It’s probably a good thing Sheldon Clare isn’t running as a Conservative.
If he got elected as a Conservative MP he’d probably set the record for getting kicked out of caucus the fastest.
Clare, for those who don’t know him, doesn’t mince his words, isn’t shy about speaking them, and would be a round peg in the square hole that is the Stepford Wives world of party politics.
In short, it wouldn’t take Clare too long before beaked off about something the prime minister said or did and he’d be out. And, I just can’t see Clare taking well to being told where and when he can open his mouth.
However, those are the same qualities that make Clare a good independent candidate. He certainly won’t get drowned out in the cacophony that is Centre Block. There is no doubt that, as an independent, he would fiercely fight for Cariboo-Prince George in Ottawa.
That would be refreshing.
However, when asked if he would consider crossing the floor to the Conservatives he didn’t hesitate … of course he would, if it was the best thing to do for the riding. Good answer and we, the media, didn’t ask if he would cross the floor to the NDP or the Liberals, so that one remains up in the air.
That would be tougher for Clare. His politics are definitely on the right end of the political spectrum. His campaign manager is Nathan Geide, who writes a very right wing column for the Prince George Citizen. The NDP or the Liberals would have to have something pretty darned good for the riding for Clare to consider crossing the floor to either of those two.
So, while he made a good case for running as an independent, which was the party system is broken, he’d be quick to jump into that broken system.
There is also no doubt Clare’s entrance into the race is bad news for Conservative Todd Doherty.
Clare will undoubtedly pull votes from the Conservatives. When I asked him about whether he’s concerned about splitting the vote, Clare gave a good response in that he is pulling support from the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, and Greens. A good sound bite, but the reality is he will attract more right-of-centre voters than left, and that isn’t good news for Doherty. Conservative voters who are upset with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the shenanigans in Ottawa and who don’t want to support that regime but can’t swallow that bitter pill of voting NDP or Liberal, will have a place to park their vote … Clare.
With the Liberals and the NDP running good local candidates, there is a real possibility of vote-splitting on the left. Now there will also be vote-splitting on the right.
The question, which won’t be answered until October 19, is how much Clare will split the vote. Bear in mind, Clare says he’s in it to win and, for those who know Clare, when he says that, he means it. So, anyone thinking Clare isn’t a serious candidate, think again.
And, with the federal race, at least currently, tight as a drum, one independent MP could be kingmaker for the entire country.