Jason Markusoff: To believe his claims about the CP provincial leadership vote, you have to believe that a grand conspiracy took place in full view of its main victim.
As long as I live in Manitoba, Shelly Glover is my prime minister.
Actually, I live in Alberta, even though my father was born and raised in Winnipeg Northender. And while we’re accurate, Shelley Glover is just the first in a darkly fantastic world where the ugliest of political conspiracies are true.
On Saturday, the ruling Manitoba progressive conservatives awarded the party leadership to former Deputy Prime Minister Heather Stefanson over Glover, 8,405 votes to 8,042. The party and the provincial establishment raced the following Tuesday to install Stefanson as Manitoba’s new (and effective) premier. On the same day, the contest runner-up filed a lawsuit and affidavits with the aim of reversing the results, declaring to Bartley Kives of CBC: “I am the premier, not you. I’m sorry, but Manitobans chose me ”.
Glover, a former Harper-era federal government minister, fortunately succumbed to reality in subsequent interviews, recognizing that someone else has, in fact, been sworn in as premier. But she will insist to anyone who hears that there is an impostor in charge, and that she is the duly elected leader of PC Manitoba and has the right to become the first female premier in the history of the province.
There is a long history of sour grapes about irregularities and cheating in party leadership contests. In some cases, candidates openly contest the results: more recently, Christine Elliott in the leadership of the PC of Ontario in 2018 e Maxime Bernier in the race for federal conservatives in 2017. Campaign for United Conservative leadership by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney remains under RCMP investigation. We’re in less familiar territory, however, with Glover’s refusal to relent, and her tenacious pursuit of legal action against the party whose crown he sought. It will continue as a court drama, or a subplot of Stefanson’s actual task of driving Manitoba, at least until the next hearing in two weeks, or longer if a judge determines that the judicial system has jurisdiction to resolve an election dispute within. of the party.
His attorney, Dave Hill, told CTV who had successfully challenged an East Manitoba school trustee contest, so why not take on a different level of government? However, what the judge found there was reportedly accidental voting irregularities. Glover, a retired police officer, is stating something far more deliberate: that PC officials not only tipped the scales in favor of his establishment rival, but that they somehow dumped several hundred more votes. at the last minute to convert a Glover win into a Stefanson wins. His evidence includes an affidavit from his teller, a former police officer colleague; accounts explained in televised interviews of a spreadsheet showing a lower count of total votes cast and Stefanson aides appearing discouraged when counting; and some chat on social networks. This follows Glover’s rumblings days before the end of the race about some Tory members not getting votes.
The enormity of what he claims, on top of the evidence provided so far, questions his version of events. To think what he’s claiming is true, you’d have to believe that the poohbahs in the party that has ruled Manitoba for 16 of the past 33 years have planned to rig the selection of an instant prime minister, blatantly nullifying the will of their members. And that they did it in a clumsy way, in a way that was easily visible to the party that was having the election stolen. And that many prominent Tory figures have agreed to this scheme. Heck, it could all go all the way to the premier’s office.
If this supposed grand plot were true, and the Lieutenant-Governor had indeed anointed the wrong person, many government and party officials would have been considered corrupt and their political careers would have been ruined. Glover should throw everyone overboard and rebuild most of its government side – a group that is already trying to recover from Brian Pallister’s troubled legacy, one of the most unwelcome premieres in Canada. He should have done all of this while trying to wipe out Manitoba NDP’s healthy lead in the polls. With provincial elections two years away, he would have the miserable task of restoring public confidence after the Manitobans just saw his party risk it all, and lose it all, in an attempt to undermine democracy.
Sounds far-fetched? Wild eyes? It is not something we need in a country whose neighbor is a year away from an election that the loser continues to claim was rigged despite all evidence to the contrary, claiming that masses of officials conspired to rob him of victory. But as it turns out, that’s what a former federal government minister in Canada passionately believes. If he somehow wins, he completely destroys the credibility and suitability of his party to participate in the democratic process. If she loses, she has done the same to herself.