‘Control freak’ Liberals consider harsh rules due
to Sheila Copps
By Angela Marie Denstedt
The federal Liberal Party will soon be enforcing new game
rules for future Liberal candidates, which seem to stop just
short of requiring the name of the candidates’ hair stylists.
As per new party rules, all future candidates must sign a
waiver vowing not to run individually or for a different party
anywhere in Canada if they lose a Liberal nomination. Candidates
must also disclose personal information from their past regarding
their medical history, education and marital status.
“With Paul Martin as the new Liberal leader, parties
have begun sorting themselves out. There is likely to be more
contested nominations in the Liberal ridings because of different
factors including leadership and the redistributed ridings
and boundaries,” said John McDougall, a Western professor
of political science.
“I can understand the need for a screening process [for
would-be candidates], but certain aspects of this are extreme.
Questioning a 50-year-old candidate [on] whether they were
ever caught plagiarizing in college is a bit much,” said
Andrew Sancton, also a political science professor at Western.
The waiver is believed to be in response to rumours of Sheila
Copps’ intentions to leave the Liberals for the New Democratic
Party if she loses her Hamilton-area riding in the next federal
election. “If she’s going to leave, she should
go before the election. That would be ethical,” Sancton
said, when asked to comment on Copps’ possible move.
The waiver also exposes a potential weakness in the federal
Liberal Party, as it may signal paranoia and need for control,
he said. “There is an expression called ‘control
freak;’ they don’t want any surprises and appear
to be excessively controlling information.”
“It is harder to get a Liberal nomination in this province
than any other,” he noted, adding this will not begin
a chain reaction of mandatory waivers being implemented by
Sancton also commented that the new mandatory waiver could
do the opposite of weeding out dirty politicians, and instead,
discourage decent candidates from running. “Some people
may have things they’d like to keep secret, so they would
rather not disclose the information than to run for office.”
“There are certain aspects of people’s lives that
are so private you would not want them becoming public knowledge.
I would not want to risk something private within my family
being publicized and would not run [for political office] for
that reason,” said Stephanie LaBelle, a second-year psychology