Political campaign managers sometimes face moral dilemmas. Laschinger and Stevens describe an incident in 1986 when Laschinger was managing Stuart (Bud) Smith’s bid to succeed William Bennett as Social Credit leader and B.C. premier.
While the votes were being counted following the first ballot at the convention centre in Whistler, an organizer for William Vander Zalm approached Laschinger and asked him to meet some people. Laschinger was escorted to the basement of the centre, to the chef’s office off the kitchen, where he was introduced to two prominent Vander Zalm friends and supporters: Peter Toigo, owner of White Spot restaurants, and Ed-
gar Kaiser, head of the Bank of British Columbia. A chequebook lay on the table in front of them.
They told Laschinger that Vander Zalm was going to win (which Laschinger already knew from Martin Goldfarb’s polling). They gave him their prediction of Vander Zalm’s first-ballot vote; Laschinger told them they were 20 per cent too high (which they were). In matter-of-fact tones, they asked whether Bud Smith was going to need any help to pay his campaign expenses. Laschinger realized that Smith faced a large deficit. He also knew that he could have accepted a cheque without in any way altering the outcome of the convention, because Smith was planning to support Vander Zalm anyway. But Laschinger knew that it was better for his candidate to be broke than be compromised. Politely, he declined the offer. There was no further contact between the two campaigns. □
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