Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My Last Comment on David Emerson

I'm very pleased by the diversity of opinion on the David Emerson floor-crossing in the Conservative Party ranks. This is in stark contrast to the lack of diversity of opinion on the Belinda Stronach floor-crossing in the Liberal Party ranks.

I'm not about to burn my membership card over this. I'm sure there are going to be other policies and motions I'm not going to agree with it. I'll rah-rah when I agree with something, and I'll question that which I don't. No political party is going to please everybody.

I also don't agree with the notion that Mr. Emerson has to resign and run in a by-election. As I've said before, floor-crossing itself does not bother me, and only the voters of Vancouver-Kingsway can determine if Mr. Emerson is fit to represent them. My concern was, was Mr. Emerson convinced that the Conservative Party was a better home, or was he convinced that the position of Minister of International Trade was a better home? Am I supposed to care?

I don't think this is an outbreak of "Tory syndrome", as some have suggested. I don't think it helps the Conservative Party to have supporters behave like unabashed cheerleaders of every thing that happens - you want to see the chief cheerleading squad, go here. I can trust Mr. Harper to lead, but it would be disingenuous not to voice concern or criticism.

Andrew at Bound by Gravity has a collection of other postings summarizing some other last thoughts of the Emerson / Fortier moves, including some of the "rational" thoughts on the subject. KevinG, at Odd Thoughts, summarizes the possible pluses of the move.

We're all very happy that Stephen Harper can play the political game. Some of us were hoping that he was going to change the game.

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Jason Monteith said...

I applaud you... this was a very fair-minded and balanced post.

I don't believe people should gloss over the problems with these cabinet moves... nor do I believe that the people who are totally outraged are making sense.

Let's wait and see what happens... that is the prudent course of action here.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Clean goes to Ottawa, and one of the first things he does is state that the rules which apply to all elected politicians do not apply to him because he does not want them to.

So he has his spokesperson tell the world that they don’t want to obey those rules because they don’t like the ruler. As if any defendant in the dock of any court in any land in the whole wide world would say he liked the judge and jury and prosecutor. Not liking somebody who is investigating whether you broke the rules is human nature.

But unlike all those others, Mr. Clean says he has The Power. Resorting to the tried and proven tactics used by the neocons of the US, lead by one Karl Rove, Mr. Clean changes the subject by framing it differently. It is not a question of his conduct in perhaps providing an inducement to an MP to change sides and so perhaps breaching the rules of ethics. Oh no.

It is about the power of the Prime Minister to make cabinet appointments. So there! Take that, EthicsSmethicks Commissioner.

Anybody else beside me here overtones of the imperial response Bush offers so often? I am President, therefore I am all-powerful, therefore I am above the law, therefore I can disregard those who would call me to account for breaking the laws.

Is Mr. Clean really going to argue that because he is the head-elected-honcho in Canada, his power to appoint anybody he wants to, to the Cabinet cannot be questioned?

Really? How interesting. How presumptious. How arrogant ...

I wonder if Canadians are going to go along with this bushian logic coming from Harper.

Because if they do, they are agreeing with a man who claims he can appoint anyone to any post without any oversight. Even if that person gave Harper a bribe? Are cabinet seats now open to the highest bidder, because Harper is head-democratically-elected-honcho in this here land of ours, and nobody has any say over him?

How about it, then, Mr Harper – why not open a Dutch auction for some really nice posts? Want to be Ambassador to France? Offer the Prime Minister a princely sum and its yours. Illegal? Hell, no – he is the Prime Minister and nobody can oversee how he does this job of appointing people ...

See how easily framing changes the nature of the discussion: suddenly Harper is defending democracy in refusing to cooperate with an ethics commissioner appointed by Parliament who is investigating whether one of the foundations of democracy was damaged by an MP perhaps being offered and accepting an inducement to take office as a Cabinet minister.

Harper’s Rovian framing makes it simple: Harper is good. Ethics Commissioner is bad. End of story.

And Canadians are the losers.