Our sympathies go to wannabe Liberal candidate Keith Vickers, the latest victim of the party’s vaunted Open NominationsTM.
As putative Grit nominee in the New Brunswick riding of Miramichi-Grand Lake, Vickers figured he had it all wrapped up.
He’d learned some valuable lessons from the 2011 election, which he’d lost not only to Tory Tilly O’Neill-Gordon, but even the NDP’s Patrick Colford, whose total campaign spending had been $3,000 to Vickers’ $42,000.
Keith sucked it up and hung around the Miramichi for the next four years, paying his dues: calling bingos, glad-handing in seniors’ homes and choking down coffee and crullers at the Church of Tim.
The much-liked former Hill sluggo, a cousin of Sgt-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, also had the key support of Dominic “The Codfather II” LeBlanc, close advisor to Liberal Baublehead Justin Trudeau.
LeBlanc gave Vickers two thumbs up (in the wrong places, as it transpired, but more on that later): “You’re the man, you’ll make a great MP, etc., etc.” The two besties were photographed together, shoulder to shoulder at Andy Scott’s funeral.
Fast forward to the spring of 2014. Boundaries for the newly gerrymandered riding are approved and Vickers spends the next few months signing up new Liberal members.
But rather than send his memberships to party HQ (and reveal how many supporters he actually has), Vickers tucks them away, waiting until a date is announced for the nomination meeting, and he can ride to victory aboard the big red Liberal bus.
Then up comes LeBlanc from behind drives that sucker right over him.
Unbeknownst to Keith, Dom had chosen a new puppet, a surprise candidate named Pat Finnigan, who waited until September to get into the race.
With LeBlanc jerking his strings, Casey, (Finnigan, shurely?!—ed.), signed up a shitload of new Liberals and filed their names with head office.
Vickers finally clued in and by mid-November it still looked like he had enough new memberships to claim victory at the Nov. 29 nominating convention.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Vickers’ coronation.
The Codfather’s crew, concerned their new boy was about to flame out, came up with a nifty scheme to shaft Vickers: Since his 372 supporters had signed photocopied membership forms rather than originals, they must all be disqualified.
And so they were. A mere week before the convention.
Vickers gamely rallied his supporters for one last passive-aggressive march on the polling station, so they could each be told in person that they couldn’t vote.
But now comes news that another candidate, longtime local Grit poobah John McKay, has launched an appeal with Liberal HQ, demanding a new nominating convention to allow all members who signed up before Nov. 14 to vote. Since its a preferential ballot, McKay is betting that if Vickers’ 372 were reinstated, they could put him over the top.
It ain’t over ‘til the Codfather gargles.