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Conservative candidate Kovach snubs Guelph all-candidates debate.

The Guelph Mercury’s title and byline in today’s paper says it all: “Almost all candidates debate” and Kovach misses Guelph’s first byelection debate”

Gloria Kovach was quoted in the Guelph Mercury challenging Liberal candidate Frank Valeriote to a debate on the environment – and by extension the Liberals proposed Green Shift plan – “any time, any place”. Yet, when she had the opportunity, she passed on the chance to do just that at the first all-candidates meeting last night, as she didn’t bother to show up:

Conservative candidate Gloria Kovach was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, but sent her regrets.., Kovach’s campaign sent out a news release last night saying Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn went canvassing door to door with her yesterday afternoon.

Interesting reason.  One would expect these debates are scheduled in cooperation with the campaigns, and not just designated randomly.  Colour me a tad sceptical that she randomly had a conflicting engagement the day that the debate was held.

Perhaps she hadn’t gotten all her talking points sent into her on time from the PMO for this debate, so she decided to take a pass.  Answering unscripted, unexpected questions from the voters is apparently an uncomfortable thing for these Conservative candidates, as evidenced by her referring questions about the Stephen Truscott compensation matter to the PMO’s office. It reminds me again of the “peekaboo” campaign Dianne Haskett tried in London-Centre; or what the national Conservative Party tried, at least, in keeping Haskett away from making too many public appearances or answering questions from the media. Is this another attempt at being a “stealth candidate” on Kovach’s part, or the national Conservative Party?

Either way, its not a very glorious start for Gloria in showing she can represent the citizens of Guelph in this riding, when she can’t be bothered to show up for a debate she and her campaign knew well in advance about.  Guelph voters should take note.

[email protected]:58pm: I note the Mercury’s GuelphVotes! site had a blog notice of last night’s debate taking place from a post they did on August 11. You can be assured the candidates and their campaigns knew a lot earlier then this. The “I couldn’t make it because I was going out to campaign with Gary Lunn who just happenned to be here on the same day of the debate” excuse doesn’t wash. I also note the debate was held between 6 and 8 pm, and Kovach’s release said she was out in the afternoon canvassing with Lunn. What, she was too tired to make it for the debate?

UPDATE 2 @11:26 pm: Red Tory and KNB have similar thoughts at their blogs about Gloria’s no-show.

23 comments to Conservative candidate Kovach snubs Guelph all-candidates debate.

  • Torontonian

    If she can’t/wont attend an ACM, what will/won’t she do when there’s difficult business in the nation? Stay away like Diane Finley? or face the public criticism in Main Street?

    If she chickens out of ACMs, then I figure she’ll do the Finley routine.

    On the subject of Finley–for a moment–will she be back next time round?
    Kovach won’t even make it this time round.

  • Ah, you gotta love Jan. She brings up a Lib candidate doing the same thing from 11 years ago and somehow that means… what? That no Liberal can ever be critical of this kind of behaviour by anyone… ever? Sheesh.

  • slg

    Oh, yes. CPC supporters, when there is no reasonable argument go way, way back to slam.

    Why not start in 1867 and work your way up for heavens sake.

    How do you hide behind Gary Lunn – if it wasn’t sort of mean – it could be a contest.

  • To build on Joseph’s earlier comment, perhaps the Conservative debate strategy is following the ethics committee strategy. Kovach will show up screeching at the debate hall two days late and insist that the other candidates debate her immediately. When they won’t she will claim that as proof that it was only a kangaroo debate established solely to embarass the Conservatives.

  • janfromthebruce

    I would love to stay in this century but gees, having memory recall is important, like since 1993 when libs promised national childcare, get rid of the GST, jobs, jobs, jobs, I should dust off that liberal red book, as I do like to keep mementos of campaigns gone by.

    Anyway, it’s too bad the con didn’t show up, but the outrage here is over the top. Silly season!

  • Jaytoo

    P.S. Great post, though.

  • Jaytoo

    Scott Tribe: your Liberals have been rubber-stamping Harper`s agenda, top to bottom, for the better part of a year. So when you not only remain a partisan Liberal through this, but go one further with your “unholy alliance” schtick, how do you think you sound? Do you think it helps to remind readers of the shame that is YOURS?

  • Jan

    Just wondering if you could supply any examples from THIS century? Too funny, and sort of pathetic, all in one.

  • D1andOnlyMichaelStevenDWizardWisniewskiD1st

    I had heard a theory that the NDP’s true enemies are the Liberals, not the Conservatives.

    The theory goes that since Dippers and Cons are so ideologically opposed that they can’t sway each others’ votes and might as well try to sheer off left-leaning and right leaning Liberal votes, respectively.

    While working for the Conservatives, that was a debating technique they taught me. Lump the Libs in with the Dippers whenever possible, to split the “left” vote.

    I never worked for the NDP, but I would imagine they would use the same technique, only in reverse.

  • I’m not really surprised. Why would a conservative want to debate their thin policies? Especially against such a strong orator like Tom King. I don’t know the Liberal candidate, but if she makes a challenge and can’t even back it up that speaks volumes on its’ own.

  • Torontonian

    This is a Conservative device. Stay away form ACMs under pretext of scheduling conflict.

    East of Toronto, around Pickering, Rondo Thomas avoided ACMs during the last election and Mark Holland was elected.
    It should be noted that Rondo Thomas is an employee of Canada Christian College and that coterie of people. But, of course, Thomas was a weak candidate.

    In my Toronto riding, this has been a standard practice; avoid ACMs at all costs and under any pretext.

  • D1andOnlyMichaelStevenDWizardWisniewskiD1st

    You make me out to be a Liberal, which any one who knows me will tell you I’m not.

    I’m just a, umm, shall we say, “concerned citizen” who believes Gloria Kovach is not suited to represent Guelph.

    That’s all.

  • janfromthebruce

    oh forgot, that liberal candidate was Paul Steckle, more right than cons.

  • janfromthebruce

    People who live in glasshouses should never throw stones.
    1997- Huron-Bruce Liberal candidate did not show up for a well-planned debate sponsored by the Grey-Bruce Labour Council.
    He didn’t even bother to say why, although the moderator, said that he was “in an debate in the other end of the riding.”
    Too funny – when pointed out to said (liberal moderator) that all the contenders were here, so was he debating!

    So spare me the holier than thou stuff!

    • @janfromthebruce

      Jan.. can’t you NDP’er types at least make it less obvious you’re in an unholy alliance with the Cons. (or perhaps just using the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” strategy)?

      Really.. this habit/strategy of (some) NDP supporters jumping to the defence of Conservatives or twisting it so they’re attacking the Liberals is really transparent these days.

  • D1andOnlyMichaelStevenDWizardWisniewskiD1st

    Gloria’s absence could be strategy.

    According to the Conservative Party of Canada’s Election Campaign Guide, which I have a copy of, Page 6 of Module 7 clearly states “acceptance or rejection of an invitation to debate”.

    Appendix C of that same document provides a checklist to go through when determining whether a candidate should attend a debate or not.

    The first time I read that, I was shocked that candidates,and their campaigns, can think in terms like that. It’s just wrong.

  • Joseph

    This must be horribly embarrassing for the conservative brain-trust, accidentally transmitting the wrong signals to their drones.

    I’m sure the transmission was meant for that Goldstein guy yesterday who, already having shown up (a day late) for teh hearings. This in turn led to a delayed recall notice, forcing him to explode in the parliamentary session and race maniacally for his car.

    For Gloria meanwhile, it was already too late and she missed her debate.

    I trust there will be an upgrade this weekend to fix these minor bugs in the protocol. In fact funds are being diverted from other government arts programs as we speak to ensure nothing like this happens again.

    March onward, soldiers.

  • Anonymous

    Originally Posted By slg
    Why is she hiding behind Gary Lunn?

    How can anyone hide behind Lunn?

  • Agreed, it seems to be the same strategy the Tories employed in London and we all know how well that worked.

  • penlan

    This is exactly the same thing Harper did in his riding, before he was appointed leader & even when he was running as a candidate for the 1st time.

    He would not show up at ANY candidate debates EVER. And still won the riding. But that’s Alberta.

    This seems to be a game plan of his that back-fired in London & as to why he would expect different results this time I have no idea.

  • slg

    Shades of the London by-election isn’t it?

    If Harper’s candidates are qualified – they should be able to attend and handle debates.

    Why is she hiding behind Gary Lunn?

  • […] noted by Scott Tribe, this now-show and the lame excuses provided does seem a little reminiscent of the […]

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