Monday, February 06, 2006

Unimpressed. Disgusted, in fact.

Babble on.

OK, let's purge the phrase "crossed the floor" from our lexicon when it comes to David Emerson. That particular idiom implies that there was a floor to be crossed, that he sat on one side of it and then walked over to the opposite side. Emerson didn't even wait for the Conservatives and Liberals to take their respective places in Parliament before flipping off every single person who voted for him by switching sides.

How exactly can he justify this? What new information came to his attention between his election as a Paul Martin Liberal and the swearing in of the Stephen Harper Conservative government that suggested his taking a cabinet post in a government he was elected to oppose is in the best interests of his constituents? Every single thing I've ever said or thought about Belinda The Bobblehead applies to David The Democratically-Challenged.

I wonder how his constituents feel?

I'll tell you how I'd feel if I were one of the plurality of voters who elected him as a Liberal: cheated.

And as for Harper and the Conservatives helping him vitiate the democratic intent of the voters of Vancouver-Kingsway, I say: for shame.

It's possible to have an honest change of heart in politics. It's even possible to have such a change of heart so soon after an election in which the lines of attack were drawn months in advance - unlikely, but still possible.

But it's also possible to sit as an independent, and vote your conscience. It's possible to seek the nomination of another party, and get an honest endorsement from the voters of your riding. In other words, it's possible to behave honourably in politics.

What an abysmal beginning to a Parliament for which I had such high hopes.

Babble off.

Update: The ranks of disgusted Conservatives grow - Staples, Wonder Woman, The Tiger, Sham, Daifallah, ProgRight, Arabian Knight, the geeks, Steve (and that's just at last count - the list is growing).

But Chris Taylor says it best in a strong rebuke to Stephen Harper:

What you should have done is send the turncoat back to his Liberal masters with a paddling; if he wants to be part of a Conservative government in the future, he should stand as one in the next general election. No freebie Cabinet posts, there's enough front-bench Tory talent that you need not rely on a Liberal-come-lately.

Thanks for giving the cynics in this country more ammo.

Hear, hear.

Updat-her: Geez, don't piss off Joan Tintor. Some people complain. Others organize:

I support Stephen Harper. I do not want to embarrass him. But it is because I am a loyal Conservative that I cannot remain silent while he commits the moral and political error of accepting an individual elected by voters less than a month ago as a Paul Martin Liberal – and a Paul Martin cabinet minister, no less – into the Conservative caucus and promptly appointing him to cabinet.
Conservatives who disagree with this act are not helpless. The party and its candidates rely on us to maintain their riding associations, raise and donate money, and identify and get out the vote during elections. If the Harper government bans all corporate and union donations as promised in the Conservative platform, the amount that individual candidates will have available will depend entirely on donations from individuals.

And then she tells you how exactly to get the party's attention.

Update-veloping: ...and Andrew Bill (Andrew joins the act here), and Coyne, and MKT...

Up-in-arms-date: Wonder Woman decides to wade back in with elbows flying:

Does the Conservative Party really want to see what a blog swarm looks like? Because I think George Bush is still rubbing the bitchslap off his face, from his nomination of Harriet Miers.

Do we collectively have the clout to make anyone in Ottawa sit up and take notice? Does CPC Galactic Headquarters really care what a few bloggers think?

I guess we're about to find out.

Up-Wells-date: OK, he's not a Conservative like the others noted above, but I get to link to whatever the hell I like on my blog, and I like what Professor Wells has written on this subject a great deal.

David Emerson should resign from the House of Commons and run in a by-election. He had two months to decide he was a Conservative and mention this fact to his electors. He forgot. Stephen Harper's excuses are transparently absurd. "It's not about Liberal or Conservative"? Uh. He ran a Conservative against Emerson.

Up-Tarantino-date: Bob speaks slowly and clearly for the terminally partisan among us.

Upside-the-head-date: Coyne has gathered his thoughts somewhat:

But still: it stinks. We now know two things after the election that we should have been told before -- that Dave Dingwall was to be paid $418,000 severance for being fired, and that Dave Emerson is a Conservative. The seat he holds does not belong to him. It is not his entitlement. It belongs to the voters of Vancouver-Kingsway. And they can be forgiven for feeling like they've been had.

As for Fortier, it is a fine thing for a Prime Minister elected on a platform of democratic accountability, who promised he would not appoint anyone who was not elected to cabinet or to the Senate, to then turn around and do both at one go. And to appoint his campaign manager, to boot!

Maybe I'm wrong, and no one cares. But if they do, then the government has a clear path before it. Put both appointments before the voters. Abide in their judgment. Seek their confidence, and it will be repaid. Trust the people.

Oh, and would someone call David Frum? He seems to have some experience with this sort of thing.

Upping-the-disappointment-date: More deflated Conservatives here and here.

It's not too late to do the right thing, Mr. Harper.

Up-my-nose-with-the-drink-date: Bob Tarantino owes me a new keyboard, seeing as he made me regurgitate my pop all over this one.

Son of an Emer.

Funniest. Title. Ever.

Oh, and new objections from Jarrett, The Loyalist, and Toronto Tory. The swarm grows.

I can't wait to see the editorials and opinion columns tomorrow. I'm sad, but I'm proud. This is just getting started.

Up-the-volume-date: Day Two, and more disappointment from Danté, Gerry (although he wobbles here), Aaron, and Richard.

I've been reading Greg Staples for almost two years now, and he is as straightforward a guy as you'll ever find. I've also met him, talked with him, shared drinks with him, and corresponded with him. He's the neighbour who waters your lawn when you forget. He's the guy who coaches your daughter's soccer team, and makes her feel like she's the best player on the field. He's the sort of guy every political party would love to have as a supporter. Here's what he has to say:

Conservative strategists have called this controversy a "one-day wonder". It better be. This better have been the one-day the Conservatives play games like this because a large chunk of us voted for politics as unusual and if we don't get it now don't think we won't look elsewhere. (Babbler's bold)

"Politics as unusual" is exactly what I voted for. Exactly.

John The Mad is typically incisive:

The Honourable Paul Emerson said on the radio (I was commuting home) tonight that he was not switching parties because of the opportunity to continue in power (no, no, of course not), but because he wanted to serve his constituents in the best possible manner (sound of trumpets). I only regret that it was radio so I couldn't actually see his nose grow. (Babbler's emphasis)

There you have it, Mr. Harper: you've made Conservatives call Conservatives liars on Day One of your government. Fix this, before it gets any worse.

Up-to-no-good-date: I listed Steve Janke's post entitled "Stephen Harper puts us in a pickle" as opposing the move. Janke doesn't oppose it, he supports it, as he indicated in my comments. Fair enough, Steve. Consider that support duly noted.

Up-to-the-top-of-your-hipwaders-date: Tarantino again. This time he's explaining why both the Emerson and Fortier appointments were made for the wrong reasons.

The "lack of urban representation" meme is a ridiculous parlour game, concocted by Liberal-friendly media types, who need something to fill column inches. Which leads us to our next point...

Second, and Conservatives should really be better at this by now, don't play games with a Liberal-friendly media - you can't win. They set the rules, not you, and they are wont to change at any time, for no reason at all. Let's take a couple of examples. On Day 1, media types darkly note that the Conservative caucus and Cabinet lack "urban representation". On Day 2, the CPC tries to counter this by naming to Cabinet a Vancouver-based politician and a Montreal-based hack. Aha!, thinks the CPC, we got them on this one! On Day 3, the goalposts are moved:

The other city that abjured the Conservatives was Toronto. So why is Senator Mike Harris not in the cabinet? There's a vacancy, and Mr. Harris might enjoy the show.

If Toronto really mattered, Mr. Harper would have found a way to get the city represented. (John Ibbitson)

Beyond whether or not this is an ethical move - and I have yet to hear a convincing argument that it is - there's a good case to be made that it's a wasted move.

What happens if Emerson - a political neophyte, for all his considerable business acumen - decides a few weeks from now that he doesn't like fielding e-mails from 20,000 irate Liberal voters in his riding, dodging phone calls from hostile media types, and taking constant abuse from the other side of Parliament? What if he decides to throw in the towel and go back to being a successful West-Coast businessman?

Then Harper's wasted all this political capital, taken the focus off his otherwise excellent cabinet and legislative agenda, turned upteen hundred thousand principled Conservative voters into cynics, and not gained any sort of a tactical advantage.

Look at Emerson's political record to date, and with a straight face tell me how implausible that scenario is.

Up-chuk-date: And what's more, Harper has given every single political enemy he has a big, thick cudgel to beat him with. The CBC offers a round up of reactions from politicians, media types, bloggers, and other folks.

Up-in-Buchans-date: Liam O'Brien, a measured and reasonable commentator, weighs in on the issue.

It matters not if Emerson didn't really have many strong policy ideas or position to begin with. It matters not that he'll be a capable minister. It still sends the wrong message. It makes Stephen Harper's job, as well as David Emerson's job much harder. Whoever decided to go with this sort of change in the transition/PMO team made a big mistake. It smells of old school tories more than Harper. I speak as somebody who worked on campaigns with some of those people. Still, the buck stops with Harper. He'll have to bear this one out. It's too bad.

Updamazon: How could I forget Kateland?

It’s easy to look at the appointment of Liberal David Emerson to Stephen Harper’s cabinet and say Harper is being pragmatic and playing grown-up real politic. Get over your outrage and shelve your sense of honour or integrity. Standing up for honour and preserving your integrity are so adolescent of you. Besides Emerson is a man of much experience and talent, and he brings much to the table and the discourse, forget the fact that the man campaigned as a Liberal, was elected as a Liberal, and now that the Liberal’s have lost the house; crosses the floor to join his political opponents. It’s a win-win situation for the Conservatives. Prime Minister Stephen Harper gains his talent, Emerson gains a seat at the Table of Cabinet and the Conservatives are made stronger for it and in the best of all possible outcomes, Canadians benefit from stronger conservative governance.

But I suggest that it all depends how one answers this biblical question: What does a man profit who gains the world but loses his soul in the exchange?

You don't need to be religious to understand the import of that question.

Up-and-up-and-up-date: McClarty, kickin' it old-school? Throwin' it down? Is that right? Lingo isn't my strong suit, Patrick.

Ed brings to light that one of Janke's "doughty band of brother and sister bloggers" shouldn't necessarily be on that list. Sauce for the goose, and all that, Steve:

Ed, I never said that I liked what happened.

I did say that Emerson should run in a by-election.

The only room I give Emerson is to say that to compare him to Belinda wouldn't be accurate. - Stephen Taylor

Yes, well, thank God Emerson's head doesn't bobble on his shoulders, or the comparison would be more accurate than any of us would like.

Up-to-the-minute-date: Cosh! I can't even decide which part to excerpt, the whole damn thing is that good.

Up-to-Day-Four-date: How the hell did I forget the Damian with more traffic than me? I especially like his line here:

Obviously, we didn't get the memo about how we're supposed to mindlessly support our party under any and all circumstances.

Also, Paul Kimball is up in arms.

Keeping-it-up-date: Joel expresses his disappointment.

Joan shows some principled perspective:

While I agree that the issue should not be overblown – and that we must always be careful to not help our enemies – I believe this is a misstep that can be fixed. I continue to hope that it will be.

I do too, Joan, but I'm not holding my breath.

Uplifting-date: Sean takes a break from his customary caustic cynicism and surprises me by saying it all very personally and eloquently:

Am I perfect yet? Hell, no. I make no claim to sainthood. All I can tell you is that I’ve changed my behavior enough that I’ve managed to stay sober for a few days. Nearly fourteen years worth of them, in fact. I wouldn’t have been able to pull that off if I had kept doing the same things in sobriety that I did when I drank.

Nothing changes if nothing changes, y’know?

So I am going to disagree with Kate on the Liberal MP that crossed the floor to join the Tories. The proper action on Harper’s part would have been telling David Emerson to sit as an independent or run again as a Conservative. That would have been a good start towards helping our government start to regrow the soul it lost under the stewardship of the Liberals. Instead, the Conservatives have put power before principle all the while telling us that they’re going to get different results while doing all of the same things the Liberals did.

Well said, sir.


At 12:38 p.m., Blogger Rob said...

lets wait for the speeches and the justification of this.
I don't like the workings of this either but the positives are:

Someone in the Government NEEDs to be in charge of the Olympics and that person being outside of Vancouver would not be well accepted.

Vancouver who was atleast 30% conservative vote now has some representation.

At 12:54 p.m., Blogger drvsvs said...

This guy is a clown as bad as Belinda. Harper is not starting out well, I'm sad to say, but will liberals be consistant and support him as they did when Belinda crossed?

At 12:57 p.m., Blogger Christian Conservative said...

I too don't really know how this one will work... will they try pass it off as a "tit-for-tat" saying "Now we're even" or will they post him in Cabinet, stating that a by-election will be called within 30-60 days? That might work best, in my opinion... Vancouver won't turn down a Cabinet Minister in a by-election, would they?

At 1:04 p.m., Blogger William Tell said...

"Vancouver who was atleast 30% conservative vote now has some representation."

Just say that to a Conservative member that spent the last year trying to get rid of Emerson in that riding... That spent nights, and days... That fought hard and long against the inevitability that the Liberals would win in that riding.

Now imagine 2 weeks later he jumps ship to your side and your leader gives him a seat at the cabinet table.

At 1:06 p.m., Blogger VW said...

Two major differences:

1. Emerson was never a "star" candidate on the level of Belinda. The level of outrage should therefore be considerably less.

2. By changing sides before the opening of Parliament, as opposed to the middle of a budget debate (a matter of confidence in government), Emerson further lessens its impact.

There may be a small impact on the morale of the Liberal caucus ("there goes another potential leadership candidate!" "Who, him?!") but there is one further blessing: Brian Pallister now knows that if he goes for provincial leader of the Tories, there's a ready-made parachute candidate available.

At 1:08 p.m., Blogger GenX at 40 said...

Giving the embarrassmennt of foul language and neolithic thought that was expressed when Stronach crossed, it will be entertaining to watch this hair being split by the lapdogs. You, sir, do your misguided but honestly held beliefs greater honour as usual.


At 1:10 p.m., Blogger Sara said...

Emerson was elected under the Liberal flag, if he wanted to be Conservative then he should of rode under the Conservative flag!

I don't agree with what he's doing, but at least we found a mole!

At 1:14 p.m., Blogger Brian Lemon said...

The Prime Minister never promised to restrict MPs ability to cross the floor. In fact he was very clear in interviews, that he would not make this restriction.
Since Saturday we have learned that a discredited Liberal government and Prime Minister had (a) lied about the resignation of Dingwall and (b) not revealed a $420,000 settlement awarded 3 days before the elction.
I wonder how, as a sitting Liberal MP, one could justify staying in the caucus at all.

At 1:43 p.m., Blogger Matias said...

oh yeah, I can see Harper's era of cleaner and more accountable governments has just started... I'm sorry for the honest canadians that actually believed him.

At 3:02 p.m., Blogger Les Mackenzie said...

The Geeks? the other domain was taken.

There's only one of me chief ;)

-Les Mackenzie

At 3:19 p.m., Blogger Paul said...

Only in Canada do people get upset when a Leader reaches out and finds support from a broad range of the political spectrum - and just as upset if they don't.

There have been countless people changing party affiliation in Canada's past.

Crossing the floor was really only a problem in the case of Belinda, since she crossed after the Government had lost the confidence of the House, but before the confirmation of that fact in an explicit motion of confidence.

At 3:54 p.m., Blogger Matias said...

Paul: aren't we splitting hairs here? I don't recall any conservative using such a specific argument back then, they were (as far as I can recall) only saying that if she ran as a CPC member she should remain one, or face a byelection... it wasn't about the timing of her crossing, it was about her crossing. Period.

As for "reaching out" for talent outside the party, I'd be all for that... too bad the same people who do it now wouldn't accept it a few months ago.

At 4:01 p.m., Blogger Mark Francis said...

People, especially conservatives, have been lead to expect more from Harper.

That's where this matter starts and ends.

At 4:15 p.m., Blogger James Bow said...

What I'm interested to know is who called who first. Look at the cabinet. Harper worked very hard to give himself at least some representation in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. We have a Senatorial minister, now because of the Montreal connection, and Emerson gives Harper Vancouver representation. In the case of Toronto, Harper turned to the 905 area code and Fergus to claim "Toronto-area" representation.

Were other Liberal or Bloc MPs were called to try and get urban cabinet posts?

At 6:14 p.m., Blogger Fighting for Democracy said...

But the fact is, "our" vision of democractic reform is alittle different that the Conservative party's vision. We are disappointed because "we" wanted people to sit as an independent or run in a by-election. This was not Stephen Harper vision as he stated during his interview with the CBC during the election. He isn't being a hyprocrite and he managed to grab an excellent MP from another party.

It is part of business, as we all know companies steal employees from other companies all the time. Time to grow up people.
I was bought, took a much better offer from a competitor. It happens all the time. Everyone knows someone who moved to another job for a better offer.

At 7:11 p.m., Blogger CanadianTruth said...

I obviously do not know the full story behind the crossing, but at the very least agree that the optics are horrible. I haven't talked to one Conservative voter who has stood behind Harper in appointing this cabinet position when very capable people sit in the back benches.

The only thing I can see is that he is there for the Olympic file, but I am sure somebody else could have overseen this file.

At 7:20 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

So, fighting for democracy, how many voters did you betray when you switched jobs?

As an employee, you're a free agent. As an elected official, you're beholden to your electorate.

It's a different job description, and a different standard applies.

At 7:31 p.m., Blogger Danté said...

You can add me to your list. I also disapprove of this shameful move.

At 7:42 p.m., Blogger Jaeger said...

Count me among the disgusted, too.

We've waited how many years since the founding of Reform to form a government? And after all this time trying to build a principled, ethical alternative to the power-hungry Liberals we get this, on the first day!?!?

Just how are the long time reformers supposed to defend or support the party after they plunge right into the cynical, amoral power-trading trough on the very day they're sworn in?

Utterly revolting. Now how are we supposed to believe they'll carry out any of the conservative agenda? Will any democratic reforms be implemented? The gag law repealed? Will the Firearms registry be shut down?

I've been a Harper supporter since his days at the NCC and was sooo looking forward to this day. And look what we get.


At 7:45 p.m., Blogger eugene plawiuk said...

Hey don't forget us on the left nah we ain't partisan we're pissed too. Emmerson, Fortier and O'Conner.

At 8:41 p.m., Blogger Greg Staples said...

You can add Gerry Nicholls of the NCC.

At 8:42 p.m., Blogger v said...

In my two years of blogging this is the most frenzied prosecutorial lather I have ever seen. It's actually comical how the righteous indignation types are racing to see who can express the most shock and outrage (and weak logic and moral equivilency, I might add). If Stronach is Emerson then Ghengis Khan is Mother Teresa; get a moral compass.

It's rare that two separate events in life are the same. In this case, the circumstances of Belinda's defection were very different from that of Emerson's. Do you think Miss Nepotism was poached by Martin for her talent and record, as is plausibly the case with Emerson? Magna stock dropped considerably when her dad appointed her Magna boss - the market says she's a dog.

Not the case with Emerson, who is near universally respected and can speak without sounding vacuous, like Stronach. That's a fair comment; she's a horrible speaker. The geographical considerations at play in Emerson's SPECIFIC case also make it DIFFERENT than Belinda's case.

Does this mean that Emerson = good and Belinda = bad? No no no. It means that they are different. Not the same. But different. The Liberals had an opportunity to pass anti-turncoat legislation and they did not - they are the bad guys here. Don't blame Harper for playing by the rules, he didn't make the rules but he'd be a damned fool not to use the rules to his advantage especially when he is a seat away from a CPC-NDP majority. He'd be Joe Clark.

Defeating The Statists isn't a pretty job. I think there should be legislation requiring turncoats to run in a by-election, but we don't live in that imaginary world. Keep the heat on the CPC to pass anti-turncoat legislation and all will be good.

Have a little faith in our boy Stevie; he's earned it.

"Young man, I've been a member of the of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada for twenty five years - don't tell me about knives."
- Dief to some young Scotsman who deigned to lecture him on proper Sgian Dubh usage.

At 9:04 p.m., Blogger AwaWiYe said...

>What new information came to his attention between his election as a Paul Martin Liberal and the swearing in of the Stephen Harper Conservative government...

Perhaps that he was approached? The first assumption the knee-jerk respondents should discard (until proven otherwise) is that Emerson ran for election with any thought of sitting anywhere except with the Liberals.

The second assumption that should be discarded is the one which involves measuring Harper by the usual yardstick (ie. the lowest denominator of patronage and partisanry). Do you think Harper might have had a clue this would not sell well? Which is more likely: that Harper took a difficult decision for principled and important reasons for the good of the country, or that Harper decided to piss away years and months of work?

At 9:14 p.m., Blogger HearHere said...

Thee are no longer any "Paul Martin" Liberals . Those who ran under "team Martin" are now leaderless.
Emmerson said as much. He ran only because Martin coaxed him to. Martin stepped down as leader. Emmerson's loyalty was only to Martin NOT the Liberals.
He said as much today. So all Canadians who voted for "Team Martin" have now been shafted.
They instead got rudderless Liberals floundering under scandals and the newly announced Dingwall fiasco.
If I was a Liberal I would be looking for a better team and a better coach too.

At 9:22 p.m., Blogger Diamond Fan said...

You guys have him!

If Emerson does not want to join the party that will soo be lead by Richard Diamond than to heck with him.

Diamond will be PM by 2008.

At 10:01 p.m., Blogger Dave T. said...

Steve Janke, upset at the Emerson thing? You're kidding right? Janke is all "THIS IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT!"

Janke's take on it: "It's refreshing to see a government actually planning instead of reacting."

At 11:48 p.m., Blogger DazzlinDino said...

flipping off every single person who voted for him

Probably the best put statement on the subject I've heard yet tonight.

VW - Emerson was never a "star" candidate on the level of Belinda. The level of outrage should therefore be considerably less.

But Emerson actually has political experience and is good at his job. Also, the position wasn't "invented" for him, it was an existing position, so there is that going for him.

Still, not smart politics.....

At 11:58 p.m., Blogger Ghost of a flea said...

I am unashamedly pro-Belinda and have a personal enthusiasm for floor crossing. It might have been nice for Mr. Emerson to have oh, say, taken his seat in Parliament before "crossing the floor". Welcome to Day One of the Mulroney Effect, people.

At 12:04 a.m., Blogger LeoPetr said...

Stronach had a pretext for crossing the floor -- she had been elected to a new party, and one that was supposed to be a socially moderate reincarnation of Canada's conservative tradition. Instead, Harper ran a circus obsessed with the irrelevant ssm stuff -- against Stronach's conscience -- at the expense of actually important things.

Emerson has been a Liberal for many a year, and he knows exactly what the Liberals are about. The Liberal Party has been around for a while, and nothing in their platform is particularly new. He knew it during the election campaign, and he was badmouthing Harper at every turn three weeks ago.

On the whole, I don't mind floor-crossing, but I think Emerson's is a far more naked display of ambition than Stronach's.

At 12:11 a.m., Blogger Richard said...

You can add the Chronicles to the list as well.

At 12:19 a.m., Blogger TrustOnlyMulder said...

Damian, Emerson crossing has many benefits to all Canadians.

1) The man was in the lumber industry and is now Minister of international trade giving him the perfect stance to go close the softwood lumber issue.

2) The man may still have Liberal intents and combined with the free vote attitude of the Tories, he doesn't necessarily have to side with the typical Conservative view.

3) Vancouver needed someone as has been pointed out.

4) In a parliament with almost as many Liberals, it does, in a way, give them a voice in Cabinet. i.e. an Olive branch considering their size. With Emerson being one of the front runners for the Liberal leadership it is actually a big olive branch.

5) It sends a message to all parties to pass the accountability act or they open the door to far more partisan appointments. (weak argument of the lot)

I know the optics are bad right now, but when softwood is cleared up quickly, everyone will be praising Harper and Emerson.

At 12:48 a.m., Blogger Chris Dainton said...

And to think of all the time I spent supporting Harper for PM. You can count me among the disgusted - the more we put up with these types of antics in politics, the more acceptable they become.

At 1:11 a.m., Blogger Another Sean said...

Hey, any move that Harper makes that has both Kinsella and Cherniak equally upset has got to be something that I can get behind!

At 8:18 a.m., Blogger arthurdecco said...

Its hilarious watching the usual bunch of wild-eyed wingers posting here bending so far over backwards that they're falling on their asses defending the indefensible. Their hypocrisy is breathtaking. (Special kudos to the always-ridiculous Anonalogue on this point.)

What's sad (and surprising) are the number of Harper supporters posting here who are honestly upset by these cold-blooded and hypocritical political moves, so reminiscent of the Mulroney years. Normally, I'd be feeling sympathetic to your plight but it’s not like we "lefties" didn't try to warn you about this despicable and unprincipled man, Stephen Harper. You just refused to pay attention to our concerns.

“Meet the new boss – same as the old boss” (Peter Townsend) seems an apt quotation under the circumstances.

At 12:11 p.m., Blogger scott said...

You are right on all counts regarding the Emerson deal, but for God sakes people[tory bloggers] use your head for once.

We are in a minority situation and are surrounded by Liberal bureaucrats, media, senators, and judges.

Stop being so utopian, especially since the "Miers pressure" came after Bush won the white house for the second time and was pretty much guaranteed four more years unless impeached.

Come on tories, stop acting like amateurs and support your leader when needed.

If not, then go at it and attack Harper for a few early miscues. The result will be a lifelong membership to a tory debating society.

You get what you deserve.

At 12:11 p.m., Blogger Angela said...

I'm so glad Conservative bloggers are taking this issue on. Not only did Vancouver-Kingsway not vote for a Conservative cabinet minister, but CPC voters across this country specifically voted for a change from this kind of dirty politics.
Fortier's answers to questions over the past 24 hours have been embarrassing, ridiculous and should have already made Harper aware of his mistakes.
From CBCNews Today:
Reporter: "why didn't you run in the election?"
Fortier "because I didn't want to run. I was started an exciting new job, I have five kids, it's as simple as that, I didn't want to run"
reporter: "do why are you in government now?"
Fortier "because the PM called me"

Ugh!!! The major urban centre of Calgary hasn't had cabinet representation for years. Did we ever hear Harper say "The Liberals should appoint Scott Reid as Calgary's cabinet minister and to the senate, where he can't answer quesions"?

At 12:54 p.m., Blogger John the Mad said...


Put me down as a Conservative blogger who has blogged against this crass opportunism.

I think I'm more offended more by Fortier's appointment than Emerson's, though. At least Emerson sits in the House of Commons. Not that I support Emerson's appointment.

How does the passed-over BC backbench Conservative caucus feel today? How to demoralize your troops at the outset of battle.

This is plain awful. Forget the positive messaging and good will. Cynicism rules. The people will understand ..... business as usual ..... unfortunately.

At 1:50 p.m., Blogger Scott Piatkowski said...

It's nice to see right-wingers being principled in their right-wingness. But, if you think you folks are pissed off, imagine how bad people must feel if they voted Liberal "to stop the Conservatives" (in Vancouver-Kingsway or anywhere else). Let's hope that no one ever falls for that tired old hoax again!

At 2:17 p.m., Blogger MAW said...

As long as Harper keeps moving forward in a positive way for all Canadians, the Emerson/Fortier moves will be forgiven in a fortnight. Making hard decisions isn't easy, the outgoing Ditherals proved this.

The people of Vancouver get to test drive Emerson and will be afforded an opportunity to re-elect him, or not. As far as I'm concerned both men put the interests of their constituencies first, Emerson for Vancouver and Harper for Canada. Same for Montreal. These men of higher principal and honor have put Canada first, despite knowing the MSM and opposition parties would attack.

But shooting inward on our own? Thats not principled, it's cowardly and weak.

Unfortunately for the "progressive" Joe Clark style Ditherals, their own covert political actions that parallel Harpers supposed transgressions, take the sting out, rendering their rhetoric toothless.

Yap, yap, yap. Down boy, shake a leg.

But Bill Graham beseeching Harper to "patch it up" with the states after he spent the last two years dumping all over them (the yanks) is the funniest thing, jaw all jutted out and goggle eyed - priceless -- a Valeri moment perhaps.

Like a Danish caricature, a cartoon that's actually funny, but somewhat offensive to those of a like mind.

At 3:08 p.m., Blogger Another Sean said...

Please don't assume to tell me how I voted. As a Van-Kingsway voter I voted for a Cabinet Minister (and against the NDP). Got one, too. I think we call that "strategic voting", however it almost didn't work!
I would assume that CPC voters were voting to eliminate the general corruption that seems to have permeated the Liberal party in general. However, this is not "dirty politics". It seems to me that it is just using the rules as they exist.
With respect to Fortier, there is a long history of minority (and some majority) governments using the Senate to fill Cabinet positions when required, especially for fixing a regional representation issue. The only difference here is that Harper is going to have to fill a Senate vacancy first so that he can get someone from the region into the position. Well, it's not as if he can get a Senate Election called and done when he does not control that mechanism yet. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? And you can't make an omlet without breaking eggs. But you need the eggs, so...

At 3:09 p.m., Blogger angry_in_t_o said...

Geez, I'm in favour of the move. Why am I listed as being against it?

Steve Janke
aka Angry in the Great White North

At 3:10 p.m., Blogger Johnny Pockets said...

maw said:
"But shooting inward on our own? Thats not principled, it's cowardly and weak."

Dear God man. I feel pity for you. That you should live your life with the understanding that standing up for what you believe in is "cowardly and weak." I guess by deduction, then, blindly toeing the line is "courageous and brave."

I try my darndest not to get too personal on blogs, but sometimes I can't restrain myself! Get some self-esteem.

At 3:36 p.m., Blogger JimBobby said...

Whooee! I mentioned ol' Georgie Orwell in my little boog story this mornin' an' now I see there's a Orwellian feller commentin' here. You lissenin' t' yerself, MAW? Or are you too contorted like a pretzel t' be able t' see the newspeak yer spoutin'?

The HarpoonTosser speared hisself in the foot an' anybuddy with an ounce o' sense knows it. He sed accountability was gonna be the big diff 'tween his outfit an' ol' Fartin' Martin's crew. I reckon ol' Stevie changed his mind an' decided he'd be jest as greasy as the other fellers.

Who's Michael Fortier accountable to? The voters who never saw his name on the ticket?

Who's Emerson accounatble to? He sure don't seem t' think he's accountable t' the voters who thought they was votin' fer a GrittyBoy.

I get a charge outta the fellers who sez this ain't no big deal on accounta the average Canajun don't give two shits 'bout polyticks an' everybuddy'll ferget in a week or two. I seen sumbuddy who sed we'd all ferget in a "fortnight." Yeow! Musta been a Limey preachin' t' the pore, ignorant colonials. I ain't fergettin' an' I don't reckon anybuddy else is fergettin' too quick, neither.

It's dirty, underhanded dealin' like this that makes the average Canajun so disgusted with polyticks. The ones who was payin' attention an' fell fer Harpoon's lies 'bout bringin' in a squeaky clean change is still payin' attention. If people are gonna ferget 'bout this here firstest day on the job, it'll only be on accounta Harpoon doin' even stoopider things later on.

Yores trooly,

At 3:58 p.m., Blogger AwaWiYe said...

>"Politics as unusual" is exactly what I voted for. Exactly.

This is "politics as unusual" - taking unusual steps to build a cabinet which represents the nation reasonably well within the constraints of a small number of cabinet members.

This may have been a purely opportunistic acceptance by Emerson and Fortier, but I have yet to read someone explain in what way it was an opportunistic rather than generous move by Harper.

At 3:59 p.m., Blogger dragev said...

The following is a comment I posted at SDA on the post Tasting The Dromedary:

"I have been doing a lot of reading on the blogs on this subject and have distilled the arguments down to two basic arguments.

"(1) David Emerson was elected because he ran as a Liberal and therefore it is unethical for him to join the Conservative government without seeking a new mandate from his constituents. This is the "we elect political parties" argument.

"(2) David Emerson is primarily an MP and therefore has been given a mandate to exercise judgement on behalf of his constituents, even if that means crossing the floor. This is the "we elect individuals to represent us in parliament" argument.

"The reality is that both arguments are valid depending on which voter you are talking to.

"I imagine I would have felt betrayed if I was from Aurora and had voted for Belinda Stronach in June 2004 simply because she happened to be the Conservative candidate. But the fact is, I despise the party system, even though I find it very difficult to vote without taking party affilation into consideration. And because I am so fed up with our party system I lean towards siding with argument 2, because I believe that ideally we would choose individuals to represent us, and ideally parties would not exist because I believe political parties undermine representational democracy.

"Having said that, I think that Emerson excercised poor judgement in his campaign and I don't support the notion that simply because he has the best resume and is willing to wear the Conservative coat that he is the best MP to represent Canada in our International Trade ministry. Obviously, other important facts played into Prime Minister Harper's decision to bring Emerson on board, the least not being that the CPC was shut out of the metropolitan cities."

At 5:26 p.m., Blogger Will said...

David Emerson has disenfranchised the people of Vancouver Kingsway, misled his electorate, and should be recalled. His contituency address is

2148 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC
V5N 2T5
Go there on Wednesday February 8th at 4pm to join others in demanding his resignation, or just leave him a message: 604) 775-6263

Also Please sign the recall petition at

At 5:26 p.m., Blogger Will said...

David Emerson has disenfranchised the people of Vancouver Kingsway, misled his electorate, and should be recalled. His contituency address is
2148 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC
V5N 2T5
Go there on Wednesday February 8th at 4pm to join others in demanding his resignation, or just leave him a message: 604) 775-6263

Also Please sign the recall petition at

At 5:29 p.m., Blogger anne said...

I totally agree with Kate over at SDA and wish you guys would RELAX!!!!

Let the Liberals attack us.

The last thing we need is Warren Kinsella pointing to your blog saying even Harper's supporters are upset.

At 5:53 p.m., Blogger GenX at 40 said...

That's right. Stay quiet. Get back in line. That is what your betters want. Welcome to the new way.

At 6:00 p.m., Blogger Paladiea said...

I'm happy that you guys are as outraged as we are. Especially since Harper ran his ENTIRE CAMPAIGN on ethics and accountability. I thought he couldn't get more hypocritical with his statement that SSM was destroying multiculturalism... Apparently I was wrong.

Even though I'm a Green Blogger I would like to be added to the list

At 6:21 p.m., Blogger RantandRoar said...

I'm not sure if you can hear me but I'm crying. I can honestly say, I don't ever remember feeling so let down in my entire existence than right here and now. I feel duped ...

At 6:59 p.m., Blogger dragev said...

Damian, don't you think you are being awfully presumptuous with your statement that "Emerson...flipp[ed] off every single person who voted for him by switching sides." Though not as prevalent as perhaps it should be, the fact is some people vote for the candidate and not necessarily for the party. I have even entertained the possibility that conservatives voted for Emerson even though they wanted a Conservative government.

I understand the point that you are making regarding campaigning on a certain brand, because to many people, unfortunately, the brand means everything, and their vote is as legitimate as a vote for a certain candidate. It just makes me sad that this is how our system is set up.

At 7:55 p.m., Blogger AwaWiYe said...

>Harper ran his ENTIRE CAMPAIGN on ethics and accountability.

Actually, he did not. He ran his entire campaign on ideas and policy. Accountability was only one facet of policy.

At 11:24 p.m., Blogger Jason Monteith said...

Sorry, I don't agree. People are hugely over-reacting to these moves in cabinet. I do have to admit that these moves are not ideal… the optics are not good for sure. But Harper is showing me that he’s more concerned with governing Canada in the best way rather than ensuring the optics always look pretty. He’s not afraid to make the tough decisions. That’s why Harper will make a good PM.

At 1:27 p.m., Blogger Ed said...

Babbler, you can add me to the list of conservative bloggers who are furious about the Fortier and Emerson appointments.

At 1:30 p.m., Blogger Aizlynne said...

Feel free to add me to your growing list.

At 7:53 p.m., Blogger K-Dough said...

Emerson is a dipstick- an attractive dipstick- but a dipstick nevertheless.
K-Dough's Canada

At 12:23 a.m., Blogger Whetam Knauckweirst said...

I have written to David Emerson demanding he resign, and have written to Stephen Harper, as well. I'm cynical about either missive having any effect whatsoever, but I'm tired of paving the way for these unethical bastards by simply rolling over.

At 10:46 a.m., Blogger The Infozone said...

Worst Nightmare.

David Emerson's promise may be coming true for Stephen Harper.

The main stream media has several different reports, but when read side by side, it looks like Harper should ask for a mulligan or a do-over on the Emerson affair.

Imagine leaving hardworking long time supporters out in the cold to put Emerson at the cabinet table?

Surely this is not what Standing up for Canada really meant.


At 11:58 a.m., Blogger 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?

At 12:24 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Yeah, you won't get any traction with me slagging Keith Martin. I disagree with his decision to switch parties, but at least he did it the right way: resign from Conservative caucus, sit as an independent, win the Liberal nomination, win the riding in an election.

That, and he called Paul Martin out for the disgraceful 'military ad', and refused to stand by him during the election for a health-care photo-op since KM believes in a 2-tier system, and PM doesn't.

He's a dope for joining the Liberals, but he's an honest dope, from what I can see.


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