Candidate furor splits Tory factions
String of charges in Mississauga East-Cooksville as several board members quit over acclamation
Mar 19, 2008 04:30 AM
A group of Tories in Mississauga fear the federal party is abandoning its populist roots after officials sped up the process to choose who will run for a seat in the next election.
"I won't be a party to that kind of corruption," said Charles Conn, one of 10 people who recently resigned in protest from the electoral district association board of directors for Mississauga East-Cooksville.
The string of resignations came as the riding association moved quickly toward acclaiming former beauty queen and former Liberal Melissa Bhagat as its candidate.
I think we can easily assume Ms. Bhagat is in this for personal gain but then again who isn't? When someone can easily abandon one political party for another because a candidacy became available speaks volumes about the person's political commitments.
According to her official website, Bhagat is a fluently bilingual Glendon College graduate, the South Asian spokesperson for World Vision Canada and former host of Omni-TV's Bollywood Boulevard.
Bollywood is what the Indian film industry.
She is also a former beauty queen – one website detailing her preparations for a 2000 pageant includes provocative photos.
She ran in 2004 for the federal Liberal party nomination in Brampton-Springdale, but was shut out when then prime minister Paul Martin parachuted Ruby Dhalla into the riding.
Brampton-Springdale has a heavy South Asian population, most notably Sikh, and this is why Paul Martin placed Ruby Dhalla, a South Asian woman, as the Liberal candidate becuase he knows like we all do that people vote for their own and racial and ethnic minorities are no exception. That's why Ms. Dhalla got elected and that's why no non-South Asian will ever get elected to represent Brampton-Springdale ever again.
As for Ms. Bhagat she won't win. Even though she was undemocratically acclaimed as Conservative candidate to cater to the considerable South Asian population in that part of Mississauga I do not think South Asian block votes are big enough to deliver the seat to her like they are in Brampton-Springdale. Mississauga East-Cooksville has a significant immigrant population, not all South Asian. Besides, the Conservative party hasn't learned yet that immigrants and ethnic minority groups always vote Liberal. That's why they're here. Canada's modern immigration policy was forged by the Liberal party in the 1970s with political consequences in mind and it worked. Voter rich Toronto used to be traditionally Conservative but becuase of mass immigration the Tories cannot get elected in that town.
The greater concern is how race and ethnicity are playing a big part in Canadian politics. I'm sure Ms. Bhagat knows more about Bollywood love triangles than she does about Canadian history or politics but that doesn't matter. What does matter is her ethnicity and nowadays and in some ridings the colour of your skin is more important than your policy issues.