Friday, March 30, 2007

Liberals: 33 1/3% women candidates, but still 100% business as usual

Federation of municipalities president says Dion had her ousted because she ran for Conservative nomination

Never let it be said that the Liberal party allows its veneer of diversity to get in the way of its tried-and-true brand of shiv-tastic politics. A Guelph municipal councillor is claiming Stephane Dion is behind her ouster just two months away from the end of her term as president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (h/t National Newswatch):

“I’d like an apology for what has happened,” said [Gloria] Kovach, who was stripped of the FCM presidency after losing the local Conservative Party nomination to Brent Barr last week.

Kovach, who has been FCM president since December 2005 and whose term was supposed to end this May, announced Feb. 1 that she was seeking the Conservative nomination to run in the next federal election.

She said the trouble began soon afterwards when she met with Dion for prebudget discussions. With her at that meeting, her first with the new Liberal leader, was FCM first vice-president Gord Steeves of Winnipeg.

Dion “was not very engaging. He did not have a lot to say to us,” Kovach said.

Now, to be fair, Dion has never been known for his charisma in small groups. Or large ones. Or by himself. And his office is denying any connection with Kovach’s removal.

As the story notes, other FCM presidents, most notably Jack Layton, have pursued provincial or municipal office while serving in the post.

[Kovach] went on to say that she’d have thought a new Opposition leader would have better things to do “than trying to discredit a committed community leader. I didn’t do anything untoward towards him.”

She said she took an unpaid leave of absence from her nursing job to take on the FCM presidency, which has no salary.

Just because you’ve never done anything untoward towards a Liberal leader, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not in his way. Just ask Sheila Copps.

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