Lingenfelter's Downfall?

A week ago, I did a post where I gave my thoughts on what Ryan Meili needed to do to win the NDP leadership campaign.  In that post, I observed: “If I'm being
completely honest, Ryan winning on the first ballot would seem all but
impossible barring some major scandal for Link…or a major endorsement for Meili.” 




Well, you can call me Kreskin
because it appears that a pretty big scandal for Dwain Lingenfelter has
happened and at least one (if not more) significant endorsements for
Ryan Meili may come out of this development as well. 

The CBC is reporting that the provincial NDP is investigating allegations of irregularities with memberships sold in the far north
They don't get into details but my understanding is that the
Lingenfelter camp has taken responsibility for submitting the vast
majority of these disputed memberships and the comments posted by
people to that CBC story would indicate the same.  I'll quote Crochety:




“The accusation is…about some person or persons purchasing
memberships for individuals without their knowledge or consent.



The riding association in question had fewer than 100 members in
January and now has more than 1200. Several purported party members in
those First Nations say that they never bought a membership. An
astonishing number of these members all have the same phone number.
Most have no phone number at all.



If, as it appears, something illicit is afoot, it isn't the
residents of Flying Dust and Waterhen who have behaved inappropriately.



Any racism here isn't attached to the people raising questions, but
to the idiot who thought that the names and identity of these 1,000
band members were there for the taking.



It is ironic, of course, that the leadership camp which has
positioned itself as the campaign of political pros should be the one
to caught up in such an episode of amateur hour incompetence. So much
for the big professional machine that can bring us to victory in 2011.”





In my post about
what Ryan needed to do to have a shot at winning where I speculated
that a scandal or major endorsement would be the only things that could
help him win a first-ballot victory (never honestly thinking it would
happen so blatantly!), I listed a few reasons why there was such a
strong “Anybody but Link” sentiment out there among current and former
NDP members.  

I added a comment after my post to observe that another reason for this sentiment is that Link
seems willing to play under the old political rules where it's okay to
stretch the truth, exaggerate your accomplishments and twist
endorsements from individuals so they appear to come from the
organizations those individuals are associated with
among various other old-school tactics. 



Whether Link
condoned this activity or not (and as the front-runner, I can't imagine
that he would), the reality that as the candidate, he has to take
responsibility for what happened. 
I
mean, I remember him talking at the Regina Forum about all the great
outreach he was doing in the north and bragging about some of his
endorsements as well.  Yet when Ryan had a chance to shoot down both of
these Link comments by mentioning that he's received an endorsement
from Angie Merasty who is the current President of the Aboriginal New
Democrats of Saskatchewan, he didn't do it.  At the time, I remember
thinking “Damn, he missed a chance to show he's reaching First Nations
people as much as Link is if not more and getting significant
endorsements too.” 

But now, I realise that he probably took a pass on this chance on
purpose – because he didn't want to make it sound like one person, no
matter their position, was representing everyone connected with the
group she represents and maybe he was just trying to do politics in a
different way – less bragging, less exaggerating, less truthiness

All I can say to that is what a refreshing change – especially given
the tactics that are obviously being employed by the presumptive
front-runner.  I don't know what the NDP is going to do about this…I
don't know if fraud is too strong of a word but it certainly sounds
that way…but whether it is fraud or not, they have to realise that
whatever decision they make is going to reflect back on the party as
well as the candidate who could still end up leading this party into
the next election.  In fact, their decision will have long reaching
implications, not just for the next election cycle but all future
leadership campaigns as well.  So the time is right to send a message –
is this a party that tolerates these kinds of tactics or not?  And when
they happen, does the offender get a slap on the wrist or are they
punished in a manner that befits the offense? 



It will be
*very* interesting to see what they decide to do.  (Here's my idea –
how about a $12 000 fine to replace all the income lost by revoking
these memberships and having 1200 votes deducted from Link's total on
the first ballot count as well?  Oh, and why not make Lingenfelter do
some community service in a First Nations community to match just some
of what Ryan's done so many times of his own accord?


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