Alberta Politics
Craig Chandler, the whack-a-mole of Alberta conservative politics (Photo: Facebook).

‘Businessman, pundit, and religious activist’ Craig Chandler would be a perfect test for Jason Kenney’s database!

Posted on November 09, 2018, 1:48 am
8 mins

Craig Chandler would be the perfect test case for Opposition Leader Jason Kenney’s new database for identifying and rooting out would-be members, volunteers and candidates whose views are too extreme for the United Conservative Party.

If Mr. Chandler doesn’t set all the alarm bells ringing, the database doesn’t work properly.

Alberta Party Candidate Angela Kokott (Photo: Facebook).

Seriously, the guy’s got enough nutty ideas to fill eight blog posts. I know, because I wrote them.

It’s too bad the database Mr. Kenney was musing about on Tuesday wasn’t ready last summer, because Mr. Chandler – who seems to be the whack-a-mole of Alberta conservative politics – resurfaced in July as a volunteer organizer for a United Conservative Party nomination candidate.

And it’s too bad it wasn’t ready last week, when Mr. Chandler popped onto the public radar again, this time accusing an Alberta Party candidate of having “no morals” on a Calgary radio station’s Facebook page.

When Angela Kokott shot back with a reminder that Mr. Chandler was kicked off the Progressive Conservative Party’s Provincial Board last year for accusing Earl’s Restaurants of promoting terrorism by doing business with a meat-packing company that sells a line of halal meat, the self-described “businessman, pundit, and political and religious activist” doubled down. “For the record, I stand by what I said, and have never apologized and never will,” Mr. Chandler said in the exchange that was spotted by the sharp-eyed editors at Press Progress.

Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

His hasty exit from the PC board wasn’t the first time Mr. Chandler has been in trouble with his fellow conservatives. He has the rare distinction of having been sent packing for his opinions by the leaders of both the PC and Wildrose parties!

Both PC premier Ed Stelmach and Wildrose leader Danielle Smith obviously saw Mr. Chandler as a burning Lake of Fire on the verge of overflowing.

In 2014, after her party’s politically fatal experience with the original Lake of Fire in 2012, Ms. Smith learned Mr. Chandler was seeking a Wildrose nomination. “Your views & how you express them are wrong for Wildrose and Alberta. I would never let you be a candidate for #wrp,” she Tweeted to him.

Author and political candidate Linda McQuaig (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Back in 2007, a horrified premier Ed Stelmach gave Mr. Chandler the bum’s rush after he somehow got nominated as the PC candidate in the Calgary Edgemont riding. This happened soon after a group he headed called the Concerned Christian Coalition published an anti-gay epistle that attracted the negative attention of the Alberta Human Rights Commission. (Mr. Chandler said he didn’t write the letter.)

Of course, he is most famous for telling folks from elsewhere in Canada that if they want to move to Alberta, part of the deal is they have to vote Conservative. “You came here to enjoy our economy, our natural beauty and more,” he famously said in 2012. “This is our home and if you wish to live here, you must adapt to our rules and our voting patterns, or leave. Conservatism is our culture. Do not destroy what we have created.”

Well, that was before Albertans elected an NDP government.

Mr. Chandler is a true Westerner. That is, he comes from somewhere west of Toronto. Maybe Hamilton, where he went to university. He ran unsuccessfully for public office in Ontario before coming to the greener pastures of Alberta in 1995 with the same result.

Former Progressive Conservative premier Ed Stelmach (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

In his years here, he has done things like organize events at which supporters could shoot real guns at targets with Liberal Party logos on them. He argues Christians are a persecuted group. He used to answer his telephone by barking “Happy Capitalism!”

In addition to his strongly held and frequently repeated hostility to LGBTQ rights and Islamic beliefs, Mr. Chandler or groups he is associated with have at various times attacked multiculturalism, human rights commissions, “forced bilingualism,” unions, First Nations sovereignty, improvements to the Canada Pension Plan, and international environmental agreements.

He is not against everything, however. He supports wide-open gun laws, privatization of public services, selling off the Workers Compensation Board, and U.S. style “right to work” laws.

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

In 2015 he formed a group called “the Alberta Business and Taxpayers Coalition” and sent an 11-page, single-spaced letter to then NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, with copies to media, demanding the party dump Toronto candidate Linda McQuaig. He included supporting quotes from Vladimir Lenin, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and P.J. O’Rourke.

In the federal election that fall, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who was running in the same riding, solved Mr. Chandler’s problem – although probably in a way he didn’t approve of – by beating Ms. McQuaig.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

He once called your blogger, by the way, a “modern day Nazi who attacks anyone of faith” for criticizing some of TV host Ezra Levant’s comments on a secular topic.

I think by now readers will get the picture.

Meanwhile, getting back to Mr. Kenney’s database, he told reporters at the Legislature that “what we can maybe do is look into the dark corners of the Internet to some of these hate sites, come up with names of people who are associated with some of these extremist organizations.”

“At least we have a database of those people so if they apply for a membership, a flag comes up,” he said in response to reporters’ questions about Adam Strashok, the young fellow who oversaw Mr. Kenney’s leadership campaign call centre while dabbling in a website that sold white-supremacist T-shirts and do-dads.

Actually, Mr. Kenney doesn’t really need a database to find out all about Mr. Chandler. And yet, unlike the PC and Wildrose parties, he still seems to be welcome with the UCP.

8 Comments to: ‘Businessman, pundit, and religious activist’ Craig Chandler would be a perfect test for Jason Kenney’s database!

  1. David

    November 9th, 2018

    Mr. Kenney doesn’t need a fancy data base, he just needs the gonads to keep the kooks out.

    Unfortunately, they are an integral part of the base he plays to, so it is unlikely he will develop any political courage here. As someone who was born here I think it is unfortunate we should attract people like Chandler, who move here and then start lecturing others who might come here about Alberta culture, based on their visions of some imaginary conservative paradise that perhaps attracted them here.

    Chandler might be the closest thing we have to Trump, quite a loudmouth, but without any great financial success. Kenney and the UCP keep on having bozo problems not because they need a better data base. They know full well who these people are, they just don’t want to deal with them because they are a large and integral part of who Kenney wants to appeal to.

  2. J.E. Molnar

    November 9th, 2018

    Let’s face it, the UCP came as advertised — a blended concoction of racists, xenophobes, homophobes and white supremacists.

    I’m not suggesting all UCPers are dysfunctional party members, just the ones that frequently cavort with the far right extreme elements of Alberta’s hate factory. It would appear there are enough of them however — owing to Kenney’s welcoming “big tent” party invitation — that severely normal Albertans should be alarmed at the direction this new iteration of conservatives are trending.

    Jason Kenney’s proposed database will likely go the way of the dodo bird, or more likely the way of his “grassroots guarantee” — both dead in the water.

  3. Bob Raynard

    November 9th, 2018

    To be cute, some businesses will spell words with a K instead of a C. Maybe Mr. Chandler should have done that with his organization. Koncerned Khristian Koalition (KKK) is much more accurate.

  4. tom in ontario

    November 9th, 2018

    “…the young fellow who oversaw Mr. Kenney’s leadership campaign call centre while dabbling in a website that sold white-supremacist T-shirts and do-dads.” Would those do-dads have included bedsheets, wooden crosses, kerosene and cigar lighters?

  5. Dfjo

    November 9th, 2018

    I regularly peruse the site “PR Watch”. It reports on the activities of the Koch political machine in the U.S.
    One of their politicians in Washington State is presently under investigation by the FBI.
    PR Watch reports he was circulating a manual that deals with the mandates of a Holy War based on Christian principles.
    How much cross fertilization occurs across our southern border?

  6. Farmer Dave

    November 10th, 2018

    Haven’t all those MLAs who were part of the Wildrose and wanted to lynch Brian Jean for trying to discipline Derek Fildebrandt joined forces with Jason Kenney and the UCP now? Does anyone recall who those MLAs were?

  7. November 11th, 2018

    I must differ with Mr. Chandler (whom I once met in my capacity as a delegate for David Orchard in 2003) on at least this much: The only thing Mr. Climenhaga has in common with Nazis is that he approves of a government that tries to restrict transition in a way that causes trans women to disproportionately die.

  8. brett

    November 12th, 2018

    I have no doubt that Jason Kenney realizes there is a problem. So do others on his leadership and advisory teams.

    I think the issue is that some want to deep six it either because they do not have a problem with it or because they feel that acting on it will bring unwanted publicity.

    I would remind them to think back about what happened to the Wild Rose Party when it took them days to react to the
    the infamous ‘lake of fire comment’

    Alberta has changed. The UCP needs to top of this issue. Not doing so will only hurt them. And the hurt will grow exponentially as we approach the next election.

    Guys….for heaven’s sake do the the right thing and get your act together. You are looking like a bunch of wet behind the ears rookies.


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