What is the status of David Crutcher's Conservative party leadership?
When the Liberal party and the NDP recently decided to form a coalition government with the support of the Bloc Quebecois they had to have imagined it would be hard to distance themselves from the implications that move would have for national unity.
With western separatism becoming a vogue topic once again -- and western separatists becoming much more active -- perhaps it's only natural that some of those in the pro-Coalition crowd would seek to thumb their nose at such implications by trying to uncover associations between the Conservative party and western separatists.
At Boquets of Gray Buckets has uncovered what he portrays as some fairly damning alleged associations between western separatists and the Conservative party.
In particular, Buckets points at three separate episodes. Two of them can be immediately dismissed out of hand: he sights the case of Gord Stamp, who was forced to resign as Peter Goldring's assistant due to his separatist leanings, and Bert Brown, who apparently once made some ambiguous comments at an Alberta Independence Party convention.
Much more interesting, however, is the case of David Crutcher, a British-born Calgarian who is now the brains behind the Western Business and Taxpayers Association. Buckets points out that Crutcher's profile on the website identifies him as a member of the Conservative party.
The story actually turns out to be much more damning than Buckets would likely have many people believe. It seems that as far as his Conservative party membership goes, Crutcher's credentials are far from solid.
In 2007 Crutcher was forcefully removed over his role in the nomination of Craig Chandler, another disaffected -- and, some say, disgraced -- former member of the Alberta Tory party. Chandler left that party in 2007 when his nomination in the Calgary-Edgmont riding was refused by the party. He would later try and fail to attain election to the Wildrose Alliance party's board of directors.
Chandler had previously managed Crutcher's camapaign as an Alberta Alliance party candidate in the 2004 Provincial election.
All of these things considered, the question is well worth asking: what is the current status of David Crutcher's Conservative party membership? Is he actually active? If so, is the party executive actually aware of Crutcher's recent activities? And, if so, will the party revoke his leadership?
Buckets is actually spot-on when he suggests the Conservative party should restrict its membership to federalists.
But while Buckets seems to think he's uncovered quite the partisan smoking gun, he may want to keep a few inconvenient truths in mind: while Crutcher may well be maintaining a Conservative party membership, it most certainly isn't under the best circumstances. Nor is he as luminous a figure within the Conservative party as Rene Levesque was within the Quebec Liberal party.
Even Lucien Bouchard -- who served as Environment Minister in Brian Mulroney's government -- had previous associations with the Trudeau Liberals.
Furthermore, Rene Levesque was never forced out of the Liberal party. Rather, he resigned from the party when the Quebec Liberals refused to discuss a sovereign Quebec at a convention. His separatist sympathies had been no secret prior to that resignation.
Regardless, David Crutcher's membership status in the Conservative party clearly needs to be investigated, and addressed. If he does currently have an active membership in the party, it should be immediately revoked.
Likewise, Bert Brown's address to the inaugural convention of the Alberta Independence Party should be investigated. While it would be expected that a committed Alberta separatist would actually have joined the party there, it's worthwhile to know precisely what he meant when he wished the party "every success".