Media Coverage
Contacts Schedule What You Can Do Home Page Français

Prince Albert, SK, Thursday, December 27, 2007

Open letter to Stéphane Dion from Gordon Kirkby, former mayor of Prince Albert and former Liberal MP for Churchill River

M. Stephane Dion
Leader of the Opposition
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Sir,

It was with utter amazement that I read the story in the Globe and Mail on December 19, 2007. It had been said that there are some Liberals in this province that put self interest and the maintenance of personal influence ahead winning seats for the Liberal party. Please examine over the years the success of those in this Province who claim control over the Liberal Party apparatus in expanding the fortunes of the Liberal Party. There is a reason that those who exercise this control have been so singularly unsuccessful in enhancing the success of the Liberal Party in this province. Even when we have successful candidates their tenure is short lived. Self interest has been served well and the level of success achieved is by design.

I will assume that the matter of the appointment has been put to rest. I understand now that the Saskatchewan election committee is trying to circumvent the fair use of the rules by declaring an electoral emergency and having the nomination pushed forward. It has been related to me that, Mr. Dorion, the candidate in opposition to Mr. Orchard, has gone on Holidays to California declaring to some that “I (Mr. Dorion) have it in the bag”. The same forces that pushed for the appointment are pushing for an early nomination.

How possibly could certain Liberals in Saskatchewan convince the National elected people that this would be good for the party? Early nomination meetings have their place when an election is commenced and a candidate has not been nominated in a timely fashion.

Early nominations should not be made to circumvent a proper nomination so that the powers that be in Saskatchewan can pick their candidate, especially one with doubtful electoral expectations, so they can maintain their power. This will lead to a huge demoralization of workers and supporters in a general election who support Mr. Orchard.

The divisions caused by the sneakily manipulated nomination meeting will ensure electoral defeat. Those who are pushing for this eleventh hour change to the nomination would know that. This only serves the interest of those who cling to personal power ahead of service to people.

This type of manipulation has been played over and over again in this riding by these same power brokers because the riding is winnable. The manipulation has been designed to create divisions and to keep our candidates weak or defeated. The history should be examined and the involvement of those to the south of here in the destruction is demonstrable. Someone has to bring it to an end.

I told Mr. Orchard what would happen and he didn't believe me. He believes me now. It is my hope that it will not take a defeat in a general election in this riding to convince you. Let the nomination run its course at the end of January 2008. The nomination will be when you want it to be. Two candidates working the North for an extra month will enhance the visibility of the party.

At the start of the candidacy of Mr. Orchard, it was felt by many that he was too far behind to be successful and the other candidate seeking the nomination was supported by the power brokers. The people in many places in the North and Rural communities have rallied behind Mr. Orchard and I would imagine the urgency and desperation of those opposing his candidacy have spectacularly increased in recent weeks in proportion to Mr. Orchard's success. When this success became apparent the other candidate for the nomination was dropped like a hot potato and the appointment push began in earnest. Then when reports must have come back that indicated the falsity of what was being conveyed to you, namely that Mr. Orchard supported the appointment and so did the riding, then the backup plan for the early nomination was thrust upon Mr. Orchard.

The optics of this are terrible. It makes it appear that the National party and its representatives have capitulated to regional power brokers. What confidence does this give to Canadians that we have the strength to run the country again when we give in to the pouting of some who see their influence slipping away? It appears weak. It also appears disloyal. People will naturally ask themselves why they would put a big effort in when those efforts are so easily brushed aside. Regrettably, in politics, the ideals are often subservient to personal treatment.

I have represented large portions of this riding in 1993-1997 and was Mayor of Prince Albert for five years before that. I currently practice law in the City of Prince Albert. I understand the dynamics of the riding and the candidate picked by power players will not win the seat even if he wins the nomination fairly. If the nomination is stolen for him, he will lose even more handily. Someone must bring an end to the very destructive cycle initiated by those to the south of here. They have no business sticking their noses in the riding. If the riding is lost, of course those from the south will accept no responsibility but will blame others for yet another fiasco which was orchestrated by themselves.

We must see through the manipulations and see clearly the “real politick” behind the color and light of the push for the early nomination. I am personally very upset by this turn of events. I will tell you right now that if this early nomination is held we will win one seat in this province. If Mr. Orchard runs we will have our best chance at two. And two seats give us all more choices. And choices are good things.

There is no need for a response and I will observe the outcome with interest.

Best wishes,

Gordon Kirkby
Prince Albert, SK

Back Top