A new Tory star?

Celebrated diplomat Chris Alexander may take a run in Ontario


A new Tory star?The star candidates who are trotted out before federal elections tend to have worked in one of several typical careers: lawyer, professor, business executive. But the Conservatives just might have a new recruit for a campaign this fall—or whenever the next election comes—whose resumé reads more like an adventure story.

Chris Alexander is arguably the most celebrated Canadian diplomat of recent years. Just 34 years old when he took over as Canada’s ambassador to war-torn Afghanistan in 2003, his youth, idealism, and a certain air of derring-do have attracted admiring media attention. Alexander went on to become the UN secretary-general’s deputy special representative in Afghanistan, spending six years in the country before coming home recently with his new wife, former Danish army officer Hedvig Boserup.

In an email exchange, Alexander said it would be “premature” to announce anything about his plans right now. However, Adrian Lambert, chief financial officer for the Conservative association in Ajax-Pickering, a riding just east of Toronto, said Alexander has visited the constituency several times and is expected to win the Tory nomination there without a fight. “He certainly has quite a lot to offer,” Lambert said, “as a candidate, as an MP, and one day, as a minister.”

But Alexander will need to get elected first. The riding is currently held by Liberal MP Mark Holland, who won by 3,200 votes in 2008. That was way down from his 8,200-vote victory in 2006, but he remains a formidable incumbent. Holland is a scrappy hometown Pickering boy steeped in local politics. The contrast with Alexander—Toronto-born, Oxford-educated, at home in Kabul and Kandahar—couldn’t be sharper, making the potential battle between them definitely one worth watching.

RELATED: Envoy extraordinary: Amidst the death threats, Chris Alexander tries to fix the problems of Afghanistan (June, 2006)


A new Tory star?

  1. Will be a hard riding for Chris to win, but I wish him all the best.

  2. "his youth, idealism, and a certain air of derring-do have attracted admiring media attention."

    Really? Despite the gush, I've never heard of him before now.

    • Maybe it's because you spend all your time on lib-left slated comments boards.

    • Neither had I. I saw him on the National last night. Crazy, but my feminine intuition kicked in as soon as the interview started. I immediately thought I'd never trust this guy. Good looking, but evasive & sleazy. Following the interview it turns out he'll be running for the cons.

  3. Alexander's also been called a one-trick pony.

    • It's true. He's useless for anything except senior UN positions in war-shattered countries. Over to you, Paul Simon:

      He's a one trick pony
      He either fails or he succeeds
      He gives his testimony
      Then he relaxes in the weeds
      Hes got one trick to last a lifetime
      But that's all a pony needs
      (that's all he needs)
      He looks so easy
      He looks so clean
      He moves like God's
      Immaculate machine
      He makes me think about
      All of these extra movements I make
      And all of this herky-jerky motion
      And the bag of tricks it takes
      To get me through my working day

      One-trick pony

  4. At first glance of the photo I thought it was Liberal strategist – Steve McKinnon with bleached hair.

    They sure look alike.

  5. He's not in it for you. He's just in it for himself.

    Chris Alexander. Just visiting.

    • Wow.

      And what did he ever do to you for that response Dave?

      The guy is educated, accomplished and was outside of the country representing Canada in a difficult part of the world and did it extremely well. Big difference between Mr. Alexander and Mr. Ignatieff.

      Can't see that through the trees?

  6. Sorry I follow politics and I've never heard of this guy and neither has the general public. Wouldn't say he's a star in any way, just another Jo blow

  7. This guy will be fascinating to watch and see if he can breakout of the diplomatic mode and use those talents taking the fight to the oppostion! I know I will be watching him.

  8. Yes, because what this government needs is less diplomacy between the parties and more street-fighting.

    Seriously? Here I am hoping that he might be a reasonable alternative to Harper so that we can see Conservatives as opposed to Reformists move forward.

    • God I hope not!

      • Heh. I always did think that this supposed "uniting" of the right was pretty thinly held, but until now I haven't seen much evidence one way or the other. Nice to see my instincts may be correct.

  9. Interesting that he was appointed in 2003 and he's coming home to be a Conservative.

    • Most diplomatic postings are made by the bureaucracy, not by politicians.

  10. The people of Ajax-Pickering will rejoice at the opportunity to vote for a charismatic and hard-working man and be glad to get rid of the bottom-feeder named Holland.

  11. "_______ is a scrappy hometown Pickering boy steeped in local politics. The contrast with _______—Toronto-born, Oxford-educated, at home in Kabul and Kandahar—couldn't be sharper, making the potential battle between them definitely one worth watching."

    Curious: I think 99% of people would've reversed the roles of who's the Tory and who's the Grit if the names were left out.

  12. I guess Mr Alexander is not ashamed when he goes abroad,
    so fits better in the Conservative Party.

  13. Oxford? Abroad? Hey, he's just visiting. And, he's got to be one of those nasty elitists. Damn, he's educated – not what Cons like.

    Hmmmm……will he take orders from Harper, jump when told to and only speak PM approved rhetoric?

  14. He went to Oxford?? He left Canada? Outrageous, he cannot be a Conservative, yet alone cannot run for them.
    He will lose.

  15. Good.I heard the libbies were trying to get him, he chose a winning team.

  16. I met Chris Alexander at the Afghan Independence Day event in Toronto over the weekend and was deeply impressed with his sincere style of relating to others. Quietly confident, unassuming, and very gentle, I noticed the Afghani's absolutely adore him.
    Very refreshing to see a genuine individual in politics!