I’m not big on telling people what to do, particularly when it comes to whom to vote for in a leadership race. I’m happy to offer opinions (you might have noticed) but I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. But I will make one exception when it comes to ALP leadership candidate Bill Harvey.
Here’s my advice: don’t vote for Bill Harvey.
Or, to put it a way he might understand: DO NOT VOTE FOR BILL HARVEY!
Why would I make such a bold statement? Until I got a poison pen piece of literature — filled with CAPITALIZED WORDS and and BOLDFACE CAPITALS and BOLDFACED CAPITALIZED UNDERLINED WORDS — from the Bill Harvey campaign, I hadn’t given him much thought. But his literature has done exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to do; it turned me against the guy.
For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Harvey, he’s a Calgary Liberal who has run for the ALP twice in Calgary East (according to his literature, he increased his vote between 2004 and 2008; what he doesn’t say it that he increased it a grand total of 0.30 per cent). He mentions at length and ad naseum that he worked for Laurence Decore in the 1980s, and he wants to return the party to its Decore glory years. All this is fine; glad he’s devoted to the party, happy he has thrown his hat into the ring twice. Harvey is somewhat to the right of every other candidate. Hell, he’s somewhat to the right of Danielle Smith. (He wants a provincial police force, our own pension plan, and control over immigration. In other words, the Republic of Albertastan.)
He has some good ideas, but mostly he’s way too far right for any party that calls itself liberal. But a range of opinions is healthy for a leadership debate.
But here’s why is say DON’T VOTE FOR BILL HARVEY.
His newsletter, written by the co-chair of the Harvey campaign (who is unnamed, except for an indecipherable signature at the bottom of the letter), rails against one candidate. Care to guess who it is? Here’s an example of one paragraph, complete with underlines and boldface type:
“We knew going into this race that our main opponent was going to get plenty of media because he is a former Alberta Progressive Conservative MLA and is known for his grandstanding! In any race there are always front runners and it has become a two way race between Bill Harvey and Tory defector and one issue candidate Raj Sherman.”
Harvey’s newsletter goes on to extol his virtues, even quoting Grant MacEwan poli-sci guy Chaldeans Mensah (yes, him again) as saying he is the one “most in line with the mood of Alberta” (Mensah apparently believes he has his finger on the pulse of the province) . Mensah is also quoted as saying Harvey could “capture the political centre”, which again proves Mensah doesn’t pay much attention to the actual policies of the people he talks about.
Back to Sherman. I think singling out one candidate is bad form, hardly conducive to party unity. But the clincher comes at the end of the letter, in a section called “DO YOU REALLY KNOW THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BILL AND RAJ? REALLY?”
According to the newsletter, Bill Harvey is a “Business Owner, Met Payroll, Created Jobs”; Raj Sherman has “No Business Experience.” (Apparently, becoming a doctor is something any chump can do.)
Bill Harvey “Supports Freedom Of Speech And Freedom Of Religion; Raj Sherman “Opposes Freedom Of Speech And Freedom Of Religion”. (No supporting evidence offered.)
Bill Harvey is “Reaching Out To All Albertans”; Raj Sherman is “Is Alienating Voters”.
Bill Harvey “Believes In Tax Breaks for Seniors & Veterans”; Raj Sherman “Wants To Spend Tax Dollars On Sex Changes”. (No mention of how Harvey feels about sex changes for senior veterans.)
Bill Harvey is “Promoting New Ideas”; Raj Sherman is “Not Open To New Ideas”.
This might be the worst, most amateurish, most divisive, most full of shit piece of political propaganda I have ever seen. If Bill Harvey is surrounding himself with people like whoever wrote this juvenile tripe, then he clearly isn’t remotely ready to run a political party.
Coincidentally, on the same day I received some propaganda from Hugh MacDonald (Hugh’s campaign was smart enough to save on postage and send one piece addressed to the four voters in my house, while fiscally conservative Bill Harvey sent four separate letters). Hugh’s piece was professional, appealing and upbeat. No vicious slagging of other candidates, just info about Hugh. The contrast couldn’t have been stronger.
I have yet to vote (I’ll do it, ALP … no need to nag). I’m still not sure who to vote for, but the one I will NOT BE VOTING FOR IS BILL HARVEY! And neither should you.