Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Elmhirst on Emerson

FYI, letter to LPC(BC) members from president Jamie Elmhirst on David Emerson's defection:

Dear Fellow Liberals:

was a difficult and disappointing day for Liberals in BC. David Emerson’s decision to cross the floor and join the Harper government is a loss to our party and a shock and disappointment to all of us on a personal level. David served British Columbia well as the Minister of Industry and co-Senior Minister for BC with Jack Austin. I am sure he will continue to do so in his new capacity.

That won’t come as any real solace to the hundreds of people who gave money and – much more importantly – their time to help re-elect him as a Liberal in Vancouver-Kingsway. It won’t come as much of a solace to the 82% of his constituents who voted for a party other than the Conservatives just last month. It’s those folks that I feel the worst for. I know staff who worked for David and who feel very hurt by his decision. My heart goes out to them.

But the Liberal Party of Canada is bigger and more enduring than any one member. We will continue to attract superb people to run for us, just as we did in this last election. As a big tent party of centre, we must continue to reach out to talented British Columbians to join with us and work with us. Our future success lies in having the confidence to reach out and attract the very best people we can to join the party, volunteer in the party and run for the party.

By accepting David Emerson into his Cabinet and by appointing Michael Fortier to both the Senate and Cabinet, Stephen Harper proved himself a hypocrite
yesterday. Stephen Harper condemned those who were uncomfortable with his extreme right-wing views and crossed the floor. He promised that Senators would be elected, not appointed. He proved yesterday that he isn’t a man of his word. He should insist that a by-election be held to give voice to the voters of Vancouver-Kingsway. However, that won’t happen unless the public demands it. I hope they do.

Stephen Harper’s honeymoon came to a crashing halt
yesterday and I believe that David Emerson – a man who I admired – will come to regret his decision in the weeks and months ahead.

If you wish to contact David Emerson and express your views about his decision, his constituency office number is 604-775-6263 and his email address is emersd@parl.gc.ca.


Jamie Elmhirst, President

Liberal Party of Canada (BC)

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Anonymous said...

Wow, Emerson is a hypocrite? Does the demand for a by-election extend to an apology for not calling one when Stronach crossed? Yeah, that's different . . .

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, here come the snide remarks. Crossing the floor at anytime is allowed. Its not illegal....the NDP tried to pass a motion if the house last year, but, was defeated by the Liberals and most CPC...so both party's get what's coming to them....Belinda was wrong and now so is Emmerson...but the funny part of all this is the manner in which Mr. Harper has punched back...who would have thought that the robot in the blue suit had it in him?? If Liberals thought this guy was scary before then you aint seen nothin yet...this was personal to Harper and he got his pound of flesh...he knows know one will remember this in 2 years...boys and girls...this guy knows how to play the game...and, this little stunt is how Liberals stayed in power for so long...show your a leader by not caring what the press has to say...this was so Trudeau-esk....

Jeff said...

No anon, read it again. He said "Stephen Harper proved himself a hypocrite yesterday."

noone said...

Belinda gave it time. She tried to work for a year. Emerson clearly duped the people who voted for him. Just two weeks since election and he bails? That's a serious, serious act that hopefully will backfire on him. In the past, others who have crossed had a reason at least. In Emerson's case, it's pure ambition, along with disregard and disrespect for Canadians. That won't be forgotten anytime soon, by the people in his party or the rest of Canada.

As for Harper getting 'personal', that's exactly what I've been waiting for because that very trait will be his downfall. His arrogance is purely based in personal ego gratification. It has nothing to do with knowing what is good for Canada or Canadians. And that's why he could never compare to Trudeau. Pierre Trudeau acted FOR Canada and Canadians. Ask Trudeau if he loved Canada and it was clear he did. In his actions, his words, all of it. Ask Harper...well he has to think a bit.

This is just the beginning of the real Harper peeking out. Canadians are watching him. He won't get off easily for it.

Anonymous said...

Emerson is not in the same category as Stronach or Brison.

He is in the category of Gurmant Grewal.

Both Brison and Stronach claimed a principle when they crossed.

Emerson is only about power. No principle.

I can't believe he can look at himself in the mirror. There is absolutely no way he could ever get reelected. Never. Never. Never.

Remember that Brison and Belinda actually had Liberals to vote for them after they crossed the floor.

There are no Conservatives to vote for Emerson in Kingsway.

What a dishonourable man.

Anonymous said...

Oh Carrie please!!!! I thought the election was over and no one had to answer the stupid question of "do you love Canada"....you dont honestly think that people like Harper and Manning are any different than Martin, Chretian or Trudeau do you?? If you do then I feel very bad for you!! Ego is what drives every great person in politics, without it the person next to them will eat them alive...and to think that only Liberals want whats best for Canada is truely arrogant...you gotta read Kinsella more...there are millions of Canadians who wouldnt walk across the street to shake Trudeau's hand...are they wrong to feel that way?? I think Trudeau was one of the greatest PM's we will ever had..and he was ruthless, an egotist, short tempered and treated back benchers like the plague...and would play games like the one Harper is playing right now, to toy with the opposition, the press and the voters...its something the Liberals are not used to seeing from a Conservative lately...playing them at their own game. You gotta loose all that hate inside you Carrie...it clouds your reasoning....and it makes you look like a bit of a racist...and your probably not.

Jeff said...

Curiositykilledthecat, please don't cut and paste the same long post into multiple threads. Thanks.

Scotian said...


You are missing the point. Emerson was willing to prostitute his skills and his seat that he just won as a Liberal two weeks before he became a member of the first ever CPC government. He ran as a Liberal and won as a Liberal in one of the ridings least favourable for the CPC in all of Canada. His rationale for switching is that he ran as a non partisan Cabinet Minister despite all of his attacks on the CPC and Harper as unfit to govern for the preceding eight weeks. That and he feels he can do more for his constituents in Cabinet than outside. In other words he switched for the sake of retaining power he lost when the voters spoke two weeks earlier. There is absolutely no principle involved here, purely a desire for power drove this decision.

Then there is Harper's willingness to buy this seat/MP with a Cabinet position, the very thing he decried when Stronach crossed into the Cabinet. The problem isn't just crossing the floor right after an election which while legal is hardly moral or ethical, it is that he went straight into Cabinet which given his stated reasons for switching was clearly the quid pro quo for his moving to the CPC side of the House. That could be reasonably described as Harper bribing this man to get his seat in a minority Parliament where every seat makes a major impact. Not exactly the picture of ethics, good government, or any of those things Harper promised Canadians the CPC and he would be trustworthy about.

You can try to defend this all you want, it is sleaze, expediency, and worst of all corruption in the name of power, pure and simple. Emerson's qualification versus Stronach's are irrelevant, no one is questioning his qualifications, what they are questioning is his integrity, ethics, and moral center and with excellent reason/cause. On those grounds there is nothing favourable that can be said about this situation. Here is a question for you, when is the last time a government changed hands in the Parliament of Canada where a Cabinet Minister of the outgoing party/government was sworn in/retained after crossing the floor to be a member of the first Cabinet of the incoming party/government? While I suspect you can find many cases of floor crossing, and even a few into Cabinet, I rather doubt you will find too many examples of what Emerson just accomplished, if there are any at all.

Anonymous said...

Scotian: I have never tried to defend it...never...I think as a CPC it sucks...it angers me and dont think for one minute that this little stunt is the same thing I hated about Liberals....it just seems to me that to retain power the PM must tick off people that he knows will still support him...the BC premier has stated that this is a good move for BC...the Forestry Workers Union of BC has endorsed Mr Emmerson and supports Mr Harper on this...La Press in Montreal has also endorsed both moves...BC and Montreal in Harpers pockets....when you cross the floor to sit as another member of parliament without first being an independant I think. as you have said that you have prostituted your skills for power...no exception, both Belinda and Brison knew the party's platforms and stance's...the grass was greener, what Mr. Emmerson did was probably worse...but all 3 are dinks, if you ask me...but my point is...that for the very first time in 15 years, a Conservative Leader and PM is playing politics on the same moral and ethical level as Liberals...you dont buy time and space in hockey without throwing the odd elbow...and you dont stay in power in politics by playing clean when everyone else isnt...it sucks but its the truth.....and Liberals now know how Conservatives have felt for the last 5 years....but...now Conservatives will know what its like trying to defend the undefencable....no party can take the moral high ground now...its an even playing field....and thats my 2 cents.

Jeff said...

the Forestry Workers Union of BC has endorsed Mr Emmerson and supports Mr Harper on this...La Press in Montreal has also endorsed both moves...BC and Montreal in Harpers pockets

Wow, your logic wows me.

Anonymous said...

BC'er: Why would you assume this is my logic...I just repeated what had already been said thats all...this was nothing more than a punch to the head of Liberals, and appeasing BC and Montreal, and he succeeded....love him or hate him you gotta love that move...and all the cries and moans of foul play dont matter now do they....it will be up to the voters to remember...they werent to pissed at Belinda now were they?? So the next move is a Liberal move...and the lack of concern by Mr. Graham shows me that this was a kick in the head...but I have faith in the Liberal party...the next move will be a dilly.

Jeff said...

Why would you assume this is my logic

Because you posted it. It seemed like a logical supposition on my part. If I erred, my bad.

I disagree with your though that this will blow over, and people won't remember. Many differences between Emerson and Stronach have already been noted in this thread and elsewhere, but here's another:

People expect this from the Liberals, but the Conservatives ran against this very thing. They ran on being different, on not being like those bad Liberals. Many swing voters liked Liberal policies but had had enough of the Liberals. Harper smartly recognized this by moving to the centre and running on it's time for a change, for honest government, a different way of goverment. That resonated with many Canadians, so they gave him a shot.

Yes, Liberals acceped floor crossers. But you can't use "the Liberals did it too" as an excuse when your campaign was all about "we'll be different from the Liberals. I can't put it any more simply then that.

People will remember. Take away that "we're different" selling point and the next campaign will be very different indeed.

As for Graham's muted response the oldest rule in politics is when you're opponent is shooting himself in the foot just shut-up and let him.

Anonymous said...

I posted what I thought was Harpers logic...so you very bad!!
Trudeau..."Clarke will impliment a gas tax...6 months after being elected Trudeau impliments the same tax...gets re-elected. Chretian.." I will scrap the GST"...4 years later gets another majority...Mcguinty.." I will not raise your tax's, but I will not lower them"...3 months later a 600$ new tax on each taxpayer....I'm not sure what part of history everyone is missing....get the big lie out of the way early in your mandate, impliment your policy...then hand out all the goodies 2 months before election...its tried and its true.
VOTERS DONT REMEMBER. You do, but you are in the minority...which has been my point all along...that its very surprising to find a Conservative who knows what works and what doesnt!!! I'm just stating the obvious....if it doesnt work then Liberals will have a majority in 2 years...but if Manley, Mckenna and Tobin all thought that they could run for the Liberal leadership and then be PM in 2 years, they would have swam across Halifax Harbour with one hand tied behind their backs for it...I would find it hard for anyone to disagree with that.

Jeff said...

We'll agree to disagree then gwilliamjr, and find out who was right in 18 months, give or take.

As for Manley, McKenna and Tobin (none of whom would have been my choice, btw) after Harper's first few days I wouldn't be surprised if they're kicking themselves right now.

Anonymous said...

Sounds fair to me. I check out your blog and Calgarygrit alot so I'll still be here to annoy one and all...Gerard Kennedy..if I had a vote thats where I would put my checkmark....and dont be surprised if Manley is named our Ambassador to the US...its not as far out there as some people think...think of the irony..Manley and Emmerson working together on softwood issues...for Harper!!

Anonymous said...

Harper’s One-Man-Band, and Pretzel Tories.

So, a little time has passed, and Harper’s daring moves to impress the electorate with his political acumen have now sunk in a bit. Reaction across the country to his cabinet appointments – and abandonment of principles espoused during the election – have varied from sheer disbelief, to shock, to amusement. Never has a Canadian politician fallen so far so fast. Usually it takes time for power to corrupt, but Mr. Harper is a man in a hurry.

Many Tories have had to swallow their tongues and bend themselves into pretzels defending the indefensible. Some MPs have said they fear going back to their ridings because they will have to explain to their supporters how the Harper crew did a sudden U-turn on the accountability issue, which, after all, was the Tory strong point in the election. Harper ran as Mr. Clean, and painted Martin as Mr. Corruption at every opportunity he had.

Even the rightwing press is stunned and disappointed.

Examples of press reaction:

The Vancouver Sun:

“"I expected some of the superficial criticism I've seen," Mr. Harper told The Vancouver Sun in an interview. "But I think once people sit back and reflect, they'll understand that this is in the best interests of not just British Columbia but frankly of good government." Mr. Harper referred to his statements on Monday, when he said he recruited Mr. Emerson to Cabinet to give Vancouver -- which didn't elect a Tory MP in five city ridings -- a voice in Cabinet. He used the same rationale to explain why he appointed Tory national campaign co-chairman Michael Fortier, a Montreal businessman, to the Senate and as Minister of Public Works. Montreal, like Vancouver, did not elect a government MP. "I think I was clear what I did and why I did it," Mr. Harper said yesterday.

The Calgary Sun – Roy Clancy:

“Stephen Harper must be breathing a sigh of relief today. Just minutes after being sworn in as prime minister, he relieved himself of one of the biggest burdens he had carried into the job. No longer must he live up to the impossible standard of political purity and ethical integrity saddled upon him by a naive electorate. ...But as widespread moans of anger illustrate, many Canadians took Harper seriously when he promised Monday to "begin a new chapter for Canada." No wonder they were disappointed when they learned within moments that this new chapter looks a lot like the old one. ...Harper's pragmatic moves may not have violated the letter of his promises to change the way government is run, but they shattered the spirit. .... Monday's manoeuvres quickly lowered the bar when it comes to public expectations of this new regime.“

The Calgary Sun - Rick Bell:

“See the Tories wriggle. Wriggle, Tories, wriggle. Ah yes, one party's turncoat is another party's principled politician. No anger now. No demands to step down and face the voters now. No nasty name-calling now. No sympathy for the poor electors of the riding of the quisling now. ... The trouble with talking about the moral high ground is you actually have to walk on it or, like the kid standing by the broken window after throwing the snowball, insist without shame you've done nothing wrong. ... So the rationalizations flow, the lame explanations are exhaled into the hot air and only those who have drunk the Conservative Kool-Aid will follow as good old ideological ants.”

So, what lessons can be taken from Harper’s first exercise of Prime Ministerial power? Here are a few for you to ponder:

• Just as it is unfair to accuse every Republican of having the same moral vacuity that President Bush has displayed, so too is it unfair to say that all Conservatives – and all voters who voted for the Tories – lack good moral and political judgment. It is very clear that there are a lot of people who voted Tory because they sincerely believed that it was time for the Liberals to mend their house, and for another party to bring in some anti-corruption measures. These people still have high standards; they are as bewildered by the events of this week as others are.

• Harper obviously believes he is above trifling things like having to take the feelings of others into consideration. This exercise of Prime Ministerial power shows that he will think things through – apparently mostly on his own – and then decide on the best way forward. If he explains his thought process, it is obvious to him that voters will then understand why he is right, and fall into line. There is a word for this: paternalism. Harper shows clear signs of seeing himself as the Big Wise Daddy of Canadian politics. His use of the word “superficial” to describe the reaction of others to his crass abandonment of some of the major planks of his election platform illustrates this very clearly.

• Harper is focused on winning a majority in the next election, to happen within 18 months. Everything he will do or say is geared to that. If lesser mortals within his own party do not understand this, that is their problem. They must suck it up and stay in line. Big Daddy knows best.

• Harper does not believe in a democratic party for the Tory government. It is his way or the highway (witness Stronach). This is perhaps the most worrisome aspect for many Tories: did they realize they were electing a dictator rather than the leader of a parliamentary party fashioned along the lines of a Westminster democracy? How many more decisions will be made by The Leader, and rammed down the throats of the caucus? And how can Canadians expect such decisions to be the best, if they are not tested by vigorous debate within the governing party before being made?

If Harper continues in the same vein for the next 12 months, expect him to join the ranks of the Clarks, Campbells and Martins as a short-lived blip on the Canadian political firmament.

Anonymous said...

You can vent all you want CCat..but it doesnt change any of the facts...you may hate the guy and everything he stands for, but, he is still the guy that merged the 2 party's into one, he's still the guy that convinced Mckay to be 2nd fiddle for the sake of the Party, you dont do all this without a high level of political smarts, you may want to kick his ass down the street back into the ditch where he came from, but, he's not after your vote, cuz he knows no matter what he does he'll never get your vote...Emmerson may never be allowed in his riding again, but, the endorsements from the BC premier, the Union of Forestry Workers and La Presse in Montreal just goes to prove what I have been trying unsuccessfuly to say....go back to wanting to pitchfork him in the eye for all I care...but it doesnt change the fact that this was thought out, and that this will go away.

Budd Campbell said...

The fraud here is the entire Liberal Party and it's 'vote strategic' BS, along with it's long acknowledged tradition of running from the left and governing from the right.

By exposing the fundamentally silly nature of this cosmetic fraud, that consists of pretending to make a large issue of the small distinction between Red and Blue paint jobs, Emerson has earned the enmity and ire of all who play the Red/Blue deception game. Emerson is being punished and abused not for telling little white lies during the campaign, for for telling the basic truth after the election.

The Red partisans in particular cannot stand having their trade secrets exposed to the voters, especially since they are now broke and out of power. They have to, pardon the expression, fight like blue blazes to place all the of the blame for insincerity on Emerson's personal shoulders, lest it spread out and cover the entire Liberal Party. They know better than anyone that all Emerson did was repeat the national Liberal vote strategic scam line in his riding. Now that he has dropped that and admitted that it doesn't matter to him which pro-business party he's in, well, that's a big problem for all the Red partisans, so they have to go after him big time.

Maybe the Liberals should send Belinda Stronach, Scott Brison, and Keith Martin into the riding to do some heavy organizing, eh?

Scotian said...

And the lame defences for unethical conduct continues. Now it is proof of Liberal misconduct for calling for strategic voting during the election campaign. Yes, I can see how that forced PM Harper to buy a Liberal Cabinet Minister with a Cabinet seat in his Cabinet, yes indeedy. The spin is getting more and more desperate to somehow make this less of a controvery than it has been, and deservedly so, since the outset. It must really suck being a CPC defender of this corruption on the first day fo the first CPC government ever.

Anonymous said...

I got your back Bud..but i gotta agree with scotian here...I dont get that logic at all...Emmerson is an egotistical power vacumn...I dont think there's any debate on that...I think he's being used by an egotistical Conservative leader and I dont think he knows it....but I still dont get the spin.

Budd Campbell said...

Face reality, there simply is not a big issue here. He ran Liberal, then when that ticket lost, turned Conservative.

But what's the difference in policy terms? Hardly anything, so there is no issue in terms of deceiving the voters, except insofar as voters have been conditioned and have come to accept that they have some kind of silly-bugger right to get all emotional and dewey eyed over arbitrary, cosmetic distinctions as between Red and Blue packaging.

It's a very minor difference that occupies the attention of the "urban stupid" and it's time to get over it.

This kind of thing is for kids in junior high school, and yet this is the kind of drivel we're getting from all the Liberal bloggers, most of whom are Young Liberals in various universities, or else 30 something adults who are somewhere on the overall Federal Liberal patonage list.

That patronage payroll of course is fading fast, and will soon be stone, cold dead. But you've gotta give the Grit flotsam and jetsam credit, they keep banging the Liberal drum right to the last paycheck. Now THAT'S the kind of hard-assed loyalty that men like Jamie Elmhirst and Mark Marisen and Bill Cunningham were expecting from David Emerson. And when he made fools of them, boy did they have a hissy fit!

Anonymous said...

The press had no problems when former Tories and NDP Premiers went to the Liberals they dropped it after a day or two. It seems the the Liberals who think they have the devine right to govern and the press find it hard to believe anyone would leave the Liberal party and join the conservatives. I say Harper made a great move and the press believe the others who left the Tories went on principle that a joke. They refuse to belive Emmerson went to help his city and Province. I guess its only those who cross to the Liberals can be belived. As for returning moneies to the association, Brison and Stronach did not return their money. The Liberals have a very thin skin they can give it but can not take.