Monday, September 7, 2015

Candidate Emergence Project: Canada's Turn

At APSA, I had dinner with a friend of mine, Cherie Maestas, who studies candidate emergence--where do politicians come from?  Why do they choose to run when they do?  Her study made it to the House floor since Congressfolks were worried that NSF money was being spent on finding competitors.  Silly Congresspeople.

Anyhow, I was thinking about this when I returned to Canada and found that the Conservatives have not one but two candidates that they had to ditch.  One was caught on video peeing into someone else's mug (really) and the other turned out to be an internet pranker with poor judgment/taste/humor.

Despite the timing (election is next month), this will probably not directly affect the outcome of those two ridings (what they call districts up here).  Why?  Because these were ridings that the Tories would only win in a landslide, and that landslide ain't coming.  With the party controlling who runs in each riding, the question of candidate emergence is different than in the US--the party picks folks.  And the Conservatives apparently have a shallow bench or a strange sense of humor.

In the last election, we discovered that the NDP slotted inexperienced McGill undergrads into the spots in Quebec (and elsewhere) to fill the slots.  They didn't expect these kids to win, unless the Bloc Quebecois fell apart and the Liberals failed to gain much headway in Quebec.  And, gosh darn it, those things happened, and the NDP won so many seats it was called Orange Crush.  Four McGill undergrads and one grad student ended up serving in Parliament.  From what I have heard, they have all performed very well, doing far more than just occupying seats. 

I have no idea how many of them will be returned after this next election, but my guess is most, as the Bloc is dead, dead, dead; the Liberals are performing weakly in Quebec; and Harper is none too popular these days. 

So, my suggestion to the Conservatives is that they stop choosing drunk frat bros from other parts of Canada and simply find some Conservative McGill students to parachute into the ridings where they need bodies.  Not that I want the Conservatives to do well this time, but perhaps the party would do better if they had some well-educated young blood from where the students are mighty sharp.

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