Saturday, April 02, 2011

Quebec Conservative candidate's troubles are not just about him

There was a follow-up report last night on the Conservative candidate in Pierrefonds-Dollard, Agop Evereklian, and the news we learned this week from Canadian Press of the 2005 civil court judgment against him over his bad cheque writing: "Montreal Tory star Agop Evereklian lands in hot water." Guess what? Neither the national Conservative campaign nor Evereklian's campaign are speaking about it:
Evereklian declined to be interviewed, said his spokesperson Yana Lukasheh. The Star submitted questions in writing to Lukasheh, which she also refused to answer. The Star visited Evereklian’s campaign office, but staff said he was not there.

The party’s national spokespersons also did not respond to requests for comment.

The candidate’s main opponent, incumbent Liberal MP Bernard Patry, said the issue “will affect him not because he was found guilty in court, but because he’s running away from the media.”

Patry added, “If he cannot face the population and he wants to represent them, this is bad.”
The Conservative cone of silence descends. Patry is right that Evereklian's avoidance of the subject is going to hurt him. But it's also fair to raise as an issue this fairly recent court judgment that raises character questions. In the wake of the contempt non-confidence vote, where the government's non-disclosure of information was condemned and where they had a minister under fire for misleading Parliament, the fact that they're standing behind Evereklian is something voters should take a hard look at.

Evereklian's troubles are being reported in the West Island Chronicle too:
Pierrefonds-Dollard Conservative candidate Agop Evereklian is in muddy waters after firing his campaign director Giulio Maturi Wednesday. The move came after it was reported by Canadian Press (CP) that Maturi had been linked to 2009 allegations against mayoral candidate Benoît Labonté. Maturi is allaged to have tried to convince Labonté to hire four political organizers paid by private companies, a practice which is illegal.
That was an instance of Mr. Evereklian's judgment on display already. Strike one.

This is a local candidate story but it's also a national issue. It's about the choices the Stephen Harper Conservatives make. They're standing behind this candidate. And they're unacceptably not answering any questions about it. They just keep living up to that contempt verdict.