Buckets of Data

November 26, 2005

Edmonton Journal: 26 Nov. 2005: Tories backtrack on candidate after leak

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 1:01 pm

Tories backtrack on candidate after leak

The Edmonton Journal
151 words
26 November 2005
Edmonton Journal

TORONTO – Political commentator Rachel Marsden was asked to run as a Conservative against NDP Leader Jack Layton in the federal election, but the party backed off Friday after word leaked out.

Georganne Burke, a regional organizer for the federal Conservative party, approached Marsden Thursday about running in Toronto Danforth against Deborah Coyne and Jack Layton.

Coyne, a constitutional lawyer who helped defeat the Meech Lake accord, is running for the Liberals. She is also the mother of Pierre Trudeau’s daughter, Sarah. The Toronto-Danforth race is expected to be one of the most closely watched in the country.

But Burke’s position quickly changed after she consulted Conservative advisers and was contacted by the National Post. Marsden is “too high-profile” for the race, she said.

Burke said Marsden did not respond to her e-mail invitation.


Ottawa Citizen: 26 Nov. 2005: Tories woo convicted stalker

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 1:00 pm

(See correction at bottom of this page.)

“Tories woo convicted stalker to run against NDP’s Layton: Controversial past of columnist, pundit Rachel Marsden ‘not an issue’: recruiter”
Glen McGregor
The Ottawa Citizen
26 November 2005
Ottawa Citizen

The Conservative party has invited convicted stalker and self-styled media pundit Rachel Marsden to run as a candidate in the coming election.

An organizer for the party on Thursday e-mailed Ms. Marsden to see if she would considering running against NDP leader Jack Layton and Liberal lawyer Deborah Coyne in Toronto Danforth, a riding the party admits it has little chance of winning.

The request came just 18 months after the party terminated Ms. Marsden from a job on Parliament Hill in the office of B.C. MP Gurmant Grewal.

Ms. Marsden worked as a writer and researcher in Mr. Grewal’s office using the assumed name “Elle Henderson” until the Vancouver Sun discovered her true identity and noted she was facing criminal charges for harassment.

She later suggested she had lost her job because she had written columns critical of Conservative leader Stephen Harper.

Ms. Marsden, 30, did not reply to the e-mail request to consider becoming a candidate, but the fact she was even asked is a potential embarrassment for the party on the eve of an election.

Ms. Marsden first made headlines in 1995, when she alleged Simon Fraser University swim coach Liam Donnelly had sexually harassed her. He was fired, but later won his job back after producing evidence she had sent him explicit e-mails and photographs of herself.

Ms. Marsden went on to become a conservative commentator, writing a column for the National Post and appearing as Canadian correspondent on The O’Reilly Factor, a right-wing talk show on the Fox News network. She now writes a column for the Sun chain of newspapers.

Last year, she pleaded guilty to criminally harassing Vancouver radio host Michael Morgan, then 52, after the end of a romantic relationship in 2002. She was given a conditional discharge and one-year probation.

“In the future, prospective employers will likely be concerned about her lack of judgment and her irrational response in this matter,” the judge wrote.

The Conservative Toronto region organizer, Georganne Burke, said she didn’t know much about past allegations against Ms. Marsden when she sent an e-mail asking her to run for the party.

“She has her view of it and other people have theirs, but that’s not the issue for us,” Ms. Burke said. “I don’t really care about that so much. She’s conservative and she’s entitled to run if she wants to.”

She said Ms. Marsden’s name was suggested by another party supporter and was one of four potential candidates the party approached.

“It was just a question. It didn’t mean we were going to have her as a candidate.”

Ms. Burke said the party now plans to run a lower-profile candidate who will work to build the local riding association.

Last year, lawyer Luftus Cuddy, brother of Blue Rodeo star Jim Cuddy, ran unsuccessfully for the Conservatives against Mr. Layton in the riding.

Ms. Marsden did not respond to an e-mail message requesting comment.

Photo: When she was a student at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., Rachel Marsden claimed she had been sexually harassed by the university’s swim coach. He was fired, but later won his job back when Ms. Marsden was found to have been stalking him.


A story published in the Ottawa Citizen on November 28th headlined “Tories Woo Convicted Stalker to Run Against Jack Layton” contained incorrect information. The subject of the article, Rachel Marsden, was not convicted. Ms. Marsden received a conditional discharge for criminal harassment, fulfilled the conditions of the discharge and is deemed not to have been convicted. The story also stated that Marsden was “found to have been stalking” Liam Donnelly. No such findings were ever made. Further, the article stated that Marsden was “terminated” by the Conservative party from a job on Parliament Hill. Marsden has never worked on Parliament Hill. The Citizen regrets the errors.

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