The next MPP for Newmarket-Aurora, Office Manager Dawn Gallagher Murphy, says she can't attend the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce election debate on 19 May 2022 because of a "scheduling conflict"

That's pure hokum. What kind of fool does she take us for?

She should clear her diary and be there in person to debate the issues of the day with the other candidates.

That is the right thing to do.

What on earth is she afraid of?

Being found out? 

Appointed by Ford as a favour to Elliott

Gallagher Murphy wasn't selected by PC members in Newmarket-Aurora. They were side-lined. She was, instead, appointed by Doug Ford as a favour to his loyal Deputy, the dissembling Christine Elliott.

Selecting candidates for the Provincial Parliament in this way is not OK.

And now we hear of Liberal candidates being dropped by their Party - even in the middle of the election campaign. Here in Newmarket-Aurora, the Provincial Liberal Party dumped Shameela Shakeel for failing to meet the required qualifications for being a Liberal Candidate without giving reasons or elaborating.

The NDP have had their problems too.

All parties shop for candidates for the simple reason they don't grow their own. Our septugenarian MP, Tony Van Bynen, wasn't even a member of the Liberal Party in 2019. He joined so he could throw his hat into the ring. He was the only candidate and is now in Ottawa. (Photo right: on 23 April 2022 parties were still searching for candidates.)

Shell organisations

Astonishingly, a few years ago I was asked by a senior member of a political party here in Newmarket-Aurora if I would consider becoming a Parliamentary candidate. I wasn't even a member of that Party then or now. I laughed at the very suggestion - and said no. 

Too many riding associations are shell organizations. And even when aspiring MPs and MPPs sign up armies of new members to secure a nomination, it doesn't necessarily translate into an active riding association. If they join as paper members they generally stay as paper members.

I have no time for this kind of transactional politics which leads to cronyism and clientism.

We need to get more people interested in becoming active members of political parties. But that is a huge ask - especially these days when so many younger people are focussed on single issue campaigns and are cynical about conventional politics.

Wither on the vine

So what happens? Political parties - a core part of a living and functioning democracy - just wither on the vine. 

Riding associations should be more than vehicles for winning elections. They should be places where Party members can enjoy lively political debate, regularly holding their MPs and MPPs to account. But in too many places this simply doesn't happen.

The media focus is almost exclusively on the Party leadership and the qualities of individual candidates in the ridings is of secondary importance.

Parroting her Patron

Even someone like Dawn Gallagher Murphy will likely be elected to our Provincial Legislature although she just parrots her patron, Doug Ford, and has nothing original to say for herself.

In the Ontario Legislature her vote will have exactly the same weight as her patron, Doug Ford.

But in reality that counts for nothing.

She owes her place to him and will vote as directed. Every time.

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Update at 7pm on 12 May 2022: Dawn Gallagher Murphy is a no-show at tonight's candidates' event hosted by the Aurora Public Library.