|Spoiling for a fight: Craig Chandler If one wanted a demonstration of the damage that overindulgence of social conservatives can do to centre-right parties, look no further than Canada's Conservatives and troublesome Christian Right activist Craig Chandler.
According to Canada's Globe and Mail, Chandler is head of two outfits- the Progressive Group for Independent Business, and Concerned Canadian Christians. He's been a longtime activist but sporadic member of the Canadian Conservatives, joining its predecessor the Reform Party (1989) and standing as a Reform candidate in a federal electorate, before becoming an Alberta Social Credit candidate in an Alberta provincial election, and backing Stephen Harper for his accession to the Canadian Alliance Party leadership before their merger with the Progressive Conservatives which created the current Conservative Party of Canada.
In 2003, Chandler attacked social liberal elements (from the old Progressive Conservative Party) at one conference, where he unsuccessfully stood for party leader, and was booed for his opposition to the inclusion of LGBTs in hate propaganda legislation, as well as same-sex marriage. He supports the US Iraqi War, which Canada is not involved in, and even attacked his own leader, Stephen Harper, for his alleged attempts to silence Conservative Party social conservative federal MPs over issues like hate speech and same sex marriage.
In 2005, he unsuccessfully stood for federal candidate in Calgary North, and his provincial electoral candidacy in Calgary Egmont is currently a matter of fierce controversy. On Monday, the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta decided to veto his nomination for Calgary Egmont. A disgruntled Chandler complained about the result and predicted an exodus of social conservatives from the Conservative Party. It was felt that Chandler would have been a liability to Alberta's already troubled Conservative provincial government. At this stage, it's uncertain whether he will stomp off to another right-wing party, or whether this will lead to escalated Conservative factional infighting.
Why? Well, his Freedom Radio Network was recently carpeted when Chandler made antigay comments this year, and he still hasn't shut up about same-sex marriage. The Alberta Human Rights Commission also found against his former organisation, Concerned Canadian Christians, after one antigay fundamentalist minister sent an inflammatory letter out, which is said to have contributed to a gay-bashing, over the course of the last week.
National Party, take notice: Chandlery is what happens when one overindulges social conservative candidates. With awful ex-ACT homophobe Stephen Franks reportedly in the running as National candidate for Wellington Central,it may have cause to do likewise at some point itself, or face the consequences...
Chandler's websites (except CCCa)
Toronto Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/
Craig Young - 4th December 2007