I see the Ontario PCs are again stabbing themselves in the foot—and mere weeks before the party’s annual clambake in Ottawa.
Jag Badwal, self-promoting Mississauga real estate agent and longtime Conservative shineboy, campaigned for more than a year for the party presidency. He bagged the endorsement of former leader Tim Whodat and he had the backing of Ontario alpha weasel Nick Kouvalis.
The universe was unfolding as it should for Jag, but now it appears he’s no longer a candidate. What happened?
These are tight times for Tories everywhere, so it helps to have friends. And for surplus MP Rick Dykstra – punted from parliament by the discerning electors of St. Catharines in October — there is no better friend than Patrick Brown, oleaginous leader of the Ontario PCs.
Dykstra and Brown shared nearby offices on Parliament Hill–and many a moist and garrulous evening trolling for a little voter contact in Ottawa.
And so it came to pass earlier this month that poor Badwal was advised that his services would no longer be required: “Rick needs work.” And now Paddy’s chosen one is running unopposed.
There’s so far been no announcement of Dykstra’s imminent acclamation, apart from an apparently truncated note buried deep on his website, “Statement on the Withdrawal of Jag Badwal”:
“I would like to thank Jag for his kind words and for his support. His commitment to our party and our leader is evident and his belief in a united and focused Progressive Conservative Party is one that is to be respected by each member of our party. In particular, I want to thank my”– it reads in its entirety.
No real surprise that what Paddy wants, Paddy gets.
In this case it’s Rik-Dyk, the 49-year-old career politician, landscaper and law’n’order fetishist with a plethora of passionately penal planks: End the faint hope clause, stop giving prisoners double credit for pre-sentence custody, ban a book about Paul Bernardo, limit the power of the Human Rights—(that’s enough stoning ways!—ed.)
Rick’s timing could not be better. The party is changing its rules so that, for the first time, its president will receive a salary; a generous and confident gesture indeed for a party awash in red ink.
The dosh will come in handy for the Dykster, a bon vivant and expense account legend going back to his days working for Rusty Beard at Queen’s Park.
His high-rolling ways, readers may recall, briefly disturbed the slumbers of Ethics Commish Mary Dawson in 2009 with a fundraising bacchanal in the owner’s suite at the Rogers Centre.
And, of course, there was that unfortunately timed evening last September when Rick was busted buying drinks for under-age girls at a bar in his riding.
One girl, now 17, allegedly 16 at the time, tweeted: “Lol Rick Dykstra just paid for our bottle service”
Another girl, aged 18, tweeted the next day “Thanks for the bottle service last night @RickDykstra #voteDykstra #Mansion”
When the 18-year-old was asked on Twitter how much Dykstra shelled out, she answered “everything, there was at least 6 Ciroc [vodka] bottles.” The bar charges $170 for a bottle of Ciroc.
Further allegations that a Ciroc rep and Dykstra supporter offered one of the gals even more free booze to recant her tales of Rick’s all-ages hospitality were strenuously denied.
Sadly, word of that got out just before election day last fall, courtesy of BuzzFeed, costing him an unknowable proportion of the 3,200 votes by which he was pushed out of the Commons.
So it’s too bad for Badwal.
As for Kouvalis, who famously steered a careening Rob Ford to victory and remains part of John Tory‘s inner circle jerk, his usually effervescent Twitter feed has fallen into sullen silence re: anything to do with the provincial Tories.