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.