When Chris Lloyd became an official election candidate of the Conservative Party in Canada in February, there seemed to be few who doubted him. Lloyd (shown on the left in the Tumblr photo above, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper) had been engaged in the party’s local branch in Papineau in Quebec since 2011, and after being named the local electoral association’s president, Lloyd quickly rose through the ranks and was named the Conservatives’ candidate soon afterward.
“The Conservatives have not traditionally done well in Papineau, so it’s possible they were happy just to have a candidate,” CBC journalist Kate McKenna, who was part of the team that revealed Lloyd’s real identity, told WorldViews. Lloyd would have been running against prominent Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau in Papineau, and was unlikely to win.
Canadians are still confused over Lloyd’s real motivation for the fake candidacy. Since the beginning of his campaign, the artist had made both anti-Conservative and anti-Liberal remarks, which makes it hard to pin down his real political objectives.
Lloyd himself reportedly said that he had no specific political goals, according to the CBC. Some of his letters to the prime minister, published as YouTube videos, are openly critical of the Conservative government, though.
In a blog post which was published on Tuesday, Lloyd offered some vague insights into his motivation to run:
Do you really want to hear (yet again) how I believe our first-past-the-post system isn’t a true reflection of the electorate? To hear how I wanted to test the limits of free speech and explore the possibilities of voicing independent views within the confines of an electoral system that privileges dominant party ideologies? (…)
I will reiterate that I believe making art is an inherently political act – sometimes more political than we realize. Though my candidacy with the Conservative Party was short-lived I remain hopeful that this experience provides fresh insights into the nature of, and the relationship between, the personal and the political in this, the age of social media. I hope the dialogue continues.
“Lloyd himself said he wanted to highlight the separation between individual people and the government,” CBC journalist McKenna explained to WorldViews.
“He became more interested in 2011 in seeing how people actually become elected representatives and determined that it’s a party system. He says you don’t get elected unless you’re part of a party, and you don’t join a party unless you prescribe to its values. So I guess he joined the Tories to change that,” McKenna added.
“In some ways, he was a very ‘grassroots’ politician because he had to attract people to his party – so maybe for his short time as candidate, he helped achieve his goal of bringing politics closer to the people,” she said. Lloyd’s official blog does indeed show him at numerous campaign-related events, and some Canadians are treating him like a folk hero.
Unfortunately, his time with the Conservatives came to a sudden end on Tuesday when the Conservative Party’s leadership revoked Lloyd’s nomination. Lloyd has since resigned, but he apparently has more plans for the future. “My political career is not yet over,” he commented on Facebook on Tuesday.