Sunday, January 07, 2007

Just when I think I'm out...

...they pull me back in. I wanted to leave this Khan thing behind but I couldn’t let this comment by Coyne go. It’s also a line I’ve seen repeated on various BT sites, so it must be one of the talking points:

It's encouraging that Khan was not given a cabinet post or other inducement to cross the floor, unlike the Stronach and Emerson affairs.

There was an inducement Andrew. The PM named him a special advisor on the Middle East. The inducement just came a few months before. The floor crossing was inevitable from that day. Let’s not kid ourselves. I like Bill Graham, but he was a substitute teacher. If we hadn’t had an interim leader this would have come to a head then, not now. Harper was playing political games trying to sow discord in the Liberal ranks during a leadership race, just like he did with the snap Afghanistan extension vote.

The other talking point I’ve seen in lots of places seems to be that Kahn is putting country over party and partisanship, so why did Dion have a problem here? Umm hmm. Well, I have yet to hear a Conservative honestly try to answer this question posed by Scott and others: If PM Martin had named a Conservative Belinda Stronach a special advisor on democratic reform, or whatever, would Steve and Co. been cool with her staying in the Conservative caucus?

Just curious.

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Anonymous said...

Incredible. Coyne is a master of swallowing tory talking points at times, and this one must taste like e coli... That Kahn's been doing a lot of travel on some secret mission, one that there wasn't a tory member qualified for, doesn't seem like a special responsibility or possible perk? That any of Kahn's findings have seen the light of day or could be possible 'for Harpor's eyes only' reeks of political spoils. Has he infiltrated some muslim mob? He puts on a different hairpiece and mingles with Musshareff's point men?
That Kahn infiltrated the Liberals so well perhaps provides us with evidence of just how effective this spy is...
But lets be most specific. This wasn't a 'my country ahead of my party thing'. It's bought favours. Don't forget Harpor's role in the whole Grewal affair -- wonder how that investigation is going?

Anonymous said...

Craig Oliver, CTV's Question Period, said to Harper the same thing - would he put up with a Conservative doing special work for a Liberal Party? Harper didn't have a response.

In my mind, Khan has been given a post - special advisor. Trips, expense account, etc. galore I bet.
And, he has dual citizenship and we haven't heard from Ezra Levant on this - hmmmm.

Khan was a fighter pilot in Pakistan - exactly what battle and what was it about? Hmmmm.

To me, a man who fought for his country would be loyal to that country - so, loyal to Pakistan or Canada? Hmmm.

Scotian said...

I stopped having much respect for Coyne after he jumped on the Grewal fraud/smear campaign before any of the facts were actually out there, ran with it right up until suddenly questions arose about the completeness of the recordings, and then went dark for several months and never apologized for his swallowing something so serious before actually verifying the pertinent information. So I find it particularly ironic that he feels he is in any position to make comments regarding the ethics about anyone crossing the floor let alone regarding Cabinet positions.

Also, Red Tory raises a very good question regarding this spin about how Khan had to choose between serving Canada and the Liberal party. Where exactly is all the work he did in his position as special advisor? How did it impact the policy of this government in the ME and Afghanistan? How many trips did he take and what other perks he otherwise would not have had as an opposition member did he receive while doing this invisible so called important work for Harper? Yet again Harper claims the Liberals are full of power hungry sellouts that care more for power than principles unlike he and his CPC yet both Liberals that cross to his party appear to do so solely for personal gain/power that Harper offers to them. In Emerson's case it is beyond any dispute thanks to the contemporaneous statements of both men and in the case of Khan there is no other answer that fits the evidence to date.

An honourable floor crosser does so primarily because they have reached a point of fundamental disagreement of principle with their party and/or leader. When Brison crossed this was present. When Stronach crossed this was evident and had been clear for many months that she was unwelcome and marginalized in the party she helped create and came in second in the first leadership race. One can argue her timing and the price she negotiated for it at that time is sleazy, but the idea that the only reason for crossing was a Cabinet position simply does not hold up to the facts as they actually are in the public record.

Contrast that with Emerson who ran as a Liberal denouncing the CPC and praising Liberal values and PMPM. The day after the election he is receptive to joining the CPC *IF* there is a Cabinet position, otherwise he stays Liberal. When he crossed his public reason given was that he could do more for his constituents as a Cabinet Minister than as a member of the opposition. No principles, just that he felt it was more important for him to be in a Cabinet than in which party's Cabinet it was.

Now in Khan's case he approached Harper in the summer during the leadership contest and was appointed Harper's special advisor on the ME and Afghanistan despite a lack of expert qualifications for any such position. Graham, feeling as temp leader that he could not simply deny this let it go on, a bad idea IMHO. For over four months Khan is supposedly doing quality work for this government on this yet we have seen zero evidence of any work at all done by Khan as this special advisor, we have never had it explained why a Liberal MP was the most qualified/useful expert to assist PM Harper with on these issues, indeed what does it say about the lack of such expertise within the CPC government that it felt it had to go to the Liberals if one takes their official reason as truthful and that has not been asked or answered.

Dion did not force Khan to choose between Canada and the Liberals, he told him to choose between the Liberals or the CPC, period. I thought Conservatives thought it was wrong for a political party to self identify themselves with the nation as was done in this case, hmmm? If Harper felt it was acceptable to toss Garth Turner because of caucus secrecy concerns (which I still don't recall anyone ever pointing to something specific on his blog as coming from under the veil of caucus secrecy) why is it any less reasonable for Dion to worry that Khan could break caucus secrecy as a direct pipeline to the CPC? Especially when you consider all the hay in the last year the CPC made out of what they claimed Emerson told them the Liberals were discussing in private (yet another unconfirmable assertion but made credible because he had been a Liberal unsuspected of any intentions of changing sides until the morning he was sworn into Harper's cabinet). Got to love the situational ethics of the CPC, when it helps them it is good, when it hurts them it is bad, and when it hurts anyone else it is always good except when it is applied to them when then it becomes bad.

Olaf said...


For me, I don't really see the appointment as an inducement. I mean, if I wanted to induce someone to wash my windows, I wouldn't give them the money, and tell them I would welcome them to wash my windows but they don't have to if they don't want to, as they so please.

How does this make sense to you?

Jeff said...


The wild card in this was Graham as an interim leader, with a leadership race on, when the advisor position was given. In any other circumstances he would have crossed the floor immediately.

The limbo worked better for Wajid and Stephen though. It let them play the country before politics card, which Scotian and others I think have shown doesn't hold water. They also knew once a leader was in place he would be told to shit or get off the pot. By waiting to cross, it allows them to try to lay the blame for the floorcrossing at the feet of the new leader, despite the fact the crossing was inevitable from day one.

He crossed the floor for a post as special advisor to the PM. All the rest is just spin and window dressing.

BTW Olaf, as one of the sensible Conservatives would you like to take a stab at the Stronach question?

kenlister1 said...

Does anyone think the conservative candidate from 2006 in Mississauga Streetsville, Raminder Gill, will contest the nomination against Wajid Khan?
Think again! Raminder Gill was APPOINTED to be a Citizenship Judge on October 31 2006!

Coincidence? Or did Monte Solberg bribe Raminder Gill with a nice patronage appointment to clear the way for Wajid Khan?

Olaf said...


Maybe I'm just a slouch when it comes to party politics. But I still don't understand that if Khan wanted to become a Conservative all along, why he felt the need to wait? Are you saying that following the failed (alleged!) terrorist attack, Khan thought

"this is my chance to get into the Conservative party - I'll offer to be a special adviser to the PM, and since no interim leader would dare kick someone out of their caucus, then I'll patiently wait for the end of the leadership convention, then no matter who is chosen to be leader, surely they'll understand what an interim leader never could that such a position is altogether unacceptable, and will give me an ultimatum at which point I can use the Canada over party excuse and come out scott-free... it's... it's... brilliant!!!"

Almost too brilliant, methinks. I don't think it was a coordinated effort from the get go, or it would be a more often used ploy for other defections (eg. Harper appoint Emerson as special advisor for the olympics, Dion get pissed - blamo! A new International Trade Minister who cares more about Canada than his party. Its just too perfect, is all I'm saying.

BTW Olaf, as one of the sensible Conservatives would you like to take a stab at the Stronach question?

Sensible? That's the nicest thing anyones ever said to me, so I guess I have to.

If Martin named Belinda a "special adviser" on anything, I can't imagine what the reaction would be. Let's be honest - she has not proven herself special in any way, so the whole thing would smack of BS. So I have difficulty bridging the gap between Belinda as a special adviser on anything and a Pakistani providing advise on Afghanistan.

I can't really answer your question - I know I wouldn't give a shit personally, and it does seem like it might be something that would rankle Harper, but the example of Belinda being a "special adviser" is just too bizarre for me to wrap my head around. Sorry.

The Rat said...

Jeff, an inducement is usually more than long flights to nasty places in the world. It's usually something good, like more money, or a chauffeur with car or something. Other than a title, can you show that Khan benefited in any way from his special-advisor status? Did he fly to Pakistan to visit relatives and call it a fact-finding mission? Did he eat meals that were unrelated to his position? Did he get a pay raise, even?

Throwing out a word like inducement with nothing at all to back it up is sad. Even sadder is Scotian's continued print-diarrhea, this time defending Stronach as if she didn't receive an immediate and tangible reward for crossing the floor. You Liberals really need to set some basic standards, maybe read a few defintions before tossing out the words you do.

Jeff said...

Maybe he was hedging his bets, expecting to do better in a future Joe Volpe government. But seriously, I think the scenario is entirely plausible. And even if it wasn't quite that Machevelian, even if Wajid was niave enough to thing this special advisor while staying a Liberal thing was kosher, I can guarantee you Harper was not. He new Khan would be coming over sooner or later. Better for him to let events unfold rather than push him along.

Rat, you think there's no cachet, no prestige, with a position like special advisor to the PM on the Middle East? That there's no benefit for him there? It need not be monetary. Please.

Anonymous said...

Oh great. Now should we look forward to a nation of cross-dressers?
Oops! I mean floor-crossers?

Ivanna see zee papers!

The Rat said...

"Rat, you think there's no cachet, no prestige, with a position like special advisor to the PM on the Middle East? That there's no benefit for him there? It need not be monetary. Please."

So your whole argument is that he gave up being a Liberal, gave up his best chance of continuing to be a well-paid MP after the next election, gave up the support of many members of his community, for the prestige? You are either saying Wajid Khan is an incredibly shallow person with no ability to plan for his own best interests, or you are seriously grasping the straw. I'd suggest it's the latter, Jeff.