There's a split in Calgary in the conservatives. And it's about principles.
Two articles in the Herald, appearing this morning, have Pat and Sherrold Moore supporting Harvey Locke, the Liberal candidate in the riding. The Moores are a family that have been at the core of progressive conservative politics in Calgary for decades. It was in Sherrold Moore's kitchen that Ralph Klein began his rise to the top of the Progressive Conservatives in the early 1990s. The Moore's have been tied to the Lougheed-type PCs since the PCs began their rise in the 1970s. These two individuals, their family, and their ties count for a lot. They are strong opinion leaders in the community, conservative or not.
It's because candidates matter. When you undermine democracy at the riding level it hurts a party: when Harper foisted Crockatt on the Conservatives, it further split the party already split from a. in Crockatt's words, "a nasty divorce." She neither matches the constituency nor is a serious contender for the constituency that has sent progressive conservatives in the likes of Harvie Andre, Joe Clark, Lee Richardson. Crockatt's team is Wildrose -- arch right-wing William McBeath is managing Crockatt's team, and he is a strategist behind Danielle Smith's Wildrose. Her commentary as a pundit, too, shows her long term Wildrose, rightward-based politics: and it fundamentally at odds with the down town core of Calgary that sends progressives to the provincial legislature and to city hall.
There has been a vast miscalculation by the Tories in this by-election. The top-down direction that Harper takes his party is being buffeted by conservatives and voters.
The representative that the constituency wont change the government but what it can do is send a clear message to Harper. And that message is to say that Calgarians cannot be taken for granted and cannot be forced into voting for a representative that doesn't match them or their values. Here's hoping on November 26th the citizens of Calgary-Centre stand up to Harper and his style of government because the status-quo isn't right.
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