Apparently, Chandler's not so happy with the editorial of one Graham Thomson who writes:
If you've never heard of Chandler, it's not because he hasn't been trying to get your attention. Over the past decade or so, he has run unsuccessfully for the federal Reform Party, the provincial Social Credit Party and the leadership of the now-defunct federal Progressive Conservative party.
And then goes on to point out some of Craig's antics over the last few years - from his statements on Freedom Radio Network to various events he has sponsored/hosted, ending up on Chandler's "if you aren't conservative, leave Alberta" tirade.
In response, we find a bunch of letters to the editor written by Craig and his minions on his campaign team expressing their outrage over this "attack" on Craig:
I am responding to the shocking and cowardly anti-Chandler attack piece by Graham Thomson.
Thomson goes out of his way to point out that I was an “un-successful” candidate for the federal Reform Party and how I lost the leadership of the former Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.
Oh dear - pointed out reality, did we? Chandler then goes on to spout some real gems:
I was asked by the Canadian Alliance (CA) to run for leader of the federal PC Party, as they needed someone that was well positioned to run and deliver a message. The message was that we needed to merge parties or we would become a debating society.
Not like any of us are surprised by this revelation - Chandler running for the PC leadership didn't make any sense at the time except at the prompting of allies in the old Alliance - and merely goes further to demonstrate that the "merger" was more of a takeover.
I am deeply disturbed with Thomson's attack on my personal religious beliefs. His comments that I use “inflammatory language... often aimed at homosexuals under the guise of freedom of speech” is appalling and hateful.
Does Thomson know that I have homosexual friends? I took part in a documentary on CBC called “God Only Knows Same Sex Marriage” where I went to live with two gay men and then one of them came to live with my family. These friends understood that I disagreed with same sex marriage, but that I had no issues with extending all the benefits shared by heterosexual couples. Most of them agreed with me that marriage should be left to the churches to decide and that the government should stop trying to legislate morality.
Oh dear - the old "but I have gay friends" argument. The intellectual dishonesty of that statement is highlighted in the Minutes of Settlement from the Canadian Human Rights Commission posted on the Concerned Christians Canada website - in regards to statements and postings made by Chandler and his cohorts about the Boissoin complaint. The appendixes also show the kinds of statements made by Chandler in an effort to get Rob Wells to drop his complaints. I might also point out that a Broadcast Standards Council ruling went against him on this matter, as well as the longer range Canadian Human Rights Commission negotiation. (Note - Chandler resigned as head of Concerned Christians Canada this spring - ostensibly to free up time to run for public office.)
If Craig has gay friends, and I take him at his word that he does, he treats them in his public utterances in a manner that I can only call condescending and crass.
- Oh yes - We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that there is a legal construct around marriage - not merely a moral or religious construct ... which has been the core point of the debate since day one.
Mr. Thomson’s attack then shifted to my thoughts relating to our conservative culture. I made clear in my comments that I was not referring to a particular party. Here is an excerpt from the article in question: “To those of you who have come to our great land from out of province, you need to remember that you came here to our home and we vote conservative (meaning Social Credit, Alberta Alliance, Wildrose or the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party)”
The small 'c' conservative culture of Alberta embraces less government, lower taxes and not spending more then you take in. We are debt free and need to remain that way.
Again, Chandler misses the mark badly. He seems to think that Alberta is a monolith of belief and that this is a good thing. He's wrong. While a lot of people might have voted for Ralph Klein personally, that doesn't make them ideological conservatives. Second, even if a lot of Alberta is ideologically conservative, that does not invalidate the beliefs of those who do not vote conservative.
As for not referring to a specific party, I will point to the following comment in his original tirade:
...even understand the history of this province or the relationship with the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.
That's a pretty specific party to me - but frankly, even the claim that it's not a "specific party" is a pretty limp attempt at deflection from what Chandler actually said - and clearly meant to say ... even though we ostensibly live in a democracy which should value a variety of ideas and discourse.
Lastly, Thomson insulted again with the comment “you have to wonder if they want to be on the same level as the likes of Craig Chandler”. The reality is that I have now signed up more members to the Alberta PC Party in Calgary Egmont then the Liberals had votes in the last election in this area.
Thomson's clearly not impressed with Chandler's antics, and it was an editorial - fair enough. As for the number of "convenience conservatives" he's recruited, I think Chandler is being a trifle optimistic about what kind of votes he'll garner next election - as the Calgary Elbow byelection experience should have long since told him. (Whether Calgary Egmont voters will vote for Chandler remains to be seen, even if he wins the nomination contest)
Telling people to leave Alberta because they don't happen to vote the way he wants them to remains, as Thomson put it, "undemocratic, mean-spirited and head-shakingly stupid." - screaming outrage when you are called on it in the public media merely reinforces the notion that conservatives like Chandler are astoundingly thin-skinned.