Derek Zeisman's troubles with Canada Customs will not cost the Conservatives the election, though it will finish him off in Southern Interior and hand the riding to the NDP.
But it will hurt the national campaign for a while because it leaves the party exposed to charges of hypocrisy after spending the whole campaign highlighting more significant Liberal misdeeds.
He should have stepped aside when it became clear that his injuries in December would have left him unable to campaign and to serve effectively as MP for some months after the election. Another candidate could have stepped in and the charges--failing to declare a new Mercedes and the 112 bottles of liquor (five flats of beer?)--would have been irrelevant to the campaign after that.
Zeisman lied to the party by not disclosing these customs charges. Granted, the maximum penalty includes a stiff fine and six months jail, though he wouldn't be left with a criminal record, and the likelihood of being fined more than the cost of a speeding ticket is fairly remote in these cases.
But we can't afford the perception of being no different than the Liberals when it comes to corruption. I expect, as do many of us in the party, that Zeisman will be cut loose, even though it is too late to replace him on the ballot.
Better to write off one riding than risk a dozen.