Richard Diamond, the President of the Young Liberals, endorses Scott Brison
with an unintentionally hilarious little argument:
Diamond said Brison's relatively short history with the Liberals should not be a deterrent. Brison was a Progressive Conservative MP until 2003.
"His vision is much more Liberal than many members of our own caucus," Diamond said.
"In the time that he has been a member, he had demonstrated the he is a true liberal. He believes in prosperity and that should be balanced with a social conscience and a progressive social agenda."
Belief in prosperity? Check. Balanced with a social conscience? Check. Progressive Social Agenda? Check. Put so broadly, who wouldn't claim to believe this. Isn't this just what Canada means to... everyone??
The willingness of lifelong Liberal party members to so swiftly jump on board the campaign bandwagons of those who so recently ran for the leadership of their natural opposition party startles and flabbergasts me. Just as with the Emerson defection - are loyalties to the positions espoused in a leadership race or national campaign really just so vapid?
Brison was a loyal member of the Progressive Conservative party for 25 years
, so presumably he voted against Trudeau, for Mulroney (twice), and against Chretien (three times). In 2003, he advocated pretty Conservative principles in running for the leadership of that party - presumably because he wanted to defeat it. Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And if you really have some spunk, aim to lead them.
But has he undergone some enormous transformation, or was he just a Liberal in sheep's clothing all along? Or is the Liberal party just whatever you make it? There was Brison arguing on Counterspin - against David Orchard and Brian Peckford - in favour of the dire need for a merged Conservative party. On December 3, 2003
. He votes for the entity on December 6th. Then - light years later - on December 10th
, he crosses the floor and on the 12th joins team Martin as Parliamentary Secretary. Much to the heartbreak, mind you, of the legions of Progressive Conservatives who Scott convinced to vote in favour of the merger because it was necessary.
Honestly, it is too laugh. Belinda is arguably the funnier case. To hear her tell it, she was the mastermind behind the CPC merger. She runs for the leadership of the new party in 2004 despite zero experience outside her father's company. Not remotely qualified to be Prime Minister, said Coyne in what might have been the column of the year
. Mike Harris, of all people, endorses her candidacy. Upon finishing second, she releases the following press release
"I have said all along that we must win the next election," Stronach said. "The most important contribution we can make toward winning is to unite behind Stephen and to support him 100 per cent."
"This was an exciting leadership race and I applaud both Stephen and Tonyfor running excellent campaigns," said Stronach. "But now the race is over and all competitors must focus on our real opponent, the Liberals.
Again, had matters changed so profoundly within 14 months within the Liberal party of Paul Martin, or the Conservative party of Stephen Harper? Nah, Stronach's "convictions" just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I would love to see someone dig up her leadership campaign platform, or Scott Brison's for that matter - just to watch them professionally bob and weave around their old positions. The fact that neither Belinda nor Brison could hold a candle to Harper in the French debates makes the continued references to their candidacies for Liberal leader almost surreal.
So here we arrive back to Diamond's endorsement. His main reason for supporting Brison:
"He's always demonstrated that he's bright, capable and energetic, and I think he speaks to a generational change that is really need right now if we are to appeal to young voters," Diamond said.
You want to appeal to young voters? How about not consistently proving, time and again, that politicians will say anything that suits their fancy, that they will coast along the breeze of last night's opinion polls. At some point, doesn't the tent just get too big?
You want to appeal to young voters? Give them someone with the courage of their own convictions - who has the temerity to hold long-standing ideas about what the country needs and argue for them. Give them someone who would rather lose than compromise on positions of principle.
The Liberals have an opportunity to put forward a Dion, or an Ignatieff. Here's hoping they seize that chance.