What else can I add about the David Emerson affair that hasn't been said? Still, I'll add my two cents before moving on to other things.
I have no problem with people crossing the floor per se. It is an established part of our Parliamentary system. While candidates run for parties and people may vote more for the party than the person, the fact remains under our system the person is elected, not the party. That's something that could change if we ever go to one of the proportional ballot/single transferable vote models being discussed. Hell, that option may begin to gain more favour now.
What’s different with Emerson is he crossed less than two weeks after bring elected. If he supposedly had issues with the Liberals (he didn’t, that’s nonsense) he shouldn’t have ran for re-election under their banner. I do understand that he did think his Martin PMO imposed ministerial staffers were useless dicks though (you know who you are boys). For what it's worth, so do I. I'm still a Liberal though.
I do have a problem with him going straight into cabinet. He should have sat on the backbenches for a period of time. That is that Scott Brison did, and Keith Martin sat as an independent and ran for re-election before being appointed a parliamentary secretary. What about Belinda Stronach, you say? It pissed me off that she went straight into cabinet too. Crossing the floor, fine, but she should not have come straight into cabinet. I wasn’t blogging then so you’ll have to take my word for it, but I said it was wrong then and I say it’s wrong now.
While I think going straight into cabinet is wrong, it does happen and it is permitted under our Parliamentary system. And crossing the floor less than two weeks after being elected is dishonest and low, but again there is ample precedent. I would get over it, as would most Canadians…
…were it not for the hypocrisy of the Conservative Party here. They ran against this very thing just two weeks ago. Harper said he wouldn’t let floor crossers into his cabinet. The CPC went ape-shit when Stronach crossed over. He ran on a platform of accountability, integrity and doing things differently and he proved it to be a bald faced lie his first minutes on the job. Why is this different from Stronach? You told Canadians you would never do this sort of thing, that's why!
That accountability package, doing things differently, ethical government, that was a major part of his election victory. That was his key differentiator with the voters. He told them “I’m not scary anymore. I’ll give you the same policies as the Liberals, but without the unethical behaviour. So throw the bums out and vote for honest government.”
How many seats would the Conservatives have won if Canadians knew the following about Stephen Harper:
1) He dodged questioning by the ethics commissioner.
2) He would lure a Liberal across the floor with a cabinet post.
3) He would appoint his campaign co-chair to the Senate and give him an important cabinet post.
4) He would ignore the spirit of his lobbying reform package by appointing a former defence industry lobbyist as his Minister of National Defence.
The CPC perpetrated a fraud upon the people of Canada. I suspect if all this was known before e-day we may have seen the swearing-in of another minority Liberal cabinet today under Paul Martin. You know, when I think of it that way thanks for being so dishonest Stephen, we needed a time-out. And with the way you’re going so far, it won’t last too long.
While many Conservatives are trying to spin the unspinnable, a great many of the Blogging Tories are rightily outraged too and are taking Harper to task, much to their credit. I’m glad Cons like Political Staples and Wonder Woman, both of whom I met at the recent Toronto Blogstravaganza and found to be intelligent and reasonable, along with quite a few others, have the principles and the courage of their convictions to recognize improper behaviour, even when it happens within their own party. Truth to power is the cornerstone of democracy, and it’s something all parties have been lacking to some degree in recent times.
Many are now calling for Emerson to resign and seek re-election. Decision time Stephen. You should take the mulligan, because this isn’t the kind of thing people forget. Trust me, we won’t let them.
As an aside, I think apointing his crony to the Senate and O'Connor as defence minister is even worse than the Emerson affair, and I've heard of another development on the lobbying front that puts further lie to Harper's promise to do things differently.
But more on that tomorrow. There's a Canucks game on. Priorities, you know.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers