cdnelxncircleUPDATE: Surprise. According to the L-P’s Emma Graney, Trent Fraser will be at tomorrow night’s televised Access debate.

Last week, Trent Fraser, Conservative candidate for Regina–Lewvan, informed the CBC that skipping public debates and forums is part of his party’s election strategy.

Personally, his confession strikes me as a pretty serious gaffe but it hasn’t received much attention. Not even locally. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this would get overshadowed by that other cornerstone of the Conservative’s election strategy:

Stoking fears of terrorist fifth-columnists!

I guess we’ll find out tonight if Fraser is sticking to the Conservative playbook as there’s another forum for candidates in Regina–Lewvan. It’s being put on by the Cathedral Community Association board at the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre. (That’s across the street from the 13th Ave Safeway at 2900 13th Ave. Show starts at 7pm Show up earlier if you want a seat.)

Full disclosure: I’m on the Cathedral Area Community Association board. And I’ve been slightly involved in organizing this event: I had input on the prepared questions that the candidates will answer and I’ll be stacking chairs after everything is over. That’s about it.

And I’m not in any way speaking for the association in this blog post. I’m totally rogue.

Anyway, from what I’ve heard. Fraser will be a no-show at tonight’s forum. There’s a chance he’ll surprise everybody and make it out. He’s been invited but has sent his regrets. Which, as we learned from the CBC is all part of the strategy.

Still, I don’t know… I can’t imagine saying no to things like this sits well with guys like Fraser. Maybe I’m wrong but running in a federal election for the first time has to be a pretty big deal in a person’s life. The pride. The excitement. You’re working to represent your party and your community in Ottawa. Imagining yourself facing off against seasoned career politicians in the House of Commons. But then some Conservative campaign boss says to you, “Look Trent, we’d like to let you go to a debate in your neighbourhood gymnasium. But I trust you about as far as I can throw Brad Trost. Stick to the door knocking.”

That’s got to sting. Here you think you’re going to be a politician: respected, revered, responsible. But then you discover you’re not even going to be a pawn in somebody else’s chess game. You’re going to be a pawn from the back-up set and only get pulled out if one of the pawns from the good set gets broken.


I get that the Conservatives like to be careful with their messaging around election time. It has to be difficult herding a pack of demented, feral, right-wing cats. Heck, take a look at the inconvenient nonsense I chronicled in my last two posts worth of CPC unforced errors (Kram’s anti-abortion interview, Butt’s thoughts on deporting Mulcair).

But if you need more proof that Harper is planning another slate of do-nothing Saskatchewan backbenchers, Fraser’s absence is it.