Inky the former MP was a long-time maverick in the CP, but a much-loved and very clever politician in the riding. He had joined the ginger group of Reformers who quit the party and joined the CPCs in protest of Stockwell Day's policies.
The ginger group rejoined the party after the reform alliance was formed. Among other things he supported the Wheat Board during Harper's vicious attacks on it's right to exist. Following that Inky was delegated to the back benches. Harper runs a tight ship. One could call it dictatorial. I believe Harper, as he had with many other MPs, put pressure on Inky to quit. The alternative being the possibility of one of the bagfull of nasty King Steven's dirty tricks.
Inky resigned, figuring he could return to his Dauphin base as Mayor. He considered it a safe haven as he had been a very popular mayor. On leaving he gave a subtle dig at the party. See parts of his National Post interview here http://www.uglychinesecanadian.com/?p=489 and here http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ex-tory-mp-calls-nomination... ( the comments are also interesting).
The riding nominations were called for in the summer of this year. There was not the usual process of mailing out a nomination kit which one would imagine would give a closing date for nominations. Inky's preferred candidate Wayne Matheson stated that early on he was told by the national office to hold off putting himself forward until the bye-election was called. One would imagine that other potential candidates were also told this.
The riding nomination committee was not formed until the day before nominations closed in late summer, the busiest time of year for farmers. The potential candidates were supposedly informed by an automated telephone service. There was only one acclaimed candidate, Robert Sopuck, altho others had expressed interest in running.
Inky protested to many former PC MPs about the the nomination process, without getting any support. The fix was on and and none of them dared oppose Harper and the national council. The President of the riding Brian Chita launched an appeal of the process on behalf of the local Conservative board.and sent a long letter to riding members stating “a process that failed to follow our party's candidate nomination rules, thereby limiting your opportunity to take part in the process.” It was of course rejected by the national council. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ex-tory-mp-calls-nomination...
It's interesting to note that Brian Chita, who admittedly ran for mayor of Dauphin in the previous election, ran as a mayoralty candidate against Inky. One would imagine that the riding president of Inkys long-time held riding would have deferred to him in the mayorality contest. One must wonder whether the Harper SS exerted pressure on him to run. Inky lost by 40 votes.
Robert Supock is/was a paid staffer of the Frontier Center for Public policy, a harder-right subsiduary of the Frazer Institute which is funded by many of the large corporations, especially the oil-patch industry.
"http://www.desmogblog.com/calgary-foundation-friends-friends-science#com.... They also support Tim Ball a noted antienvironmentalist and friend of big oil. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Tim_Ball.
FCPP is an active player in the climate change debunker movement, and likely linked to the "Calgary School" of Harper and many of his advisors, folllowers of the Plutocrat Leo Straus. Strauss was the ideological underpinning for most of the neocons and upper elite of the GW Bush administration. http://evatt.labor.net.au/publications/papers/112.html
Sopuck will certainly not step out of line with Harper's devious policies, nor support The Wheat Board's continuance which impedes Harpers plans to turn the nations agriculture over to big business. Indeed he will urge for policies even more right-wing, such as weakening our Medicare, cutting welfare expenditures, and of course even weaker environmental laws.
I don't buy the common conception that Swan River-Marquette is a PC shoo-in even with the gerrymandering some years back which brought in to the riding the prosperous regions of Neepawa-Minnidosa. We are still, if I remember correctly, the 4th poorest federal riding in Canada and one of the largest. Inky was the glue which held it together for the conservatives. There were Liberal MPs before Inky and even an NDP MP. The riding is also surrounded by provincial NDP ridings and of course the Swan River riding is held by Rosanne Wowchuck the present Treasurer.
There must be many dissaffected Conservatives especially if the electorate is informed on Sopucks affiliations and his real positions. He even has the audacity of presenting himself as an enviromentalist when his main interest there is his hunting background. This guy must be defeated because if he gets elected this gives him credence which will carry over to the next election.
Inky, understandably, is pissed off and is now mobilizing behind the Green Party candidate Kate Storey. This could seriously split the CP support in the south of voters who would never vote NDP. The Liberals are no threat but do reduce CP support.
Denise Harder, the NDP candidate is very credible and competent, a Cupe staffer and chairman of the midmanitoba health authority. She was born in Ste Rose du Lac, but now lives in Portage La Prairie, just outside the riding (which of course the CPers are making much of). Jack and Olivia were supposed to be at a rally in Dauphin today, but the roads out here are virtually impassable because of a blizzard the last few days. This seat is winnable with more support from the NDP National Council. Keep a close eye on this riding. Harper and the CP might be in for a big surprise.