A News Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted August 29th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
It seems some ousted politicians won’t do the honourable thing and just go away.
No matter how hard the voters try flushing them down the electoral equivalent of the loo, damn it, they just keep on backing up.
So get out the plunger folks because just 10 short months after awe thought it was safe to mop and polish the floor, Rick Dykstra has reportedly announced his intentions to seek elected office again – this time in the Niagara West-Glanbrook Riding where his Tory soulmate Tim Hudak is vacating his provincial seat there on September 18th.
Dykstra last held elected office in the federal riding of St. Catharines where for 10 years up to his defeat in the October 2016 federal election, he dutifully served then Tory prime minister Stephen Harper.
A few months before last year’s election, Dykstra made a bit of a news splash nationally and internationally for a comment he sent out on Twitter about Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, an Olympics gold medalist from the U.S. who had recently come out as a transgender woman.
Dykstra tweeted that it was “a joke” that Jenner had won ESPN TV’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award over Noah Galloway, a U.S. army veteran who lost an arm and leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq.
The tweet drew numerous negative responses from others who accused Dykstra of being insensitive to the struggle, including the very real dangers transgender people often face being accepted in the larger community.
“During #PrideNiagara I hope you don’t get a chance to tell our trans community they aren’t courageous,” one person from the Niagara region tweeted back.
St. Catharines Liberal candidate Chris Bittle called on Dykstra to remove the tweet.
“It’s time to take down that offensive, transphobic tweet. Let’s not minimize the struggle transgender people face,” added Bittle, the federal Liberal candidate for the St. Catharines riding who would ultimately beat Dykstra despite an endorsement he received from Al Caslin, a St. Catharines regional councillor who was by then holding Niagara’s top political job as regional chair and who drew criticism of his own, including some from veteran regional councillors, over an image of himself wearing the Region’s official Chain of Office in the Dykstra endorsement.
Dykstra ended up losing to Bittle by more than 3,000 votes and when the more than 10,800 votes that went to the NDP and Green Party candidates are factored in, his share of the total vote count turned out to be significantly less than half.
Not to worry though. For someone who served so loyally for a federal party that has preached the dual message of ‘the best government is less government’ and ‘the private sector is boss,’ Dykstra is now on a promising path back to the public sector trough.
Now doing a stint as the Ontario Conservative Party’s president, he could very well win the nomination (the only other announced contender so far is Grimsby regional councillor Tony Quirk) and go on to win a byelection in the Niagara West-Glanbrook Riding, whenever that is called by the province’s Liberal premier, Kathleen Wynne.
The largely rural Niagara West-Glanbrook Riding has been a welcome mat for right-wing Tories and has always been good to MPP and former provincial Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak , who announced earlier this summer that he was leaving elected politics this September for a job as CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association.
So the political prognosticator inside me says that if Dykstra wins his party’s nomination in that riding, you could bring back Lester B. Pearson for the Liberals and Tommy Douglas for the NDP to run against them, and he will sweep them.
I can see the blue and white victory balloons floating down around Dykstra’s feet right now.
If you want to read the P.R. version of this news in the St. Catharines Standard, click on – – http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2016/08/28/dykstra-seeks-niagara-west-tory-nomination
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