Notes on a community in transition.

Wither thou goest I may or may not follow.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Frank Valeriote Wins Liberal Nomination

The Liberal Party in Guelph has opted for a millionaire businessman with a record for charity work. A friend of many of Guelph's largest land developers, he is clearly from the right side of the Liberal camp, which will leave him and Brent Barr splitting the city's right-wing vote, with each man holding their hard-core-partisans. Barr will take the majority of small-government libertarians and Valeriote will take the money votes, with neither being able to take anything from the centre left.
The centre left race will be fought between NDP Star candidate Thomas King and Green Party environment critic Mike Nagy. Valeriote has no constituency beyond those who supported him tonight multiplied by a few thousand old school Catholics who will vote for him because he is the only Catholic in the race; his considerable family connections will also likely rally around him. (His grandfather was the first Valeriote to come to Guelph from San Giorgio Morgeto, Calabria, and between Frank's several great-uncles he is probably related to every Sangiorgiosi in Guelph. That won't win him the election however.)
Every environmentalist and social activist in the Liberal party is probably already packing their bags. In the privacy of the polling booth Valeriote probably won't even get the votes of those Liberals he ran against tonight.
The centre left liberals will not remain partisan because they will do what Dion did today with Elizabeth May, put the environment before the party. There isn't a chance in hell of Valeriote passing himself off as a friend of the environment, certainly not with Nagy in a debate.
If the Greens can take away progressives from the Conservative Party (who know that their party's commitment to the environment is as shallow as Valeriote's) Nagy will again benefit.
In the end, with Barr and Valeriote splitting the right wing vote, King may take the seat, with the Greens picking up vote share, and the Liberals and Conservatives losing it.
This was not a strategic move by the Liberal Party, it was a party takeover by the Sangiorgiosi in order to erase the embarrassment they went through during the November municipal election when voters tossed out favourite sons Rocco Furfaro and Ray Ferraro. They must have signed themselves up as party members in the hundreds.
Marva Wisdom was the only candidate who could have taken votes from Nagy and King and Barr. Valeriote will backfire on the Party. Dion won't get any help from Guelph in forming a government. But neither will Harper get help from Barr.

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