Ten Reasons I'm Supporting Ryan Meili – #9 – He's Got Very Little Baggage

One of Dwain Lingenfelter's greatest assets is also one of his greatest weaknesses.  He's been a part of Saskatchewan's political scene from 1978 until 2000 when he moved to Calgary to become an executive with Nexen Oil.  That's given him a great deal of experience in both politics and business during the past 30 years.  But it also means he has a long track record which will provide endless opportunities for opponents to seek out inconsistencies, mis-statements and other scandals, both public and private over a period of time equal to the time period when most people are considering retirement.  And of course, the Sask Party has already had a giant headstart at making political hay out of the Waterhengate Scandal in what you know will be the source of many Sask Party attacks in the 2011. 

Being both relatively young and new to political life, Ryan Meili has very little baggage that he will carry, should he become leader.  He was arrested during a peaceful protest at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in 2001 but he received an absolute discharge and the conviction was erased from his record after one year.  And based on what I heard Meili's campaign received in donations after the arrest hit the news, there are a lot of people out there who are impressed by his willingness to be arrested for his convictions rather than being troubled by it.

I've seen the attack quoted below about Ryan pop up in a couple places lately and have my suspicion that it's being put out by the Lingenfelter campaign since Yens Pedersen (directly) and Deb Higgins (I know I've seen this hinted at indirectly – perhaps in a blog comment somewhere – but I can't find a link to confirm) have each talked about being smeared by Lingenfelter callers.

“You have to remember that the fill-in doctor bought his first NDP
memberships 8 months ago…big commitment to the NDP! People should
also know that his entire family is one big collection of
Conservatives…his father usd to be one of Grant Devine's key
organizers in Thunder Creek. Nobody needs any lessons from him about
the future of the NDP!”

First off, “fill-in doctor” is so laughable as an attack for somebody who willingly chooses to go to rural Saskatchewan to give the over-worked doctors in those communities badly needed time off (and continues to do so even as he runs his campaign) that I won't even address it. 

Second, Ryan freely admits that he first became a member in 2001 but I guess “eight years” is the same as “eight months” if you're trying to marginalize someone's involvement in the party.  (Maybe Ryan needs to introduce some funding into dyslexia research as one of his first initiatives? )

Still, no matter how long he's been a member whether it's eight months, eight years or since 1978, the reality is that he's lived in the province for the majority of the last eight years and would obviously have been aware of (and on occasion has been directly involved in) various political activities within the province.  On the other hand, did Dwain Lingenfelter keep his membership up while he was living in Alberta for the past eight years?  (That's yet another little piece of baggage that the Sask Party will hammer him on – I mean, they changed their name to include the word “Saskatchewan” to get away from their own troubled past!) 

And finally, as for having conservatives in the family, all I can say is that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.  Don't the people making the attacks know that Dwain Lingenfelter's own son has rejected the NDP and even attended the 2006 Sask Party convention causing Brad Wall to gloat “Maybe it's time to put some cats into Mouseland?

From the article: Also in attendance was Travis Lingenfelter, the 18-year-old son of former NDP deputy premier Dwain Lingenfelter.
He said his father's party does not appeal to him
“Lorne Calvert took over an economy that had a surplus and turned it
into a deficit,” he said. 'That just can't happen if we want youth to
stay in Saskatchewan. We need jobs.'”

In fact, if I had to compare the parents of Meili being Conservative supporters in the 1980's with Lingenfelter's son being a Conservative supporter now, I would go so far as to say the latter is much worse.  If Ryan's parents supported the Conservatives in the 1980's – guess what?  So did most people in rural Saskatchewan.  It was a time of massive Conservative majorities after all and the promise of a new hot tub via the Devine home improvement plan was pretty hard to resist! 

But Link's son, having spent a lifetime in the party and presumably having had a mostly urban upbringing, has still chosen to support the Sask Party in defiance of his father.  I can't help but think of Dion Tchorzewski, son of NDP icon Ed Tchorzewksi, who has talked about literally being raised in the party and because of this, having the NDP be as much of who he is as anything else that defines him.

Next: #8 – Ryan's run a positive campaign.

Comments 2

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Given this post and not sure how you can say #8 is true with a straight face. Meili can say many things about his campaign but running a clean and positive campaign is not one of them.

    Posted 25 May 2009 at 1:00 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Clearly many of the Link supporters are feeling tremendous stress. What they need is a nice cup of soothing ginger tea.
    Serves 4
    – 4 1/2 teaspoons cardamom pods, crushed
    – 4 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
    – 5 cups water
    – 1 piece (6 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced inch thick (about 3/4 cup)
    – 1 tablespoon honey
    – 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
    Toast cardamom and fennel in a saucepan over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
    Add water and ginger. Reduce heat, and simmer until it reaches the desired strength, 10 to 15 minutes.
    Remove from heat, and stir in honey and mint leaves. Let stand for 5 minutes.
    Strain into mugs. Garnish with mint.
    Hope you feel better soon.

    Posted 26 May 2009 at 4:13 am

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