Thursday, January 10, 2008

Plus ca change...

The federal Libs under Stephane Dion may be scrambling when it comes to fund-raising, party-building and candidate recruitment. But they can still take pride in leading the pack when it comes to papering over internal divisions in the most literal sense of the word - by forcing would-be candidates to sign unenforceable documents to be waved in their faces in the event of political emergency.

And the reason we know is because Ralph Goodale himself is gleefully waving one of those documents around:
David Orchard knew full well that the federal Liberals wanted an aboriginal woman to run in a northern Saskatchewan byelection and shouldn't be surprised that one was handpicked to do so, MP Ralph Goodale suggested Wednesday.

The twice failed Tory leadership hopeful - and anyone else who expressed interest in running as a Liberal in the Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River riding for that matter - signed a paper warning that leader Stephane Dion may appoint a qualified woman candidate, such as Joan Beatty, Goodale said.

"Everyone was informed about the leaders prerogative to appoint a candidate and the leader might want to exercise that prerogative if the appropriate strong, female, northern-riding resident came forward," Goodale said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press...

(Orchard's) campaign manager, Marjaleena Repo, called Goodale's comments "spin."

She said Orchard, who delivered key delegates to Dion during the Liberal leadership race, was told that the party was looking for an aboriginal woman to run. But when they couldn't find one, she said Dion encouraged Orchard to put his name forward.

Orchard has already sold more than 500 Liberal memberships to supporters in the riding, Repo said.
To the extent there is a dispute about whether or not Orchard was aware about the possibility of an appointment, it's hard to disagree with Goodale's side. As I noted when the Beatty appointment was first suggested, anybody who's paid the slightest attention to the Libs' internal workings would be aware that both Dion personally and the party in general have plenty of history of imposing candidates from on high.

But that history is equally obvious whether or not a candidate had signed a waiver acknowledging it. And it seems striking that the Libs still have little enough internal trust - in both their own potential candidates, and the ability of their central story to hold up to scrutiny - to be going out of their way to get written evidence to be used against their own members.

Update: And now Orchard is outright denying that such a paper exists. It's hard to see either side avoiding some reputation damage: taking Goodale's case at his highest he's still bragging about an asinine process, while even if Orchard's right he can only seem painfully naive about the inner workings of the Libs. But it looks like either Goodale or Orchard is headed for some serious egg on his face.

Edit: fixed wording.

No comments:

Post a Comment