Thursday, November 1, 2007

Harper fires two pro-equality Conservative candidates, overthrows local nominations

Tory thug Prime Minister Stephen Harper has suddenly sacked two of his most progressive candidates set to run in the upcoming federal election.

Both Mark Warner in Toronto Centre and Brent Barr in Guelph had won their local nominations last spring.

Allegedly, they've been ousted because the central party didn't like how they were campaigning locally. Warner had been attempting to play up issues of concern in his downtown Toronto riding such as housing, health care and cities issues. Warner said the party had been fighting him on these issues, even blocking him from participating in a Star forum on poverty earlier this year and pointedly removing from his campaign literature a reference to the 2006 international conference on AIDS in Toronto – which Warner attended but Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not.

Warner is also in favour of same-sex marriage.

Connie Harrison, a downtown Toronto poverty and housing activist, was shocked to hear about how the Tories had dumped Warner, a black man, born in Trinidad and Tobago, who immigrated to Canada as child in the 1960s and went on to attend Osgoode Hall law school and have a significant career in international trade law.

"They want to prove that they are not scary. It's behaviour like this that tells the rest of us, yes they are," Harrison said yesterday.

Brent Barr ran in the 2006 election in the Guelph riding and managed to increase Tory support there from 25% to 30% (roughly the same increase for the party overall in Ontario). He says he's been campaigning hard since winning the local nomination again this past spring. Barr, too, was one of the few Tory candidates actually in favour of same-sex marriage. He suspects he's been pushed aside to make way for a star candidate in the traditionally-swing riding.

"The Conservative party is ignoring the democratic will of our membership, our volunteers and the over 18,500 people who voted for me last year," says Barr.

I'll be watching very closely to see who the Tories appoint to replace these progressive-minded candidates. Very scary, indeed.


S.K. said...

Why turf a candidate with no hope of winnning??? Well to hopefully distract attention from the disallowing of a candidate in a winnable riding. The real story is Guelph. Toronto Centre is a red herring.

Brent BArr was never going to be allowed to run. I placed bets on that six months ago with several people including my lawyer. Gloria Kovacs will be the Conservative candidate, in a riding where we have lost all of our advantage with a female incumbent, the only reason why we held the riding last time.

The Conservatives spent twice as much money as the Liberals in the last election and Guelph is one of the five most reliable bell weather ridings in the country, only voting against the governement once in the last 65 years, last time.

Guelph likes to vote for women. The Conservatives will put forward a known female politician in Guelph with a national profile and cabinet potential, Kovacs.

We should do the same. The candidate we have now is weak, unknown, unexperienced and has no advantage demographically other than he is a millionare, which wont help, given the maximum money the Conservatives will throw at this riding.

The real story is Guelph. Toronto Centre, allways unwinnable, the distraction.

Matt Guerin said...

Gloria Kovach was a member of "Focus on the Family," a notoriously anti-gay group most are likely familiar with. She lost the nomination to Barr, but now it seems democracy doesn't matter to these folks anymore.

It seems that Harper and his gang of so-cons are showing their true colours again. All progressives and supporters of equality should be very afraid what he'd do with a majority.

Although Kovach will now have difficulty winning if she accepts the nomination considering the shenanigans that have gone on. I don't think she could be described as a star.

Chamberlain won along with most Liberals in the area because they like Liberals there. I disagree with you completely about the new Liberal candidate. Frank Valeriote is an excellent local candidate, longtime school trustee, respected lawyer, very well known. His Italian background would make him the first Italian-Canadian MP for Guelph, which fits in nicely with the riding's demographics. Regardless of who the Tories put up now, I think this riding will be Valeriote's to lose (and I'm sure he won't.)

S.K. said...

By the way, I'm not so sure Brent Barr is progressive. I believe he was also the reform candidate for Guelph, but I could be wrong on that. Progressive on what basis????

S.K. said...

I'm sorry, I should have said Blue Wigs, in my post as its much more fun to say than Blue Liberals.

Matt Guerin said...

SB - I'm from Guelph. I helped Chamberlain get elected in 1993 so I know of what I speak. I rejected your last comment because it was filled with mistakes and falsehoods. You need to get educated before you start leaving uninformed comments like you have done today. Brent Barr never ran for the Reform Party, that's false, like many of the other "facts" you've listed. Frank Valeriote is an excellent candidate and now with the shenanigans, I'm quite confident predicting the Liberals will win Guelph quite easily.