For heaven’s sake, Ontario, would you stop sending us your right-wing nut-jobs?
There was Derek Fildebrandt. Horrible! There was Jason Kenney. Even worse! There are too many more to mention. Their names are legion.
And now, if social media auguries are to be believed, Derek Sloan wants to invade our beautiful Wild Rose Country and run for public office.
Yes, that Derek Sloan.
The former Conservative MP for Ontario’s Hastings-Lennox and Addington riding on the scenic Bay of Quinte, now an Independent MP with no hope of election there on Sept. 20.
That’s right, the former candidate to lead the Conservative Party of Canada that the winner of that contest, Erin O’Toole, had frog marched out of the party for xenophobic, homophobic, anti-vaccine, and racist online commentary.
Well, technically, O’Toole booted him out of the CPC for accepting a donation from a well-known neo-Nazi, which Sloan claimed he didn’t know about. But considering Sloan’s record, the Conservative leader’s decision was probably a case of any old port in a storm.
Notwithstanding the fact Sloan was the first candidate bumped from the Conservative leadership ballot a year ago, he obviously had significant appeal to far-right conservatives who have ingested a little too much Q with their breakfast Shreddies.
He was also endorsed by the anti-reproductive-rights crowd that has infiltrated the ranks of Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party.
I’m sure all of this stuff troubled O’Toole as he set about the difficult task of cobbling together a winning coalition out of a party a majority of Canadians just don’t seem to like as much as they once did.
Apparently the good people of Sloan’s current Ontario riding don’t want the guy around any more either. And who can blame them?
Which brings us to the present moment.
Yes, Sloan, 36 — the Canadian politician who most resembled Commander Fred Waterford in the made-for-TV series based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopic Handmaid’s Tale, truly a case of life imitating art — is going to make a big announcement in Alberta tomorrow.
QuinteNews, which advertises itself as the Quinte region’s best source of news, sounded quite pleased that, as their reporter put it, “it appears the incumbent Member of Parliament for Hastings-Lennox and Addington may have his sights set west for the upcoming federal election.”
One imagines they were thinking: “Going so soon, Derek? Here’s your hat. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!”
Lately, Sloan’s been sending emails to supporters promising “an exciting announcement” tonight at the curling club in Cochrane, west of Calgary.
He’s been soliciting for volunteers, so one can only imagine the sorts of folks who will be turning up in Cochrane later today.
The email flyer says, disturbingly, “As you know I am in Alberta right now … and i’m not leaving!” (sic)
“Together, Let’s Make Alberta Great Again!”
That seems unlikely, for too many reasons to enumerate.
On the matter of Sloan’s prospects alone, if the rumours are true, he will be the fourth right-wing candidate to declare an intention to run in the Banff-Airdrie riding.
The others are Banff-Airdrie’s Conservative MP Blake Richards, a former real estate sales agent once being kicked out of the House of Commons for “excessive heckling” and a signatory to the execrable separatist Buffalo Declaration, Nadine Wellwood of the even more right-wing People’s Party of Canada, Tariq Elnaga of the right-wing and separatist Maverick Party, and Liberal David Gamble.
The New Democrats and the Greens haven’t yet nominated candidates, Cochrane Now reported on Monday.
One can only hope the arrival of yet another right-winger will split the vote enough to elect someone more progressive.
Look, Ontario, we know we can’t make you stop. Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees all Canadians’ mobility rights, and it’s not even subject to the Notwithstanding Clause.
But just the same, can you quit it, already?
We’ve surpassed our quota of right-wing nut-jobs from Ontario, thank you very much, not to mention the ones that were already here when they turned up.
We’re full! You need to send Sloan somewhere else.
And as for you, my fellow Albertans, stop voting for these people, would you?
This is starting to get embarrassing!
David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald.
Image: Derek Sloan/Facebook