  The result in the Niagara nomination race would suggest that's the case even though I'm sure Brown's allies will argue this is just healthy local democracy at work.   

Yet how healthy can the grassroots of the party be when they elect someone this inexperienced simply because he spouts what social conservatives want to hear? 

As far as I'm concerned, this is just more proof the far-right, socially conservative wing of the Ontario PCs is stronger and more organized than leader Patrick Brown would have us believe.  This is not a mainstream, moderate party, by any means.

***ADDENDUM***

I must say that, by using the term "twink," I am referring only to Oosterhoff's age and body type.  I am not implying anything else about him as I do not know him.  Some have interpreted my use of this word to mean I'm implying he's gay.  I am not doing that.  Not that there's anything wrong with being gay, of course!   

"Twink" is not the kind of word usually used to describe nominated political candidates, I agree. That's my point.  I'm mocking the social conservatives who looked past his obvious inexperience and put him in this position.  Social conservatives like Oosterhoff have been mocking folks like me with words far more insulting or belittling for generations, so it is more than fair for me to respond and use words they may not appreciate to describe them.   This is a gay-themed blog so I used the word to be playful, comedic and provocative. 

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