Monday November 6, 2000

CA Parachute Candidate Nancy Branscombe Severely Criticized

London CA member accuses her of “sleazy, backroom double-dealing”

LONDON, Ontario Nov 6 ( – LifeSite has rarely encountered such intense hostility directed towards a Canadian Alliance candidate as that which has developed around Nancy Branscombe. The controversy developed during her Oct. 21 failed Peterborough nomination bid and her subsequent Oct. 26 instant win of the London-North-Centre riding. The most severe criticism has come from other Alliance supporters who see her as bringing the worst of old party, power-at-any-cost politics into the Alliance.

Nancy Branscombe was not successful as the Reform candidate for Peterborough during the 1997 federal election. In response to the CLC election questionnaire, she indicated that she considered herself to be pro-choice, did not oppose the sale and listing of the abortion drug RU-486 and supported legalized doctor-assisted suicide. During that election she was also the Reform party’s organizer for 23 Ontario ridings and became known by the pro-life community for her intense social liberal views. Branscombe was one of the party chiefs who forced the removal of a reform candidate’s campaign manager simply because the manager was pro-life.

After the election she became heavily involved in the campaign for a United Alternative. During the new CA party’s leadership contest she worked on the Preston Manning campaign. After Tom Long dropped off, Branscombe aggressively pursued Tom Long supporters on the basis that Stockwell Day and his pro-life supporters had to be stopped. She has been known to boast about her successful track record in keeping pro-lifers out of the old Reform Party for the past several years.

While also a Peterborough city councilor, Branscombe recently attempted to win another federal nomination in that community for the upcoming election. The CA nomination battle was intense with Branscombe going so far as to claim just before the vote, in a bid to win votes from Eric Mann, her social conservative opponent, that known pro-life individuals endorsed her.

An anonymously published pamphlet titled “Who is Nancy Branscombe?” was mailed to some Alliance members and handed out at the nomination meeting. Among other things the pamphlet claimed:

– “Nancy states she stands for strengthening the traditional family, yet she refers to herself as a feminist and openly supports the killing of unborn children”.
– “Many members report that she has demoralized the riding association, manipulating the membership lists to ensure her control.”
– “Her only qualification is old party-line backroom politics. A philosophy diametrically opposed to the idea of grassroots democracy”.
– “Nancy was publicly rebuked by former leader Preston Manning for her lie on a national TV call-in show, where she told the Canadian public that she was Betty from London”.
– “She has repeatedly dishonoured herself, the people she represents and her party with crude, off-colour comments”.

In the end Branscombe lost the October 21 nomination by a wide margin of 970 to 555. This clear rejection by Alliance members didn’t faze her a bit. On October 23 she told a Peterborough Examiner reporter that “she had no concrete plans for the future other than working on the Alliance’s national campaign”. Missing was the fact, reports the Examiner, that she had filed her nomination papers for a London riding candidacy earlier that day.

A few days later she was incredibly – in possession of the nomination of the London North riding, over the dumbfounded objections of some local Alliance members. Branscombe’s new husband, Alliance national co-president and Londoner Ken Kalopsis, obviously had a great deal to do with this miracle of transforming Branscombe into a suddenly winning candidate. The Nov. 1 London Free Press reported that Alliance supporter Florence “Boyd-Graham said it was obvious at the Oct. 26 nomination meeting. . . the party machinery backed winning candidate Nancy Branscombe. ‘She was just steamrolled in there. It was unbelievable,’ she said.” The Free Press also quoted London Party member Larry Leitch as saying “It is the sleazy, backroom double-dealing that I thought our party was against. My wife and I were disgusted”.

The Peterborough Examiner ran a very hard-hitting opinion piece on Nov. 1 about the whole messy saga of its ex-councillor, losing CA nominee and now instant London CA nomination winner. The article begins with “Political vagabond?. . . carpetbagger?. . . chameleon?. . . mercenary?” It appears that the Examiner is not sorry to see Nancy out of their community.

For the complete Peterborough Examiner article see…

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