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Monday, February 06, 2006

crossing the floor faster than you can say 'cabinet minister...'

That was fast.

Even faster than crossing the floor two weeks after your constituents re-elected you... silly David Emerson... even sillier Stephen Harper...

Leave it to the blogosphere to give disgruntled people a soapbox...

For interests sake, here are some of the Vancouver Kingsway facts we posted on Mr. Smith's blog...

Election results in Vancouver Kingsway on January 23rd:

Liberal - 20,064
NDP - 15,570
CPC - 8,699
Grn - 1,301
LTN - 277
COM - 162
CAP - 143
M-L - 69

History of electoral representation in Vancouver Kingsway:

1953-58 - CCF
1958-62 - PC (Dief sweep)
1962-74 - NDP
1974-79 - Liberal
1979-88 - NDP
(dissolved from 1988-1997)
1997-2006 - Liberal


Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Vancouver Kingsway had their election two days before the rest of us? How the heck did they manage that? ;-)

daveberta said...

Vancouver is a magical place.

Dave said...

Enough is enough. What the heck does democracy mean for any of us when this crap goes on.

If you care about democracy, help me and Democracy in Canada.

robert mcbean said...

For some reason Tony Abbott's "whore" comment about Belinda Stronich comes to mind. Let the hypocrisy begin.

jaylee said...

i am appauled at how something like this can happen. i'm glad i'm not a conservative, i would feel more than betrayed. but to betray the people who got you elected ... and then the other who didn't even get elected and gained a cabinet post... good lord, do we live in cuba, iraq, ...

sadly, i think by time government resumes, this will have settled down, and on the back burner. people seem to forget if it isn't news in our face.
instead i think we as a democracy have to speak out, write letters, and demonstrate (peacefully of course) and change this type of abuse of power.

Emil Vargas said...

I'm not too happy with this but I understand why Harper did it. He has no representation from the three biggest cities in Canada (not that I care) and obviously wants some in the next election so he's having cabinet ministers from those areas to make up for it whether having a very qualified Liberal into his cabinet or having a guy from Montreal sit as a senator to represent Montreal. Its a tricky thing if you have no real representation from certain areas of the country and it would lead to howls from left-wing nutcases that the CPC is neglecting the big three cities so Harper did what he thought he had to. He filled the void.
However I would feel more comfortable if David Emerson had a by-election to determine if his constituents like the idea of him defecting. Because I still remember when that blond whore crossed from Conservatives even if her timing was alot more controversial and she had a cabinet post created just for her instead of crossing the floor at the beginning of the new parliament. Her riding voted for a Conservative and thats what they should expect, not a floor crosser. And that goes for David Emerson too.
In terms of Michael Fourtier, I have no comment other than I hope he wins a seat in Montreal in the next election.

Socialist Swine said...

I bet you there's a lot of people who are now wishing they voted NDP in Emerson's riding.

-Socialist Swine

Nastyboy said...

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.


Jim said...

Shit like this just reinforces the meme that you never get what you vote for, whether it's Liberal, Conservative, or NDP.

I'm already amused by Conservatives, ever the stone-throwers, rationalizing political ploys like this. It's like that episode of the Twilight Zone where the revolutionary turns into the tyrant he deposed.

Meany said...

Yeah feels like a good slap in the face doesn't it? That's exactly how Tories felt when Belinda made the jump and you all were overjoyed. Maybe it's because Graham is an extremist who can't hold on to moderates like Emerson? Hmm? No? Maybe we can justify this because Emerson finally saw the light and is abandoning those "extremist" Liberals? Yeah? Maybe it shows that the Liberal's are no longer a "mainstream big tent" national party and only represent Toronto interests? Sound familiar?

Anyways, as a Conservative I think this is an AWFUL way to start things off and I am annoyed about it. I think we need both of the parties to sign some sort of agreement that they can't poach each others MP's for cabinet positions. If MPs want to leave and sit as backbenchers in other parties, that's up to them, but the PM of the time shouldn't reward them with a plum cabinet post. Paul Martin set a nasty precident with what he did, and double shame on Harper for repeating it. :(

CuriosityKilledTheCat 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.