Interesting news today that David Emerson, the turncoat Liberal turned Conservative cabinet minister that decided not to let the public pass judgment on his floor-crossing by seeking re-election, has been named one of the Conservative campaign co-chairs, along with one-time Conservative bright light Bernard Lord.
The less than dynamic duo follow in the footsteps of an even less inspiring pair, John Reynolds and Michael Fortier. Reynolds, of course, went onto be a non-lobbyist and Fortier was infamously called-up to the Senate, where he remains today at last check.
I have to confess to being a little surprised at the Emerson appointment. He's always seemed more an executive than a politician...indeed, he always seemed to eschew the whole political game.
He could get into it from time to time, though. Such as the speech he gave to the convention of the Liberal Party of Canada (British Columbia) in November of 2004 (which the Vancouver Sun has handily posted on its Web site), the fall after he was first elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal MP.
For those Conservatives just getting to know Emerson the politician, the speech is informative reading.
For example, he sees the Conservatives as vulnerable in BC:
There should be no assumption of Conservative dominance in the future.
And what does David think of the Conservative Party?
The Conservative Party and NDP have a lot in common. They are both trapped and confined by ideology, an ideology that precludes many of middle-of-the-road, moderate solutions to the challenges Canada faces today. Their narrow focus shrinks their political base. They are drawn to policy extremes that divide, rather than unify. I look at the Conservative Party, and the way they have exploited negative sentiments in BC. There has been no positive vision or strategy.Wow. Anything to add about the Conservatives, David?
Are BC’s issues top of mind in Ottawa because of all those Conservative MPs? No.
Clearly, despite their numbers from BC, the leadership of the Conservative Party is more focused on Eastern Canada than ever before. ...we have a Conservative Party without a social heart...narrow, extreme, and out of step with mainstream British Columbians.
What do the Liberals stand for, and why are, er, were you one?
They want dependable health care.
They want environmental protection.
They want a good education for their kids.
They want secure jobs, and they want a local future for their kids. They want fair-minded and balanced government, that will bring people together, whether to pursue economic development or address key social concerns.
They want prudence and integrity in the way government manages taxpayers’ hard-earned money. They want us to balance the budget. They want us to invest surpluses wisely.
They have a sense of compassion for those in society who are vulnerable, through circumstances out of their control. British Columbians do not want people left behind.
They believe in equality – equality of opportunity, equality of treatment, equality under the law… they believe in social justice.
These are widely held beliefs, here in BC, and across Canada. I’m an optimistic Liberal because those are my beliefs.
And I am Liberal because those are Liberal beliefs.
Couldn't have put it better myself David.
Mr. Emerson, what did the Liberal Party do for BC?
The RAV Line, 2010 Olympics, the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Kicking Horse Pass highway upgrade, the Port of Prince Rupert… these are important priorities we are delivering on.
We have delivered on returning the GST to BC communities. And the balance of the “New Deal for Cities and Communities” will provide for positive, environmentally sustainable on our transformation where people live.
Yes, he's David Emerson, your Conservative campaign co-chair. And he's still Stephen Harper's worst nightmare.
UPDATE: Forgive me for missing this comment by David on Friday...
"I was never a Liberal," he told CBC News on Friday, during an interview in which he explained why he chose not to run again in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway.
...which makes his comments highlighted above...
"I am Liberal because those are Liberal beliefs"
...all the more interesting.
A man can change his mind, of course. But can he re-write history, even if it was all the way back in 2004?
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