If anyone can afford to stay on the high ground, politically speaking, it should be the United Conservative Party. It leads the polls and appears likely to win next spring’s election. So it was disappointing to see the new UCP candidate go for the low blow at his first opportunity.

The occasion was the pro-pipeline rally on Jan. 6 in Slave Lake. It was quite a positive event for the most part, which reflects well on the organizers and the community. Being ‘for’ something is what it’s about, after all. Sending a message of community support for the oil and gas industry, and the pipelines that are needed to bring it back into prosperity.

Pat Rehn has the solid pro-business credentials that fit into that ethos. All to the good. And, you would think, more than enough to endear him to the people in the room. But no, he had to stoop immediately to an attempt to make incumbent MLA Danielle Larivee look bad by her absence. He didn’t say it in so many words, but the implication was clear: ‘She doesn’t care about you.’

This is nonsense and Rehn knows it. But what he also knows is the NDP – if not Larivee herself – misses no opportunity to paint the UCP as closet Nazis. ‘The left is vicious!’ said one UCP guy to The Leader not long ago, after a candidate was forced to withdraw because of something he had posted.

This stuff is not new; but it would be such a relief to see a candidate or a party that would simply refuse to engage in dirty tactics.

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