Monday, October 06, 2008

StealthCon IV: StealthCon Awakening

Well, the StealthCons are finally getting the publicity they deserve.
Today the Star Phoenix had an editorial about them: Tory candidates have obligation to share views. The editorial highlights the case of Kelly Block, Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar "who has refused outright to participate in any election debates" -- and so as a result she has generated a negative editorial when she is running neck-and-neck with Nettie Wiebe. The editorial highlights the cowardice of the StealthCons:
. . . what emerges is a picture of a slate of aspirants who either lack the courage of their convictions to defend themselves and their party in sometimes hostile public venues or who are possessed of chronic performance anxiety and shyness that make them singularly unsuitable for the job they seek.
And thanks to Geoff for emailing the link to this story about the Conservative candidates from Kitchener:
First, there was a debate Monday night at the Wilfrid Laurier University school of social work.
Kitchener Centre Conservative candidate Stephen Woodworth and Kitchener-Waterloo candidate Peter Braid both sent regrets.
Then yesterday, three Tory candidates -- Woodworth, Braid and Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht --- gave the cold shoulder to a "roundtable discussion" at St. John's Kitchen. . . .
Canadian Press is reporting that record numbers of Tory candidates across the country are failing to attend community debates.
One Calgary Conservative has made himself so scarce that a local radio station has launched a contest to locate him and prove he's still alive.
So what does any of this matter? The Kitchener Record article makes this point:
. . . the Conservatives, who called the election in the first place, owe us a full and open discussion.
And the Star Phoenix editorial concludes:
For a party that got into trouble with Elections Canada for funneling money to local candidates' campaigns to purchase advertising deemed to be national ads for regulatory purposes, it's damaging to send a message to voters that their candidate is but a mere pawn in a game far removed from local control or accountability.
It's bad enough when a party's candidate does no more than spew out packaged pablum prepared by the national office, that has little to do with local issues.
But it undermines the entire democratic process when candidates refuse to participate during an election campaign in public events that give voters a chance to assess their ideas in the context of what's being offered by other parties, especially when the party in question has not yet released a full platform that can be useful for comparison purposes.
The Conservative party seems to be turning "Undermining the democratic process" into an art form -- hey, maybe they should hold a gala!

Our Story So Far: The "StealthCon" term is RossK's great invention, and he defines it thusly:
A StealthCon is a Harpertronic conservative candidate who ducks the media and especially the public. Their most egregious acts of stealthitude occur when they subvert democracy completely by refusing to show up at all candidates meetings where the voters, instead of watching ads on the TeeVee actually head out the door in an effort to find out, via their own eyes and ears, what they will (or will not) be voting for.
StealthCon I, II and III are here, here and here.

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