Alberta Wildrose candidate Ron Leech
Credits: File photo
Tuesday morning and here we go, one of their own has not been careful in this no-holds-barred race, this brawl for it all. He shoots himself in the foot.
Party handlers huddle in full-blown damage control with Ron Leech, their candidate in an east Calgary riding that's home to many different cultures.
Leech has stepped in the stink. The press salivates.
A radio station asks Leech a question a few days back. They say it's about what his priority would be as an MLA. They do not provide the tape or offer us a listen. We newshounds have a funny habit of liking to confirm such things.
On the airwaves what we do know is Leech says as a Caucasian he thinks he has an advantage.
The Caucasian Advantage, so to speak.
"When a different community leader such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speaks, they really speak to their own people in many ways.
"But as a Caucasian I believe I can speak to all the community."
Someone sends the audio clip to someone and Leech is in the deep doo-doo.
He says sorry Tuesday, and he apologizes more than once, if "something was said at the moment, at the spur of the moment, that misrepresented the community or myself."
He is flanked by four gentlemen who are not Caucasian.
The candidate says what he was trying to say is not that it is an advantage to be Caucasian in his multi-cultural riding but that it's not a disadvantage being white.
"What I was trying to say - which didn't come out that way and I apologize - what I was trying to say is that it's not a disadvantage for me to be Caucasian and to represent the diverse cultures of my riding."
Leech, a long-time pastor, says he loves all people, all cultural groups and faith groups. He says he has "a real heart for the people" and "a great love for all humanity" even if their beliefs differ from his own.
"I apologize if there was something said that seemed to indicate anything than my intent."
This matter comes right after the digging up of the year-old blog of Allan Hunsperger, a pastor and now Wildrose candidate in Edmonton, who writes of homosexuals burning in hell.
It's that kind of campaign.
In this case, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith says she doesn't believe in "politicians interfering in the private religious practices of people" and those of strong religious faith should "be welcomed to do public service." Full stop.
The party position is they won't be making laws on contentious moral issues.
With Leech, as soon as Smith hears about it, she doesn't sell him out. She tells reporters she's not concerned.
Smith believes "every candidate puts forward their best argument for why they should be the person to best represent the community."
She says Leech runs a school of people from many cultures and he has made friends with community leaders.
Smith figures her party's candidate is probably talking about his ability to "do outreach across different communities."
Rob Anderson, a Wildrose MLA in on the huddle with Leech, says their man made a mistake. He misspoke. He "slipped up and said something very silly and he shouldn't have said it and he knows that and he's apologized for it."
Anderson also mentions a PC candidate in another very multicultural Calgary riding, Muhammad Rasheed.
Rasheed is on tape saying his area is "demographic and very different" and people there want "someone like them" in the legislature.
Rasheed later says "like them" actually means "hardworking people that share the value of conservatism."
There's no apology and far less press coverage than there is of Leech.
Meanwhile, Premier Redford's HQ puts out a bulletin Tuesday afternoon to all PC candidates to zip their lips on the Leech matter.
Later in the day, no doubt with more time to get up a head of steam, Smith says the Wildrose is "the subject of a smear campaign because the current governing party is fearful of losing power."
And, if the comments of Tories flapping their gums is any indication, many in the PC ranks believe the last few days have scored them points and they could still win this thing.
One thing is certain. So far this week, Smith has to fight to be heard about the din as she goes back to what helped get her and her party this far.
She points to the target again yesterday: "The tired old, PC regime that has utterly succumbed to a culture of corruption and entitlement."
Anderson, for his part, hopes this election "hasn't devolved into the lowest common denominator."
Don't hope. It has.