Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Question Well Worth Asking:

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".


  1. Connecting Bert Brown to the new batch of separatists that are spawning is quite a stretch.... He did not "address" the founding meeting of the Alberta Independence Party; he merely attended and that was over seven years ago, in 2001 !!!

    Additionally, Crutcher, WBTA et al had absolutely nothing to do with the now defunct AIP.

  2. Hi Nex. Good post; this is presumably an issue that will continue to percolate. Anyway, as for Crutcher's status in the Conservatives, it's important to remember that he was kicked out of the provincial Progressive Conservative party over the Chandler candidacy, not the federal Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). Most provincial Tories are federal Tories, too. But so, too, are almost all of the Socreds, Alliance-types, Wildrosers. Crutcher was a provincial Tory for only a very short time, even though he was (I assume) a Reform/Alliance/CPC all along. Having trouble with the provincial party doesn't necessarily imply anything about his federal proclivities.

    Jane. He is reported to have said that he 'wished them every success' -- perhaps I've misunderstood the context. Thanks for pointing that out.

  3. The Alberta PCs and the federal Conservatives tend to honour one another's expulsions, unless there's been a massive change of policy in the last year.

    The trouble with the Bert Brown report, Buckets, is that it doesn't provide the context of his comments.

    It says that he wished them "every success", yet he didn't join the party.

    He could have meant them "every success" with anything ranging from their separatist agenda to forcing Albertan concerns onto the national agenda -- something the Bloc Quebecois has certainly succeeded in doing.

    The point is this: the three examples of western separatists associating with the Conservative party that you pointed to as smoking guns are all highly dubious.


Post your comments, and join the discussion!

Be aware that spam posts and purile nonsense will not be tolerated, although purility within constructive commentary is encouraged.

All comments made by Kevron are deleted without being read. Also, if you begin your comment by saying "I know you'll just delete this", it will be deleted. Guaranteed. So don't be a dumbass.