Monday, January 09, 2006

As is usually the case this Canadian federal election campaign is producing all sorts of odd behaviour. Dale Sanders, the Christian Heritage Party candidate in the Saskatoon-Wanuskewin riding, feels that Conservative Party incumbent Maurice Vellacot tried to intimidate him into dropping out of the race. He also says that Sam Magnus of the Conservative Party's national council made a similar phonecall. Both men supposedly wanted to know why Sanders would run against Vellacot when they're both Christians and doing so might split the conservative vote in the riding. CHP leader Ron Gray says he received a similar call from Vellacot regarding Sanders, and that Vellacot suggested the party should make all its candidates drop out, because they might split the vote and allow Liberals to be elected. Vellacot told Lana Haight of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix that he sees nothing wrong with asking such questions.

Such a premise strikes me as flawed. It assumes that all CHP voters would vote Conservative if the CHP isn't running candidates. This of course isn't the case. Some would vote for other parties. Others wouldn't vote at all absent a CHP candidate. And some might not like a specific Conservative candidate running in their riding and not vote for him, whereas they would vote Conservative if another candidate was running. Its also an amusing worry when you look at the results in Vellacot's riding. He beat Liberal Chris Axworthy, the second place candidate, by almost 5000 votes. Does he really think this election will be that close in his riding that the several hundred(if he's lucky) votes Sanders might get will prevent him from winning? In fact given the limited profile the CHP has its hard to imagine their slice of the votes being significant in more than a riding or two if at all.

Over in the Battlefords-Lloydminster riding Jim Pankiw is stirring up things again. He's called on the Elections Canada commission to charge Conservative MP Gerry Ritz with tampering with his election signs. Pankiw's father found Ritz removing one of Pankiw's signs from private property. He also implied in his letter to the commissioner that Ritz may have had a role in some of his signs being vandalised. Ritz says he was removing the sign at the request of the property owners, who he states did not give Pankiw permission to put up the signs. He claims to have received at least 50 phone calls from folks who've had Pankiw signs put on their property without permission. Given Pankiw's previous antics this wouldn't surprise me in the least. It also amuses me that Pankiw, like a lot of vocal "get the government out of my business" types, is quick to go to the authorities when it involves something affecting him.

Pankiw is also the subject of a parody website. Any complaints he might have about this sort of cybersquatting will ring a little hollow however. In the 2000 election he acquired a web address including the name of then Liberal candidate Morris Bodnar and established a website there that redirected visitors to anti gun control sites. The same person behind the Pankiw parody site, who declined to give his real name to the Star Phoenix, is also running a parody site lampooning Saskatoon-Humboldt Conservative incumbent Brad Trost.

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