July 5, 2015


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Welch's Gripe Juice

Concordia scuttlebutt

Add a guy named Jagdev Buttar to the list of rumoured candidates for Gary Doer’s old seat in Concordia.

Buttar was a Steve Ashton supporter and a member of the city’s powerful Indo-Canadian community that came out in force for Ashton during the leadership race. Ashton’s courting of the ethnic vote sparked an unattractive backlash from some longtime party members.

That tension could bubble up again – it sounds like Buttar’s team is a little peeved about how fast the party has set the nomination date. The meeting is slated for Nov. 22.

Some say parties hold speedy nominations to better control the candidate selection, and that’s probably true, but I am all in favour of speed. People deserve an MLA. Premier Selinger should call the by-election fast.

Anyway, according to one source, Buttar sold a bunch of memberships at the end of October to people who now can’t vote for him because of the 30-day rule. To vote in a nomination meeting, you must be a member for 30 days. Memberships sold after about Oct. 23 don’t count.

Buttar’s supporters are casting it as a case of the party establishment fixing the rules to subtly exclude certain candidates.

But that means Matt Wiebe, Doer’s former constituency assistant and a likely candidate with some party support, doesn’t get to sell any memberships either, so it’s not like the young guy has a huge leg up.

Curtis figures Wiebe has already sold lots of memberships, but it sounds like about 80 of the 300-odd members in Concordia are from the Indo-Canadian community, so it’s possible Buttar could rely on many of those votes if he decides to run.

This is all pretty speculative, and Bruce couldn’t reach Buttar yesterday, so if anyone out there has better intel, please share.

But this suggests the party might be dealing with a hangover from the leadership race for a while unless they find a way to make good on all the happy-family talk and actually welcome new members into the party.

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