Way back in March there was a weird scandal where some Edmonton PC candidate hopefuls were pushed out by the party under bizarre circumstances. One of them, former Wildrose candidate Don Martin, tried to go nuclear with what had happened to him. It ended up being a minor footnote.
When far-left media outlet Metro got a hold of some text messages where Jamie Lall was being told by PC executive Kelley Charlebois that he "wasn't wanted" as a candidate in Chestermere. Days earlier Jonathon Denis (the Justice Minister) had been texting Lall warning him that he was being setup, as the PCs hired a private detective to dig into Lall's life.
The story instantly reminded me (and, oddly, very few others) of the Don Martin episode. For one, the PCs cryptically responded with "Lall knows why he was disqualified". Contrast this with the story of Don Martin.
Martin doesn't disclose what that misconduct is: either he doesn't know, which means Charlebois is probably taking action on misconduct that didn't happen; he does know, which means Charlebois is taking action on misconduct that Martin is hoping the PC Party isn't too keen on disclosing publicly; or Don Martin is guilty of misconduct but he doesn't realize that he did it, either a disagreement over what the misconduct is or misconduct done by members of his campaign team without his knowledge.Somebodyy (we still don't know who) apparently signed a sworn affidavit that says why Don Martin was disqualified (we still don't know what specifically it said).
Unlike with Don Martin, though, the PCs were quick to get it out in the media swarm that they had a really really really really good reason for disqualifying Lall. Apparently Lall had been the subject of a restraining order in 2007, though even after this came out Lall said he was unaware of the reason behind the PC decision to disallow him. It paints a fairly damning picture of Lall, at the very least they gave a reason to disqualify him, though it's important to note that having a restraining order filed against you doesn't always mean you're actually guilty of misconduct (though the Letterman case is a U.S. one, restraining orders by their nature require action before accusations can be proven).
It's hard to say if Lall was told the reasons or not, but again the contrast is interesting. Both Don Martin and Jamie Lall were disqualified, both are publicly stating they don't know why, the party alluded to misconduct that wasn't detailed out, but only in the case of Lall was there an external piece of information (the restraining order, which the PCs claim Lall tried to cover up) for the CBC to latch onto. Lall was being warned by no less than the Justice Minister (one who, it's worth noting, is no longer Justice Minister and has his own domestic squabbles now before the courts) that it was all just a setup, a way of forcing Lall out and parachuting the party's ideal candidate (former Wildrose MLA Brian McAllister) in. That matches fairly well with the "there is no misconduct" scenario with Don Martin, where it's just a Kelley Charbois inspired witch hunt.
While we still don't know why the PCs disallowed Martin (or confirmed why they disallowed Lall) there's certainly enough evidence at this point to say that the party's nomination process in broken. Perhaps instead of directing the attention of private detectives to the personal backstories of candidate hopefuls, Jim Prentice would have been advised instead to have them look at the PC party executives and how they run nomination battles.
In fact, considering how the PCs are sitting in the polls, Prentice must really really really regret calling this election now. There's some uncertainty what role the big guy himself has played in this whole sordid affair, but surely he must have known or at least heard the stories about the PCs having a less-than-stellar record with their open candidate selection process. Sure sure, that same process put him in the chair, and I don't think the PCs executives weren't elated to have Prentice be "the guy", but the sheer margin of his win over McIver and Lukaszuk made it clear that it wasn't a mistake making him leader. Just imagine an alternative universe where, instead of violating the fixed election law, Prentice instead dedicates himself in the summer of 2015 of putting his house in order and cleaning up the party nomination process. Think about the PR boosts he could get throughout the rest of the year building up to the next election when he declares all ridings open, stops first to cleanse the top executives, gets tough on those who tried to arrange to get "their" people put in place through shady dealings, and then has some high profile firings as he does to the Alberta PCs what Sarah Palin did to the Alaska Republicans.
Instead, Prentice looks to do what even Stelmach and Redford couldn't: obliterate the Alberta PCs through a thousand cuts of shady dealings, from Don Martin to Jamie Lall.