The pattern is tiringly consistent and has been going on for over a decade in Alberta now. Craig Chandler and his little band of followers will latch onto a campaign/party with one or more of their own as a candidate. The race will then quickly devolve into a circus as rules are stretched (if not outright broken). The campaign then becomes exceedingly negative and personal as individuals are besmirched and then the inevitable threats of lawsuits come from Chandler during the campaign (most strongly after the campaign when his team has lost). Chandler and his cronies then move on to another party/cause and repeat the pattern.
Somebody of political note told me a little over a year ago (paraphrasing) “When Craig Chandler becomes involved in a campaign, the campaign is no longer about who wins. It becomes a campaign about making somebody lose.” That statement pretty much hits it right on the head. Chandler campaigns never amount to anything good, but they certainly can do some damage.
What I am getting at is that the Wildrose (and probably other parties) should come right out and publically state that they do not want Craig Chandler as a member of their organization and Chandler’s involvement in campaigns within the organization should lead to the immediate disqualification of the candidate utililizing Chandler’s services. Yes, I am speaking of a total shunning of Craig Chandler and his associates within a party.
I think now is an ideal time to come out and say this. Chandler has very recently come out publically and called all involved with the Wildrose Party “Nazis” and has been quite busy working on a Facebook group with a handful of malcontents, sock-puppets and members who don’t even know they are members that simply appears to exist in complaining about the Wildrose Party.
What is to be lost in telling Craig not to let the door hit him in the ass on his way out? What is to be gained in allowing him to continue to meddle with party affairs?
The Wildrose Party is still in a critical stage in it’s growth in leading up to what will be a pivotal election for both the province and the party. While Chandler’s influence is limited in general, he causes a distraction and his presence alone takes away from the credibility of the entire party. Constituency associations are critical and fragile in nature. Even one individual on a CA board can cause a terrible mess if their interests are not those of the party or the constituents. Flushing Chandler’s bunch will go a long way to creating stability in constituencies. I understand that it is difficult with individuals, but perhaps once Chandler is fully and publically removed from the party his followers will go with him.
For those fortunate enough not to be too terribly familiar with Craig Chandler and his activities I will give a little background. To begin with, somebody built a site listing some of Chandler’s known associates and activities. The site is a bit out of date and shallow but does give some good info here.
Chandler’s first somewhat loud political splash was when he ran for the federal leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2003. While providing for some comic relief, Chandler was generally an annoyance within the race. Chandler then dropped out at the last second so that it could not be officially documented that he actually had no support to speak of in the race. That tactic was attempted by the Chandler/Dyrholm campaign for the leadership of the Wildrose Alliance Party as well but failed when the voting results were released showing Dyrholm heavily trounced by Danielle Smith. Chandler has recently been claiming that the party rigged votes in that race by the way.
Chandler got behind David Crutcher during the leadership race for the Alberta Alliance. The race as was typical went negative with Craig’s involvement as Chandler threatened to sue everybody from his former volunteers to the former leader of the party. When Chandler’s candidate finished a distant third to MLA Paul Hinman, Chandler stormed from the party calling it “Liberal Light” and was opposed to the party for some time to follow. The race was well documented here and Craig participated heavily in this forum during the race. The behaviour and attitude of Chandler is quite evident in these discussion threads.
There was a municipal election some years ago when some sort of bizzare incident happened involving Craig Chander and Dave Bronconnier’s mother with threatening phone calls. There was another bizzare episode where Sun columnist Paul Jackson got fired due to some messup with Chandler.
More recently Chandler backed a candidate for the provincial Liberal party. Despite the fact that Harvey was completely unsuited or inclined to be a candidate within that party, Chandler has been going on about voter irregularitys. Chandler’s candidate was not even a contender by a long shot but his presence did erode the credibility of a party already reeling.
The list just goes on and on and on. During the Wildrose Alliance leadership race I was on the committee overseeing the race. Without any doubt that was the most exhausting committee I have ever served upon as we had to repeatedly had to deal with complaints of the Chandler/Dyrholm team breaking the rules of the race. Towards the end of that race the tone became increasingly negative as Chandler complained of media bias and even attacked Danielle’s husband and the spouses of media members for their membership within the party (an abuse of membership lists).
Now the latest episode that has Chandler all up in arms involves the nomination disqualification of Dennis Young. To be honest, I don’t know why Young was rejected by the local CA nominating committee. I have no idea if the disqualification was fair or not. I am not on the inside any longer and purposely have distanced myself from nomination activities within the party over this last year. What is clearly not acceptable however is Chandler’s reaction to the disqualification of his preferred candidate and his insistence on attacking the entire party.
I have browsed the collection of complaints on Chandler’s facebook group and see that my name has surfaced a couple times so I feel I have to address this. Yes, I have a background that is considered controversial by many and yes I was accepted as a nomination candidated despite that. I guess I need to go into a little detail as to why I was accepted.
What Craig Chandler and his followers will never understand is the value of consistent and longtime committment to something. I have been involved with this party from back when it was the Alberta Alliance with only one seat in the legislature and a couple thousand in the bank. I have served on the provincial executive in multiple capacities for years. I have overseen the founding and maintanence of dozens of constituency associations throughout the party. I hosted the party headquarters in my own office for years until the party outgrew the space. I have donated thousands of dollars and countless hours to the party. I have openly and actively fought to keep people from bringing separatist policies into the party as I more than anybody can recognize the folly of that. I have set up and put away chairs for empty meetings around the province and I have flipped burgers for conventions.
There were indeed people who felt that I should not even have been allowed to be a nomination candidate for the party. It was difficult to stop that however in light of such a long, rational and dedicated history within the party. To compare the acceptance of myself as a nomination candidate to others who were invisible during all of those formative years and then suddenly bullied in with Team Chandler is folly to say the least. Hard work and time are what builds a foundation and credibility within a party (or pretty much anything) but it appears that Chandler will never understand that and will express shock when finding himself or one of his candidates rejected by yet another group they recently joined.
The media have long ago generally learned to ignore Chandler so his public outbursts are limited in scope. I used to feel that if we generally ignored Chandler he would simply fade away. That was clearly a mistaken feeling. While Chandler rarely wins campaigns, he often does damage to the parties or individuals around his campaigns. I have no idea why that small group of people follows Chandler but they are dedicated in a cult-like way to him and they do allow him to spread his damage to constituencies. Harold Camping with his Christian radio predicted the world would end again just today yet people still follow him so I guess I should not be too surprised at what followers will put up with.
The party is growing and evolving. Individual nuts will always be a reality to deal with and the choice to remove people from a party should never be taken lightly. It is time for the Wildrose Party to pull this bandaid off though and get rid of Chandler and his followers. There are many more important things that the party needs to deal with in the next few months leading to the election and we don’t need these malcontents trying to destabilize our constituency associations. Many of these races are going to be tight and that distraction could make all the difference.