Monday, February 06, 2006

At least dogs are loyal

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.

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8 comments:

JD said...

You make a lot of great points. The Liberals need to make sure that the points you raised get "hammered home". This could be the first test of Graham's leadership. Let's hope that he is up to the task. I must admit, I'm a little surprised that Harper would open himself up to negative scrutiny so soon.

Anonymous said...

The way I read your comment is that you have nothing against crossing the floor. It's the time period you have problems with, right? Well, I don't understand that logic whatsoever. Taking that approach, David Emerson had 2 years with the Liberals before deciding to cross the floor. It's kind of like getting married after your spouse dies. What is the appropiate time to wait? There is no perfect answer. I am completely against politicians crossing the floor. Unfortunately, the Liberals defined the playing field and now it's accepted practise.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Anon,

You forget the fact he ran an election two weeks ago, under the Liberal banner. That puts his motives and integrity into question. Overall though I don't have a huge issue with floor crossing, when it is done for moral reasons. That was the case with Keith and Scott. If Belinda hadn't of gone into cabinet the same case could have been made for her. But she did, so it's opportunism. As it is with David.

I am completely against politicians crossing the floor. Unfortunately, the Liberals defined the playing field and now it's accepted practise.

That's what gets me though anon. The Cons ran a campaign rallying against this kind of thing. If they hadn't, this would be a one or two day story outside of his riding, the Libs would bluster and it would die out. But they wanted to have their ethical, holier than though cake and eat it too.

I just can't buy you're rationalization. You say you're against floor crossing, but the Libs did it so it's ok? How do you square that? Do you believe only crossing the floor to the Liberals is bad, or is it just bad period?

Anonymous said...

bcer.

I have no respect for ANY poitician who crosses the floor. I think what should happen is that they sit as an independant until a by-election can be held. I was just simply pointing out that the Liberals defined the new rules and that is the new way of doing business. I am as disappointed in the Conservatives about this event as you are. However, I think we both better get used to this because I don't see it stopping anytime soon. By the way, my name is Harry. Nice having a civilized debate even though we're at opposite ends of the political landscape. Just goes to show that we're not all that different.

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Stephen Who?

On his very first day as PM, Stephen Harper showed clear signs of following in the footsteps of the bungling Joe Clark, who not only lost his luggage but succeeded in losing his bearings in Parliament as well. Like Joe, Harper seems to have forgotten that his is a minority government, not a majority one, and seems to have assumed – at great risk to his fledgling government – that the Liberals, NDP and Bloc will not oppose him and force another election for 12 to 18 months.

We shall see if that assumption is valid.

If an election is held soon, the Tories will start off with egg on their faces, due to Holier-than-thou Harper’s baffling judgment on Day One.

Why on earth did Harper harpoon his own left foot?

He did it once, with his turncoat-conversion and the Liberal into the cabinet before anyone can see it sleight of hand.

He did it twice, with his appointment of – among others – Stockwell Day to his cabinet, instead of more women, and more women it important posts. Does the other half of the population – women – not count in Stephen Who’s world?

He did it thrice, with his U-turn on an elected senate. Principles dumped for expediency?

He did it fourthly, with his appointment of a former lobbyist – and then breathtakingly wants to legislate against others being allowed to do the same.

He did it fifthly, with his introduction into Canada of the Karl Rovian doublespeak. Thanks to Stephen Who, Canadians can now also spend delightful hours parsing the speeches of politicians, to decipher just how they are being bamboozled.

What a beginning!

I wonder if he will last as long as Joe Who....

A BCer in Toronto said...

Harry, I agree the Liberals have been guilty of this too but the Liberals didn't invent this with Stronach, it's been a staple of the system for many, many years. And I wouldn't have a problem (though I'd still blow some partisan hot air, just because) were it not for the Cons campaigning against this and then doing it on day one. And I agree, it's nice to have a civilized, reasoned debate.

And curiosity I agree there certainly are some eiry paralells to 1979 so far. Just as long as Paul Martin doesn't try to recast himself in the PET role.

"I (didn't) know Pierre Trudeau. I (didn't) work with Pierre Trudeau. And you sir are no Pierre Trudeau!

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Harper hubris, or Does Harper have a tin ear?

The conventional wisdom now seems to be that Stephen Harper is a political genius, of the same ilk as Napoleon, or Churchill, or – pick your favourite. But what if Harper’s cabinet-making is not a politically astute move by at all, but simply a sign that he has a political tin ear?

After all, sometimes the past is predicator of the future: in 2004 he misread the electorate with some of his comments about the Liberals – especially Martin – and his premature triumph speeches about the West taking over. And in Parliament he has sounded a bit screechy and overly self-righteous. Then there are those stories about him being a one-man-band, who does not need a mentor because, one observer says he said, he never met anyone as smart as he is ....

So, perhaps this was just Harper being Harper, and marching to his own discordant band?

If so, wait until the second Act: gonna be a lot of fun for Libs and NDP, and a lot of buyer’s remorse by many voters in Ontario ....

And meanwhile, the Bloc will crouch in the wings, nursing its wounds, and waiting for the right time to take Harper down – when he is under a cloud of intolerance or stupidity, but before he cements himself into Quebec as Mulroney Junior. Best get rid of him soon, before he becomes a real threat to the Bloc ...

So wait for the right moment, and the ganging up by the three parties who each have good reasons for taking him out of his new digs at Sussex, and who – between them – hold the balance of power.

After all, Harper arranged a mob-lynching of Martin with all three parties deciding to put in the knife on that particular Ides of May. Having shown the way, I wonder if Harper fears that this time the other three parties will cooperate to bring him down?

Better than even chance, I think; and probably before summer ends, too.....

Maybe Harper should let those renovations take place at Sussex Drive before he moves in: might save him having to move twice, eh?

TonyGuitar said...

Anonymous Harry, Emerson can not sit as an idependant and still deliver.

As a Cp he will deliver the goods as he was getting close to getting done as a Liberal.

That will breath life back into his constituents, at least the ones that think, and they will vote him in again as a Conservative.

Blue or Red.. just getting it done properly is what counts.

When the tariff gets lifted, mills in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley ramp up more shifts and mill workers rejoice and re-elect. TG