Beware The Palookas And Interlopers

September 1st, 2012 - J. Hodgson 

On August 25th, Joan Crockatt won the nomination to replace Calgary-Centre MP Lee Richardson. There was a lot of competition for the seat and true blue conservatives are quite happy having Joan Crockatt as the new representative. Unlike some of the competition for the seat, Joan is a relatively “right-wing” conservative. She supported the Wildrose Party, is pro-oil industry, and routinely appears on the CBC program, Power & Politics in order to defend the Conservative Party from an assorted cabal of typical leftists. This nomination is a victory for conservatives.

This victory, however, was not easily won. It took four rounds of run-off voting to get to the final outcome. Very often with these round robin style run-offs we end up with some incredibly terrible candidate winning the contest due to vote splits and compromise. Stephane Dion and Ed Stelmach come to mind as prime examples of devastating, accidental wins.

It’s not just the accidental wins that can be a problem. History has shown that political parties are vulnerable to a variety of threatening outcomes when true supporters let their guards down.

In 2015, Canada will add thirty new seats in provinces with the most population growth. Now that the Conservative Party of Canada has established itself as a solid political brand, there are going to be a variety of ‘danger’ candidates vying for a chance to join the party. There are three main types that true blue conservatives need to beware of.

#1. The Palookas – These are candidates for whom their grasp exceeds their reach. They want to be a part of the process, but clearly aren’t prepared, experienced or accomplished enough to ably manage the job. In the old days of the Reform Party, candidates who would be classed as palookas were prevalent. Often they are not savvy or well rounded. They are prone to gaffes and hyperbole. They may be conservative minded, but often they aren’t. They just want to be a part of the game.

These people usually undo themselves. They are usually filtered out by party voters who get a sense of the lack of sophistication upon listening to or meeting them for the first time. The problem is that sometimes these candidates have a huge support system of friends, family and acquaintances that they bring to the polls. If the riding members are not engaged, these palookas can sneak into a nomination win simply due to their ability to corral their friends. They need to be redirected towards helping better candidates succeed, because they themselves are not up to the task.

#2. The Professionals – These candidates are the climbers. They are everything the Palookas are not. They can work a room and close a deal. They know how to dress and how to give a speech. They are most likely corporate executive types or lawyers. The biggest problem with these people is that they are only in politics for themselves. They only want a piece of the Conservative Party of Canada, because the Conservative Party of Canada offers them a platform to power. If it were 1995 they’d be flocking to the Liberal Party. If it were 1985 they’d be flocking to the Progressive Conservative Party. They are carpetbaggers looking for an opportunity.

The problem with these candidates is that they care nothing about conservatism. These candidates will do nothing to further the cause of conservative principles. In fact, due to the nature of their ambition they will most likely be a hindrance to conservatism. Often these candidates can be undone by their own slimy and disingenuous nature. People will usually smell the ambition and reject the candidate due to a general impression that they can’t quite articulate. These candidates will be the first to win a nomination, if there isn’t a better option on offer.

#3. The Infiltrator – The Infiltrators are the most insidious of the bad candidates. They are leftists in disguise. They seek to hijack the party in order to further their own agenda. They will mobilize fellow leftists and buy up memberships and swamp the proceedings. The hope is that they can effect leftist change from the inside out.

These candidates are going to become more common in the future, especially if Harper wins another majority and especially when it comes time for Harper to step down as leader of the Conservative Party. Leftists will view the transition periods as opportunities to strike. Conservative supporters must guard against these attacks by strengthening the party rules in regards to membership and process.

The Calgary-Centre riding includes roughly 128,000 people and Joan Crockatt won the nomination with only 900 voters participating in the process. This shows how fragile our democracy is in this country.

Apathy and ignorance is rampant in our society and this can lead to people with bad motivations winning by default. I encourage readers of Poletical to get involved and push their own agenda, because if you don’t, maybe one of the three types of candidates listed above will. Elections matter, so beware these interlopers and support candidates that can make a positive difference.