Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pursuing the Turncoat

Forgive the few days of singular focus on David Emerson's defection here, but as mentioned below, this really has the potential making of a unique opportunity in Canadian politics. Consider this the last in a series.

Why? First, check out Tarantino and Coyne and Cosh for varied, thorough, and final debunking of the many supposed justifications for the move into cabinet. Also consider that while the appointment of Fortier, especially by this government, certainly reeks (and will probably provide greater fodder for the Liberals when the House sits) - it is not wholly unprecedented in this democracy.

The Emerson situation is that extra shade unprecedented. A turncoat after a mere two weeks (arguably after one night!). A public admission that absolutely no principles played a role in his decision - Emerson himself says that it amounted to simple electoral math. Simply put, he would sit with whoever formed government, regardless of his constituent's wishes, regardless of the party platform and promises he campaigned on, and regardless of his past statements against his opponents.

Truly, the man has shown nothing but contempt for the democratic process by which he secured election to the highest levels of our government. To those dismayed at the idea of their candidate voting with Harper on the key issues of the new Parliament - too bad. To those frustrated that he misappropriated donations intended to help elect a "Liberal" - suck it up, I raised my share of money for you anyway, he says.

And yet, he insists on remaining the sole judge of the propriety of his new found conversion, refusing to put his assertions that he is acting in the "people's best interests" to the test. Now, ironically, his big regret is that he got involved in public life two years ago. Heh. Funny that he never seemed to pick up on the fact that the voters might wish to keep tabs on you in between elections. I bet many of recent allies wish he hadn't bothered either.

As Tartcider pointed out, the real affront here is to the residents (essentially disenfranchised) of Vancouver-Kingsway. But there remains a wider principle at play. Emerson's arrogant and presumptive behavior calls out for a strong response, if only to serve as a cautionary tale for future opportunists who need to see consequences attach to such cynical behavior. If he gets away with this move relatively untouched, truly anyone can rely on any excuse to plop comfortably into cabinet, for whatever reason tickles the fancy.

SO - over to you, good residents and Liberals of greater Vancouver. Hold his feet to the fire, for as long as it takes. And to Conservatives dismayed at Harper's role in this debacle, bravo for adding your criticism to the mix as well. Keep this story simmering. Maybe you'll succeed in getting Ablonczy or Moore into the cabinet yet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey MacDuff...guess what? Politics has been and will always be messy. The only reason the G&M is still beating the drum on this issue is because they know the Liberals are wandering close to the edge of political wilderness. Harper's decision on Emerson helps not only his cause but also the NDPers who have a golden opportunity to take out the Liberal left flank. Even Larry Zolf, a fellow socialist like yourself, but a political watcher for eons seems to get the bigger picture (CBC website). Furthermore, the Star is reporting this morning that a negotiated agreement is close on the softwood lumber negotiations. Doesn't it make sense that Harper needs your pal Emerson to finalize it and then sell it to the forest industry? So at the end of the day Emerson's decision to cross was wrong to his constituents but right for the thousands who depend on work in forestry industry. I strongly believe that the good that will come of this mess will offset the bad.

11:57 AM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

As a purely political move, it's fine.

The thing is, I thought -- and I think some others thought -- that Harper was going to be different.

He may yet get some good things done, but he's ... well:

Nothing. But, my dear Lady Chiltern, I think, if you will allow me to say so, that in practical life -

[Smiling.] Of which you know so little, Lord Goring -

Of which I know nothing by experience, though I know something by observation. I think that in practical life there is something about success, actual success, that is a little unscrupulous, something about ambition that is unscrupulous always. Once a man has set his heart and soul on getting to a certain point, if he has to climb the crag, he climbs the crag; if he has to walk in the mire -


He walks in the mire. Of course I am only talking generally about life.

[Gravely.] I hope so. Why do you look at me so strangely, Lord Goring?

It's a sad thing.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Barrelman said...

What's ironic is that (as per the Globe and Mail) only 20% of the people in his riding knew who he was last fall.

I think he is considerably better know now.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a petition for Mr. Harper’s unelected friend, Michal Fortier, to resign his senior cabinet post until he runs and wins in a by-election for a seat in the House.

Sign the Petition for unelected Michael Fortier to resign his cabinet post

Please forward this link to as many Canadians as you can.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Eric van Iersel said...

Hi James, I'll be posting news on the Emerson situation in Vancouver on my blog over the coming days, and I will let you know if anything particularly interesting pops up. Check out the Star today for a photo of a demonstrator outside Emerson's office and an interesting article re: the ongoing softwood lumber dispute.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James Eric is right on the money/

The constituents down here in Vancouver are angry. I believe there were two pissed demonstrators and fourteen reporters covering the story yesterday. Emerson is down for!!!

4:51 PM  

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