It’s not Cathy McLeod’s fault nobody knows who she is.
As of Saturday, she is officially the Conservative candidate in the riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo but, other than that, she’s a bit of of a non-entity in the community life of this city. There’s nothing wrong with that, though previous credentials in civic leadership are helpful in providing voters with a sense of a candidate’s commitment to the community.
Maybe, between now and Oct. 14 people around here will get to know her well enough to consider voting for her. That could make all the difference to the outcome, since otherwise people will have only the party and the party leader to persuade them.
McLeod’s appointment is a bizarre ending to many months of intrigue around who the local Tories would pick — turns out the candidate was picked for them by the national party. The official line of the constituency association was that there was no rush and, in due course, an excellent candidate would be named.
On the street, the unofficial line promoted by those within the association was that a high-profile candidate was in the offing, somebody who couldn’t announce quite yet due to other commitments. There were rumours of Roger Barnsley, Nancy Greene Raine, Bud Smith, even Vic Poleschuk. And, of course, the most interesting rumour of all, David Emerson.
Evidence seems to suggest that the local party frittered away more opportunities than a 649 winner on a Las Vegas spending spree.
It started when MP Hinton announced some months ago she would not run again, for health reasons. That was good news for the local Tories, since the increasingly unpopular MP was shown heading for a reckoning. A Mustel Group poll conducted for The Daily News and TV7 last year showed her trailing Liberal Ken Sommerfeld in support, with the NDP’s Michael Crawford bringing up third.
A fresh candidate held the promise of the Tories being able to hold the riding. But months went by, so did rumours, and nothing, but nothing, happened. One story was that the party didn’t want to name a candidate while Hinton was still a sitting MP.
More likely is that they just couldn’t find anybody. A few applications trickled in, including one from Fred Bosman, who had lost to Hinton by a whisker in the original nomination. Overtures were made to “name” candidates, and there were simply no takers.
That scenario is more flattering to the constituency association than the alternative, which is that it simply dropped the ball in stupendously inept fashion.
So, we have a Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo “race” with two candidates who’ve had months to become familiar to voters, and one candidate nobody has a clue about. If the Tories fail to hold this riding, they shouldn’t have much problem figuring out why.
Comments on this or any other post are welcome.