Ottawa ONTARIO – I see that the fun and games have begun in earnest as Tory leadership candidates insult each other and toss accusations of cheating around. All of this coming after O’Leary went public and accused someone of rigging the leadership election.
I can’t say that I am surprised that someone has tried to circumvent the rules. I have been involved in too many elections and too many leadership contests to be blind to the fact that this type of behavior goes on. I should add that it would be a rare thing for any party leader or leadership candidate to have any first-hand knowledge of this stuff.
Sadly none of the candidates that have expressed their outrage have also considered the damage that they are doing to the party brand.
O’Leary was not the only candidate whose organization had contacted party headquarters with complaints about what was going on. At various times, Leitch, Alexander and Scheer had also raised concerns, including the possibility that someone was cheating. With that number of complaints there is no doubt the party would have investigated the situation. There was no need for O’Leary’s to go off half-cocked to try to discredit the system. It sounds a bit too much like the claims that millions of illegals voted in the last US election. Unless of course O’Leary had an ulterior motive and we will see how that plays out in the weeks ahead. There was also no need for Bernier to attack O’Leary; mudslinging when it involves your own side is just plain foolish, tarnishes your party’s brand and both sides usually lose in the process and in the public’s eye.
Lisa Raitt’s announcement today that people should be thrown out if caught cheating is another example of what is not needed. While allowing her to get into the limelight, I have to wonder why? If you are above the fray, why jump into the middle of it? You do yourself no favours and I can say with some degree of accuracy that no campaign can give a 100% guarantee that no one in their entire organization has not done anything wrong. Raitt’s comments got her publicity but what happens now if someone comes forward and they can offer some proof of cheating by her organization. Unless you know without a doubt that nothing is going on, you always have to be prepared for these comments to come back and bite you.
The bigger issue remains that these public accusations diminish the Conservative brand. A public fight over cheating simply reminds the media and the public of other recent issues that the party had put behind it. It also allows the Liberals to escape the media focus on illegals crossing the border, the lead up to the budget and issues involving trade and how they will deal with Donald Trump.
All of this over something that the party would have investigated anyways.
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