Fail Candidates dropping like flies? Not for the first time
On the outside chance that you still have an old bottle of typewriter white out in a drawer somewhere, you might want to go get it.
Just when you think the federal parties have nailed down their lists of candidates for the upcoming election, someone has to sheepishly announce a correction.
But, it's not a clerical issue.
In fact, for voters it's more troubling than that and may reveal yet another reason to be cynical about the political process unfolding in front of us.
For example, only a few months ago Tony Genco was a Liberal. And, within the federal party, he was best known as the Liberal who almost beat the Conservative's star candidate, former police chief Julian Fantino, for the much-coveted Ontario riding of Vaughan during the by-election last November.
Genco was apparently expecting to be the Liberal candidate again and, in several news releases late last year, he accused the Conservatives of abandoning seniors (Fantino's cabinet portfolio), in favour of spending money on fighter jets.
But then the Liberals chose to run someone other than Genco in the riding this time and the former candidate shot back. Genco now says he will be supporting the Tories this time out and he suddenly has nothing but praise for Fantino.
His intention may be to stick a finger in the eye of his former party, but it's the voters who are wincing.
How can a candidate be committed to one way of thinking on Monday, and a contrarian view on Tuesday?
This week, though, Genco is far from alone in changing his mind. In the Ontario riding of Elgin-Middlesex-London, Fred Sinclair took over today as the NDP's new candidate.
That's because earlier this week, the party's chosen candidate, Ryan Dolby, had barely started his campaign when he ended it.
Dolby announced he was supporting the Liberal instead. Dolby rationalized his decision by saying he didn't want to split the vote and let the Conservative win.
Vote-splitting is as old as the notion of a three-person race. How is it possible that Dolby only considered the conundrum after the election was called?
Then there is the case of Mustafa Rizvi, who ran for the NDP in 2008 in the riding of Mississauga-Erindale.
He apparently told organizers a few weeks ago that he had a new favourite party, the Conservatives.
Even casual students of politics know that's quite a change in perspective. Rizvi won a paltry 4,700 votes in the last election. But Conservative Bob Dechert only squeaked out a 397-vote win over his Liberal rival.
Getting Rizvi's support, even if only a fraction of his former voters follow him, might give the Conservatives a win again. Voters will be right to wonder how Rizvi came to make his decision.
Perhaps the most genuine of the people changing their minds this week is B.C. Liberal candidate Al O'Halloran.
At 53 and a Mountie by day, he tried campaigning and found it is harder than it looks on TV.
Barely three days in, he announced it was tougher than he expected and he's calling it quits.
Assuming that's the reason, give him a point for honesty. As any journalist has witnessed first-hand, election campaigns are tough slogging.
Had he asked anyone who'd been through a campaign beforehand, he surely would have been told that it is a 35-day boot camp that will help shed pounds and add age lines faster than virtually anything else you can do.
Of course, coming to the conclusion he did, when the other parties' candidates are already out of the starting block, puts the people who were counting on him well behind.
If there's any comfort here, it's that this isn't new.
In 2008, you might remember, three federal candidates dropped out in the early days of the campaign as well.
Things leveled off after that. Which means you should be able to put the white out away again in a few days.
Have a claim from the campaign trail you want us to test?
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