John Cummins hopes to avoid Wildrose-style embarrassments
If Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith loses the Alberta election on April 23, pundits will undoubtedly point to two defining events that halted her momentum.
The first was a news story over the weekend that an Edmonton candidate, Allan Hunsperger, had earlier argued that gays and lesbians should change their sexual orientation.
That was followed by a Calgary candidate, Ron Leech, claiming that as a white politician, he's well-suited to speak to the entire community.
Smith has not condemned the comments of either candidate.
That got me wondering if B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins might end up in a similar pickle during the 2013 provincial campaign.
He's an experienced politician, having served in Parliament for nearly two decades. And it appears that his party has already taken steps to try to prevent embarrassing extremists from being nominated.
The party's lengthy candidate-application form makes it easier for Cummins to weed out undesirables.
There are lots of questions, including:
• Do you support the view of, or have you ever had an association with, any groups that promote the secession of British Columbia or any other province or region of Canada?
• Have you been engaged in or accused of activities that promote discrimination or hatred against people on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or disability?
• List any countries (other than Canada) of which you are or have been a citizen or which assert obligations of citizenship over you.
• Have you ever been active with another political party in British Columbia either generally, or in the Provincial Electoral District in which the nomination is being sought? If so, please explain.
• Are any members of your immediate family active with another political party in British Columbia either generally, or in the Provincial Electoral District in which the nomination is being sought? If so please explain.
• Have you ever applied to be a candidate with any political party and been refused?
• Are you currently a member of another political party active in Provincial politics in British Columbia?
• Have you carefully and thoughtfully read the most current Principles and Policies of The BC Conservative Party and recognize that the Principles and Policies will evolve, develop and be adopted over time?
• Are there any policies and principles that you disagree with?
• Are there principles and policies not mentioned in the Principles and Policies of The BC Conservative Party that you adhere to and wish to promote?
• Have you ever had a serious dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency, the Ministry of Finance, the Canada Border Services Agency, or their predecessors over personal or corporate tax matters?
• Have you experienced a business failure in the last 20 years?
• Are you, or will you be, a shareholder or officer in any company (other than a publicly-traded company) having a material contract or agreement with the Province of British Columbia or with the Government of Canada?
• Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
• Have you ever participated in an illegal strike?
• Are you currently, or have you ever been under investigation by a professional organization or tribunal for alleged misconduct (even if you were subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing?)
• Are you currently, or have you ever been under investigation by any law enforcement agencies (even if no charges were brought against you)?
In addition, the candidate-application form asks about a criminal record, being denied a security clearance by any government, social-media accounts (but not the passwords), and if any immediate family members are incarcerated.
The advantage of having a prospective candidates fill out one of these forms is that it makes it very easy for the leader to bounce them if any trouble arises.
Cummins could simply state that the person didn't answer questions honestly on the application form, which is grounds for dismissal.
If there are any outrageous comments posted on a Facebook account, party staff should ferret them out long before any candidacy has been approved.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.