Yesterday, Tony Clement dropped out of the Conservative leadership race and Chris Alexander dropped in. The Conservative ranks are teeming with ambition. But ambition is expensive. Brent Rathgeber writes:
Running for the leadership of a Canadian political party is no modest undertaking. Including the registration fee and a subsequent charge for access to the membership list, it costs $100,000 to play.
But that’s only the beginning. Canada is a big country. Given that the leadership contest is weighted — that is, the 338 electoral districts are each assigned an equal number of points in the final vote — it’s important that serious candidates at least show up in most ridings and regions. That’s a lot of flights, a lot of hotel rooms.
In the end, it's money that will determine who will leave and who will go. And money is tied to an MP's record. Clement's Achilles Heel was his record:
He will never be able to walk back the reputation he picked up during the 2010 G8 Summit. Clement was in charge of a $50 million infrastructure program intended to reduce border congestion; some of the money was used to build parks, walkways and gazebos in Clement’s riding in advance of the summit. To a lot of people, he’ll always be ‘Gazebo Tony’.
Although that pork barrel episode probably guaranteed his re-election as MP in Ontario Lake Country, it also destroyed his credibility with fiscal conservatives across the nation.
Clement is only the first contender to drop out. There will be others. It's impossible at this point to guess who will be the last person standing.
Image: Huffington Post