Sunday, February 04, 2007

Compton-Stanstead: Who Does Peter MacKay Endorse?

Very interesting, if conflicting, reports out of the Townships. The CPC nomination battle is heating up in the Bloc-held riding of Compton-Stanstead, located in Quebec's beautiful Eastern Townships. As le Progres de Coaticook reported a few weeks back, Dany Renauld, a former Charest aide from way back, has expressed his intention to seek the nomination in the riding. The article goes on to explain that Peter MacKay was in the riding before Christmas to endorse Renauld. Renaud also has the endorsement of a couple of mayors in the riding.

What's interesting is that this week's edition of the Stanstead Journal features a story about the other contender for the CPC nomination - Ontario-born and raised lawyer Brian Mitchell. Mitchell has lived in Montreal for a number of years and was Vice-President of the Progressive Conservatives - he had the nomination in Westmount-Ville-Marie in 2006, but either withdrew or was withdrawn - no info is available. Mitchell supported Steve for the leadership of the CPC. The photo accompanying the article is Mitchell with none other than Peter MacKay, leading the casual observer to conclude that Mitchell enjoys the support of MacKay, as well. Maybe I'm just a typical Grit cynic, but it looks like Mitchell is trying to pull a mindfuck on Renauld. Surely Mitchell could have found a picture with his political master, Boss Harp.

Or maybe not.

There are a few possible scenarios that spring to mind:

1. Mitchell represents the progressive wing of the CPC and has been accused in the past of trying to shift the party to the left. Harp may figure the optics of such a figure will fool Quebecers into believing the CPC is becoming more progressive. A perceived association with MacKay will help the optics of such a strategy, as well as serving to sock it to his opponent.

2. The rift between Harp and MacKay is alive and well, with each running their own preferred candidate. Only, now MacKay may have some explaining to do to his boy, if the English-language media is any indication. Typical Harp move to destabilise.

3. They're all in it together with Mitchell signing up large numbers of anglos in the west of the riding and Renauld doing the same in the east with francophones. A nomination contest will provide the illusion of democracy and the party benefits from the buzz surrounding the whole thing.

The membership cut-off is February 13th - the nomination meeting will be held at a 'national convention' March 11th.

And I just have to mention Brian Mitchell's campaign slogan:


Well, duh.


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