March 23, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 90  

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Oops! Gazette endorses Stronach?

By Dan Perry
Gazette Staff

According to an e-mail sent out by Belinda Stronach’s campaign team, The Gazette endorsed the candidate in the recent Conservative Party of Canada leadership race; according to The Gazette, Stronach’s campaign team is horribly, horribly wrong.

The Thursday, Mar. 18 “Belinda Stronach Update” e-mail read: “Belinda has been endorsed by The Gazette, the student newspaper at the University of Western Ontario.” The e-mail then went on to quote two lines from Gazette News Editor Anton Vidgen’s Ad Nauseum opinion column. Vidgen’s comments solely represented his personal opinion and in no way reflected the consensus of the editorial board.

The alleged endorsement was listed under the heading: “Belinda Continues to Win Youth Support,” and gave the following summation: “The endorsement praises Belinda’s message of economic opportunity and her policy of tuition tax deductibility. Belinda continues to inspire youth to get involved in politics and to bring change to Ottawa.”

Dave Forestell, a Western law student and national youth chair for Stronach’s campaign said the e-mail citing the endorsement was sent to over 140,000 Conservative party members.

“I think that was an error,” he said. “I sent the link along to the campaign. Certainly, we apologize if there was any miscommunication to our members. We just intended to provide a link to the article.
“She did have youth support,” he said.

Gord Haugh, Tony Clement’s campaign communications director, laughed off the suggestion that the reference to the ‘endorsement’ was a mistake.

“They’ll run just about anything — that’s the way the game’s played,” he said. “To someone in Western Canada, [the mistake] wouldn’t even make a difference.”

“I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was probably a mistake,” said Carolyn Stewart-Olson, Stephen Harper’s campaign secretary.

The Stronach campaign team disregarded an earlier opinion column by Gazette Editor-in-Chief Emmett Macfarlane, which supported Harper.

The false endorsement report likely had no impact on the outcome of the vote. Stronach garnered only 35 per cent of the vote, and lost to Harper.



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