Thursday, September 14, 2006

On standards

The CP reveals what is and isn't important for a Con candidate being vetted under Harper's command:
Neither intelligence nor political acumen are vital for would-be Conservative candidates, according to a top party official — just don’t be tagged a loser.

The blunt assessment was made last fall by Doug Finley, the Tory national campaign chair, as he was embroiled in efforts to oust Alan Riddell as a candidate in the riding of Ottawa South.

Party brass figured Riddell was a sure loser — he’d lost in 2004 — and made it clear in e-mails that they wanted him out.

“Neither IQ level, nor political astuteness are prerequisites to be a candidate — just a citizen over 18 with a reasonable credit record, no serious crime sheet and a surname other than Riddell,” Finley wrote in a December e-mail to Ian Brodie, who now is chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Now, the contents of some of the Cons' seats in Parliament would have long since put to rest any question whether a lack of intelligence would serve as an obstacle to election as a Con - and indeed one could argue that it may more a negative than a positive, particularly in PMS' top-down structure. But it's still striking to see the Cons' inner circle being so explicit in being perfectly happy with warm bodies filling the back benches, rather than placing any value on the possibility of representatives capable of adequately representing their constituents.

As an added bonus from the article, note that part of the Cons' justification for wanting to oust Riddell as the candidate was concern that he would be "unpredictable". Which stands in rather stark contrast to the Cons' willingness to immunize even their most embarrassing MPs from any nomination challenge - though in fairness one could say that Anders is downright predictable in his removal from reality.

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