First things first – I received a phone call from the Mark Dyrholm campaign today. I didn’t waste much time, I just politely told the caller I was firmly behind Danielle Smith. He said, “oh, so you’re supporting the libertarian then?” I simply said, “yes,” and left it at that.

At least they aren’t calling her a Liberal any more…

This is the thing about this campaign – it’s become more nasty than I was expecting. The sad thing it isn’t publicly nasty between the candidates – oh no – it’s getting nasty between the people involved in the two campaigns.

Over on the Dyrholm campaign is Craig Chandler — and yes, this is where I’m going with this post.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Craig, I’m sure, honestly believes in what he is doing. He’s an unabashed social conservative; as is Mark Dyrholm. Neither should ever be embarassed or apologetic for their faith.

The issue I have, though, is how close Chandler an
d Dyrholm are together. It seems like a package deal. If the party elects Dyrholm, we get Chandler as well.

Dyrholm would make a good figurehead of the party. He’s clean-cut, well-spoken, intelligent, and engages a crowd well. However, knowing Chandler’s personality, there is little doubt in my mind who would be running the party from behind the scenes.

Chandler is, well, to be blunt, blunt. He’s a bulldozer. He says what he means, and means what he says. Sometimes, I think, to his detriment. Certainly his opinions and the way he expresses them turn people off.

Consider this news report from CFCN TV, when Chandler was running for the PC Nomination for the provincial riding of Calgary-Egmont:


Chandler went on to win the nomination in October of 2007, however Premier Ed Stelmach refused to sign his nomination papers.

I’ll leave it to you to decide whether Stelmach was right or wrong to make that decision, but listen to what Chandler said – “if you aren’t willing to adapt to our voting patterns, you can leave.”

Chandler has been involved with various political parties over the years – The Reform Party, The Alberta Social Credit Party, the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, the Federal Progressive Conservative Party (he ran for the leadership, and withdrew prior to the first ballot), the Alberta Alliance, and now the Wildrose Alliance Party. Chandler’s eclectic history of political associations seems somewhat odd. One theory as to why Chandler would decide this would be that he’s simply trying to boost his own profile and influence and/or that of his business group, the Progressive Group for Independent Business, which, during his campaign speech for the federal PC leadership convention, he mentioned several times.

Mark Dyrholm is an active member of the PGIB; and it would seem that Chandler and Dyrholm go back quite a ways. In January of 2008, in the run up to the Wildrose Alliance executive election, Chandler arranged a slate of candidates affiliated with the PGIB. If you decide to take the time to read the whole thread that I’ve linked to there, you’ll see that the party brass did, in fact, know about this prior to the election meeting. It is certainly politically legitimate and fair game to arrange candidates as a slate, however one poster points out that the Wildrose Alliance is a merger between the Wildrose Party and the Alberta Alliance. Nowhere in the merger did the PGIB play a part, so why would the PGIB try with a slate of candidates to win a large number of positions on the executive? Why would Chandler run for one of those positions just a few days after re-joining the party?

Chandler has also created a Christian lobby group called Concerned Christians Canada, and, in early 2008, was required to write a letter of apology to Rob Wells for comments he made regarding homosexuality. On the subject of homosexuality, Chandler is entitled to his opinion, and is also entitled to express it. And he does. Repeatedly. This is again another example however, of how Chandler can bulldoze people. It’s not his message – it’s the way he packages it. It turns people off.

Interestingly, Concerned Christians Canada is also the same group which demanded the Calgary Zoo remove a statue of an Indian God. In their letter to the Zoo, Concerned Christians claimed that the Zoo “is not a place of religious indoctrination,” is “supposed to be a safe family environment free of religious icons and selective religious partiality”, and finally, the “display of foreign gods is offensive and does not reflect the views of the majority of Canadians.”

The Calgary Zoo refused to remove the statue, and that (rightly so) was the end of that. I do not know whether Chandler is still affiliated with Concerned Christians Canada (as his letter of apology states he is the “Outgoing CEO”) however I would assume that as the founder of the organization, he still has some affiliation with it. An organization that gets bent out of shape over a statue of an elephant is not one which represents the majority view of Alberta or Canada.

Lastly, there are rumours circulating around the Internet right now regarding the Dyrholm campaign purchasing memberships for people. If — and I can’t stress this enough — IF — this is true, then there are some serious concerns. If one purchases memberships in the names of other people, it is fraudulent and amounts to ballot-box stuffing.

With that said, let me be clear. This is RUMOUR. I have looked through a few blog entries and anonymous comments on blogs. The people making these comments may have an axe to grind against Chandler, but I, for one, have not seen anything which could come close to being considered concrete proof of the practise, so on the subject of purchasing memberships for other people, unless Craig Chandler confirms it (unlikely) or someone provides proof, I am personally prepared to give Craig the benefit of the doubt on this issue.

So to conclude:

A vote for Dyrholm is a vote for Chandler. Craig has a lot of political baggage which prevents him from running personally for leader, so he’ll put a figurehead out in front and run things from the back rooms. That figurehead is Mark Dyrholm, but the real power will be in Craig Chandler’s hands.

I have no problem with social conservatism or social conservatives themselves. I agree with a lot of Craig Chandler and Mark Dyrholm’s beliefs; however when push comes to shove, I’d rather side with an engaging, dynamic leader who does not make religion and social conservatism a plank in their election platform.

And that is why I am supporting Danielle Smith for Leader of the Wildrose Alliance.

Steven Britton Deep Stuff, My Stuff, Opinion, Political

14 Replies

  1. The only people going negative are the Danielle Smith campaign Team.

    What you have done is grabbed a grain of truth and twisted it around.

    The only reason you even know Craig is involved is because our campaign chose to be transparent.

    Danielle Smith is not transparent and will not list who any of her key campaign team members are.

    Thanks for letting us know that the likes of Craig Chandler will be purged if Danielle wins.

    Rather then attacking others on the Dyrholm campaign, you should be promoting your candidate.

    Another pathetic drive by hit, by the Danielle Smith Campaign.

    Thanks for letting us know we are not welcome.

    It really is sad, that you would choose to alienate someone like Craig Chandler rather then harness his energy and work with him.

    I know Craig has encouraged all of us to support Danielle if Mark loses, but, I am a business owner and do not have time for this petty crap.

    I must say the Danielle Smith camp has done a great job at alienating others.

    Lastly, I am not a social conservative by any means so you are alienating more people then you have thought.

  2. Sid, both campaigns have gotten negative but the only campaign which seems to be unaware of that is Dyrholms campaign.

    Don’t start on about how just because you list the names of some people involved it makes your campaign transparent. When Graham Sproule magically went away as the Northern Chair there was no transparency from the Dyrholm campaign on why one of his campaign chairs either quit or was let go of the position.

    And for the record go onto Danielle’s website and look at the type of people endorsing her. From Link Byfield to Ezra Levant to Tom Flanagan. So this idea that Danielle is keeping those who support her a secret is a lie.

    Based on the logic of Craig Chandler, he should be with the 60% of the population who should go back to where they came from if they are not going to support the current government.

  3. I see the Chandler apologists are busy scanning the net, playing their game of ‘deflect and deny’.

    Mang didn’t make anything up here – every allegation is verified and documented. Sometimes the truth does, indeed, hurt.

  4. One wonders if that is Sid or Craig replying, given that Craig has admitted, in the past, to posting under Sid’s name.

  5. One also wonders what kind of political future Dyrholm will have after Chandler wrecks his campaign. Take, for example, David Crutcher. He was apparently the best choice for leader of the Alberta Alliance. Now he’s left to driving around Mark Dyrholm:

  6. Some people want to get power so that they can change something. Others want power to satisfy their ego. Everything I’ve seen from the Dyrholm campaign tells me he falls in the second category.

  7. “Purge????” What “purge” are you talking about Sid? That’s pretty ridiculous given that nowhere in the blog entry did I say anything about Chandler, or Dyrholm, being unwelcome within the party. It’s also pretty easy to figure out that Craig is involved with the Dyrholm campaign, given Dyrholm’s affiliation with the PGIB.

    It’s also pretty disingenious to say the Smith campaign is the only campaign going negative.

    I have been very judicious in my fact checking on this entry – because I wanted to make absolutely certain that what I posted was accurate. For example, I took the time to actually listen to Craig’s speech to the PC Leadership Convention, rather than take Wikipedia’s word for it. (Wikipedia mentions that the Canadian Press called it “homophobic and fundamentalist,” and said that Chandler was “booed” for statements he made about homosexuals and homosexuality.) In truth, Chandler is likely booed by Peter McKay’s delegates for attacking Peter McKay – which he does – and what he says regarding homosexuality and the consequences of Bill C250 are actually pretty tame by comparison.

    Chandler is not evil. I actually quite like him personally; but I do not believe he is someone I would want in the political backrooms of the Wildrose Alliance. I believe Chandler, because of his personality style, would make the WAP very un-electable.

  8. Craig and others are not hiding they are right out front showing there true being. For the last 6-8 weeks I have sat and watched in order to see who I was dealing with I have had limited contact with Danielle Smith’s team but what I have had is positive and sound. On the other hand my first contact with the Dyrholm team was Craig in a phone call that relay left me scratching my head. I had tossed down my cash and joined WHAT? But this raised my interest and as I looked more into the WRA and found that there are two camps. One I can see has potential and one that is doomed and it has to do with the members of the camps and the perception of the Alberta people of those camps and I’m glad to say that those of us that are Born, Breed, raised, educated and have lived through all of Alberta’s up’s down’s in’s and out’s can see past the “Import Red neck” talk and really do see the light.

  9. At least they aren’t calling her a Liberal any more.

    I got a robocall today from the Dyrholm campaign and they didn’t say she was just “libertarian,” they said she was “liberal” as well.

  10. I think all of you have proven Sid’s point rather well.

    Like a gang of pit bulls you just piled on and attacked.

    Also Mag writes: “I do not believe he is someone I would want in the political backrooms of the Wildrose Alliance”

    You also would not want him in the front either. Let the purging begin.

  11. I tend not to give too much time or credibility to anonymous comments, given they’re, well, anonymous, and could therefore come from anyone, but I will respond to the one left above.

    The only people talking about a “purge” seem only to be those in the Dyrholm camp. I do think that Chandler, Dyrholm and others have quite a lot of positive they can bring to the party – a sound moral compass — however the personality style of Chandler – I referred to him as a bulldozer above, and I don’t think even Craig would disagree with me — is one which turns a lot of people off.

    In the right time and place, these individuals can – and will – do a lot of good. They provide an excellent network of like-minded contacts and volunteer work. The energy and passion is amazing.

    Also, if you read the post, I think it’s quite fair and balanced. I took great steps to ensure the facts were correct, the background information was valid and verifyable, and I also took some time to dispel some rumours which are floating around which I do not find to be credible at all.

    So I stand by my statement: Chandler is not evil. He’s a good guy to visit with and have a beer with. He is also very blunt and bulldozes over people with his opinions, which tends to turn people off, and, as such, I believe if Craig were to be in the upper echelon back rooms of the Wildrose Alliance, he would be more of an electoral liability rather than an asset. Chandler’s strengths lie elsewhere.

  12. “Chandler’s strengths lie elsewhere”

    Agreed! Elsewhere as in not in the party.

    We need to get rid of all of these social conservatives in our party. We finally have a chance as Libertarians and the social conservatives are in our way. They can’t be reasoned with, they must be shown the door.

    If Danielle reaches out to Dyrholm, Chandler and others I will leave the party.

  13. Well, one “anonymous” person really likes to antagonize…

    But, freedom of speech (when it isn’t libel or otherwise illegal) is freedom of speech, which means freedom for everyone.

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