The numbers game, as run by organized crime across the U.S., throughout the 20th Century, never really got a foothold in Canada. It looks like it has finally come today under the auspices of the conservative party of Canada. They have put together a numbers game that can outdo anything the Mafia dreamed up in the U.S. and could even compete with Lotto Max. The only difference is that the players pay substantially for the right to sell tickets and don’t even get a commission on their sales. It is called a leadership contest.
As an organizer of major events for a political party, I often started the process with a sit-down with the financial head of the party to discuss budgets and anticipated revenues. And while we never called it ‘profit,’ funds left over for the party’s election coffers were a major objective every time. And it was always serious.
I will never forget one time at a convention at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, I very publicly ejected the then mayor of Toronto, my friend, Phil Givens, and made him pay the convention fee. Phil and I had not pre-planned it, but it made the point that everyone pays. Phil was a good sport and we had a good laugh about it later when I also got him to buy my lunch at Toronto’s Island Yacht Club (IYC).
But I guess we have been out-gunned by the conservatives these days. They have turned leadership contests into a very large profit-making organization. They strictly vet all candidates, make them pay sizeable amounts for the right to be in the running, demand a cut of the donations the candidates get to pay for their campaigns and then they keep all the membership fees for the temporary conservatives the candidates sign up for the voting. This is a multimillion-dollar operation.
Mind you, the conservatives seem to be getting more practice these days. No doubt many of those organizers were very surprised when the candidates this time brought in more than $6.5 million in fees for new members. The party is going to need lots of that money to meet its September deadline for announcing the winner.
Like the Mafia bosses of old, the conservative organizing group has a way to keep up the suspense. They weight all the memberships to a maximum of 100 points per electoral district. Pierre Poilievre can chew his nails until September.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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