To the Editors,
In the 1990s, then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien “punished” Hamilton MP Sheila Copps for her repeated attempts to get him to live up to his campaign promise of abolishing the Federal Sales Tax by parachuting a candidate to replace her in a Federal election for Hamilton Centre. Hamilton voters responded to this blatant disrespect for democracy by turning the downtown core NDP orange, which it has remained since. I was hoping to see a similar response last year, when Leslyn Lewis became a sudden resident of Haldimand County, but Haldimand-Norfolk residents demonstrated that principle was not their stronger suit and voted according to tradition.
Doug Ford seems to have learned from that, and has now dropped Ken Hewitt into the Provincial race in the same manner.
Politicians are known for altering the facts to justify their actions, but I would have to think hard to remember an occasion that a local politician included more bovine droppings in their statements than the one in last week’s paper (“Mayor Hewitt steps down…”).
He explains the reason for his “appointment” as necessary due to the short period of time available to have a riding nomination and selection process. The party has known about Toby’s decision to not run again for four years! How much more time did they need?
Hewitt claims that he would have preferred the democratic method, since Haldimand-Norfolk has suffered in that regard. To make such a claim and still accept a contrary offer to his benefit constitutes a “conflict of interest”, which he has a history of not recognising. In fact, I’ve heard him referred to as “Mr. Conflict-of-Interest”.
He can’t speak for the Premier, he said, nor the people in the Association, nor the current MPP. The reason that a nomination meeting never occurred, he claims, was by the “behest and control of those people”. Which people? Not the people in the local Association, who wanted a meeting! Not the current MPP, who wanted a meeting! Only Doug Ford, who did NOT want a meeting, because the wrong person might get selected.
And Hewitt, who apparently gets paid during his leave-of-absence, is going to make a grand gesture by donating his salary to a charity of his choice. Familiarity with tax laws, however, with which Hewitt should be familiar due to his previous line of work, means that he will NOT be donating his salary to charity, since he will receive a tax write-off for a charitable donation.
Of course, he’s not going to leave the County high and dry for 30 days, since he will still attend events to which he has committed. The problem there, however, is that he was invited to attend as Mayor, but he will be going as an MPP candidate, which creates a conflict-of-interest. But then we’ve already covered that! Those functions should be attended by Bernie Corbett, who will be the Mayor at that time.
The former Liberal MP candidate explains that he was contacted by Premier Ford to see if he would be willing to “join his team.” This only emphasises the point made in a letter last week; that his allegiance will not be to the residents of Haldimand-Norfolk, but to the “Team” that puts him there.
This type of candidate selection raises the question as to why we have local Riding Associations, if they are to be constantly by-passed in the selection process. Of course, this won’t bother Ken Hewitt, since he’s never taken money from his pocket to pay for any party membership, nor even given of his time to help elect anyone else!