By Barbara Yaffe:
A local realtor who donates to the federal Conservative cause and supports the Harper team is hoping to prevent the Conservative candidate nominated in Stockwell Day’s former riding from winning on May 2.
Sean Upshaw is running in Okanagan-Coquihalla as an “Independent” Conservative candidate, aiming to upset an election bid by the party’s nominated candidate Dan Albas, a Penticton city councillor, business-man and former riding president.
Albas’ nomination took place just 10 days after former cabinet minister Day announced he was retiring from the solidly Conservative seat. Because of the rushed nature of the process, Upshaw maintains he didn’t have sufficient time to file his nomination papers. Indeed several party members complained the nomination process did not pass the smell test, that it was rigged by those close to Day.
The former fund-raising chair for Day, Mischa Popoff, was so upset at the proceedings, he ripped up his Conservative membership card in protest, calling the nomination vote “a clear abuse of the electoral process.”
Upshaw issued a news release on the weekend, explaining: “I have been forced to take a rather unconventional approach to take this seat, which is a Conservative running against a Conservative in the same riding.
“Rather than let a few party insiders behind closed doors decide who the best Conservative is, I have decided the vote that really counts will take place on May 2.”
Give Upshaw points for guts. Day won the riding by nearly 20,000 votes in the 2008 election, and it’s likely to go once again to the officially nominated Conservative candidate.
But a black mark has now been left on the campaign trail. Albas’ nomination reflects badly on his own candidacy and that of his party.