Bret Michaels of the 1980s rock band Poison once lamented that “Every rose has its thorn.” For those skeptical of that notion, meet Peter Goldring, the blemish in caucus of the Conservative Party of Canada
For those not familiar with the backbenches of the Canadian Parliament, Peter Goldring, the M.P. for the riding of Edmonton East, was elected in 1997 under the banner of the Reform Party of Canada, and also sat as a member of the Canadian Alliance before joining the newly formed Conservative Party of Canada caucus in 2004, where he still sits today after yet another re-election.
Given the Conservative Party’s nomination process — specifically the rules making it rather difficult to challenge an incumbent in a nomination — Goldring, whose claim to fame in 14 years of being in office has been unsuccessfully trying to annex the Turks & Caicos islands, has been able to remain virtually unchallenged. Goldring has even managed to stack the party’s local board with personal supporters.
In a transcript of a meeting of the constituency’s electoral district association (EDA) on April 14th that Landmark Report received, Peter Goldring admitted to the termination of a Dan Johnson, a campaign worker in the 40th General Election — or, as Goldring calls it, when he “booted his ass out of the campaign” — over a blond joke the campaign worker made about Goldring’s Caucasian wife, which the M.P. said was a “racial slur.” He also called the campaign worker in question “evil” and a “dog.” Knowledge of this joke came from Goldring logging into the worker’s private email account without authorization, after using a keylogger program (a type of spyware), according to Landmark’s source. Emails from various campaign workers were printed off by an agent of Goldring (or potentially Goldring himself) as “evidence.”
Also in the transcript was a point made by a female board member (whose name has been redacted for privacy reasons) who brought up an unsolicited email allegedly sent by board member and handpicked Goldring appointee Susan Bittner, saying “No guy is worth losing your purity for, nor does God want you to be touched without His choice.” While not a comment from Goldring himself, it shows the serious lack of tact, decorum and professionalism in the way his board operates.
It is also worth noting that Peter Goldring appointed to the board a well-known Liberal Party supporter in Edmonton, Robert Noce — along with his wife — who would had access to the party’s internal support and fundraising lists. They no longer sit on the Edmonton East Conservative EDA.
A letter sent from former EDA vice president Matthew Altheim to select members of the board, which was also forwarded to Landmark Report, acknowledges that “the treatment of campaign volunteers and board members for many years has been horrendous,” adding that when the Conservative Party’s National Council declared an EDA meeting called for April 1st, 2011 to be illegitimate, Goldring opted to subvert both national council and the EDA and chair the meeting himself, where he arranged to funnel $20,000 from the EDA’s bank account to his campaign’s.
A spokesperson for Peter Goldring, authorized to speak on this issue, stated that no hacking ever occurred, nor was any spyware installed. This spokesperson said that the campaign computers were sent to be wiped after the election and the email in question was solely turned over to Goldring by the company who was erasing the hard drive.
There is no evidence that Peter Goldring has done anything illegal through the hacking of a campaign worker’s email account, or even the transfer of funds to his campaign bank account at an unapproved meeting. However, what he has done is seriously damaged the credibility of his party by operating in a way that no official body should.