I’m guessing there will be some throat-clearing and dagger looks amongst former and current Liberal MPs when they attend the visitation and funeral of their former colleague, Liberal MP Charles Caccia, who died this weekend from the complications of a stroke.
Caccia was one of the lower-profile victims of the Paul Martin steamroller. In 2004 he was the longest-serving Member of Parliament, having been MP for Davenport since 1968. He lost the nomination, however, to then Toronto city councillor Mario Silva. This occurred thanks to Paul Martin’s opening of nominations after finally wresting the Liberal leadership from Jean Chrétien’s vise grip in 2003. Unlike Sheila Copps – who put up a spirited fight against Tony Valeri in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek – Caccia had no chance against the ambitious Silva, who had been signing up new members for months.
I happened to be president of the Davenport Conservative association when all this was going down. The head of our candidate selection committee thought we should, as a courtesy, approach the defenestrated Caccia and inquire whether he would be interested in running for the Conservatives. Caccia agreed to meet with us at his constituency office, and cordially informed us that he intended to run as an independent. In the end, he decided to retire quietly from Parliament.
Update: Nicol DuMoulin also has a post, on his experiences as Caccia's constituent.