Today I was on a panel with Mike Crawley, the President of the Ontario wing of the Liberal Party of Canada and with Wayne Marston, NDP MP from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek. We were chatting about a possible fall election and the dysfunction of the Ethics committee.
Now, as an observer from the outside and particularly as a Conservative Party observer, I must say that Sheila’s bold last-ditch move against Paul Martin is refreshing. When the Conservative Party was going through the pains of formation, the Liberals were laughing smugly as a small minority of members wondered if they’d stay or go. This week, as I’ve said, has proven to be a dirty internal war within the Liberal Party and it appears that Sheila is about to become a bigger headache for those Liberal MPs seeking re-election. A party in turmoil is not fit to govern and Canadians are starting to realize that, as Conservatives, we’re ready to form the next government.
We have already learned that the Liberal government is not in order. Now we’re starting to see that the Liberal house is not in order.
Former Liberal leadership hopeful Sheila Copps lost her nomination bid yesterday in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek. CTV’s Mike Duffy reported that the margin of votes that separated Ms. Copps and the victor, Tony Valeri, was 315 votes. There were 5,313 ballots cast.
It appears as if Paul Martin is making every effort to usher out his predecessor’s inner circle. When Mr. Martin was leadership runner-up to Jean Chrétien in 1990 he received a cabinet post as Minister of Finance. In 2002, Ms. Copps was runner-up to Mr. Martin in the Liberal leadership race and now she’s been tossed aside. At the height of her career, she was the Liberal deputy PM. Now her party has denied her the chance to run in the next election.
I’ve heard that Valeri’s scrutineers had close ties to the PM. About 400 Liberals were turned away from the meeting and were deemed ineligible to vote. Ms. Copps’ mother and the riding association president were also challenged according to Copps.
Ms. Copps has said that she’ll take a week to “consider her options”. Before the vote she remarked, “Tony, whatever happens in this fight, we’re all believing in the building of our great party and we’ll do it together”. We’ll see if she runs as an independent as the NDP has already deemed her “damaged goods”