An interesting pattern began emerging during the Federal Election this past spring. At forums, debates, and all-candidates meetings across the country, Conservative Party candidates were simply not showing up.
There was always some excuse, of course - although the over-use of the "prior commitment" was making some wonder if there was perhaps a new species of virus called "Prior Commitment" that had everyone sick in bed. And to be sure, some candidates may well have had a legitimate reason for not being able to attend.
It was the high percentage of Conservative candidates who were finding somewhere they would rather be that began to raise eyebrows, to the point where campaign spokesman Ryan Sparrow had to step in and quash rumours that Head Office was ordering them not to attend. He even issued a statement:
We provide support for candidates to participate in candidates debates, but we don't instruct them not to attend debates. Most candidates would prefer to meet with voters one on one though instead of debating their opponents in crowds of committed supporters of the different parties.
Fast forward five months, and the same pattern is beginning to emerge among Ontario Progressive Conservative candidates.