After being recruited to run for MP in the Ontario riding of Dufferin-Caledon, and having my candidacy approved by the Liberal Party last July, today I informed the leader of my resignation.
My hope in returning to Parliament was to help clear the path to a viable economic future. Stephen Harper’s $56 billion deficit and profligate spending are massive threats. But also threatening is a lack of debate about viable options and an honest conversation with voters and citizens on the looming consequences.
Therefore it’s hard to see what the coming election will be about if we’re not prepared to discuss the options in the wake of the Harper fiscal disaster. Economic growth alone won’t wipe out an historic debt load or the need for spending cuts and tax hikes. The looming HST in Ontario and BC is likely but a taste of medicine to come. This is what Canadians need to understand.
A year ago Stephen Harper said there would be no recession and no deficit. That was untrue. Now he says there will be no consequences of our record shortfall. Also untrue.
In my financial books and writings I’ve warned of the need for families to invest wisely, use debt carefully and live within their means in an uncertain world. Rather than tell voters interest rates and taxes won’t rise nor spending fall, leaders should guide us all into realistic choices. Sadly, that doesn’t win elections.
In Dufferin-Caledon I have been the only nominee for MP candidate since August. I’m interpreting the leader’s failure to allow a nomination meeting as a signal my views are unwelcome.
The views he's referring to are, in this case, expressed in his post against the HST, and in another in favour of honestly discussing the fact that tax increases and/or massive spending cuts are going to be required to get us out of deficit. And yeah, I can see that not making him any friends when the Liberal Party is desperately trying not to take a solid position on either of these things.
What puzzles me is this. Dufferin-Caledon is regarded by most as a fairly safe Conservative riding. So, assuming that rumours are true and nobody at Liberal HQ likes Garth Turner or wants to see him elected again, wouldn't it seem the perfect solution to banish him to just such an apparently unwinnable riding?
And yet, if Garth's interpretation of events is correct, the leader of the Liberal Party has gone out of his way twice now to thwart even the faintest hope of Garth Turner ever attending another Liberal caucus meeting - once in Halton by appointing a candidate, and again in Caledon by leaving him in indefinite limbo.
I have no idea how likely any of this is. As with all things Garth, I am sure there's some combination of martyrdom and unspoken intrigue at work here. Still, the idea that an uncontested candidate could be blocked from being nominated in this way points once again to the potential for manipulation in the system. And that's something that should concern us all.
Meanwhile, the good people of Dufferin-Caledon are still without a candidate, and now they'll have to start from scratch to find one. Good thing we're not having an election any time soon.
UPDATE: Steve Janke, doing his 'Full Comment' over at the National Post, has a quote from Dufferin-Caledon FLA Membership Chair Janet Rosenstock:
"I am not sure Mr. Turner's reasons for leaving are indeed his reasons for leaving. Another candidate for nomination had come forward and was in process. Perhaps Mr. Turner did not want to face a fight for the nomination. As far as Mr. Turner's feeling that the Leadership would not grant him a nomination meeting is concerned, there are rules that must be followed. Every FLA must have a certain level of membership before a nomination meeting can be granted. The Membership level is lowered during what is called, 'Electoral Urgency.' Our 'Electoral Urgency' number is roughly 175. We needed about 12 more members. Mr. Turner and his supporters were told repeatedly that a nomination meeting could and would be held when the required level of membership was reached. Two and one half months later, Mr. Turner and his supporters had failed to sign up a sufficient number of members."
Two things about this: a) Janet Rosenstock is no fan of Garth Turner's, but b) It does have a ring of truth to it, given Garth's aversion to contested nominations.
Wheels within wheels.