Conservatives vent their rage on Emerson

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Do you think the headline of this post is actually going to happen to David Emerson, who crossed the floor today to join the Conservative party? Me neither.

OTTAWA - Former Liberal industry minister David Emerson will cross the floor and sit in the Conservative cabinet.

Stunned onlookers barely had a chance to ask a question of the Vancouver MP and former head of lumber giant Canfor as he strolled into Rideau Hall shortly before the Tory cabinet was being announced.

Pinching Emerson might be seen as Conservative retribution for the defection of Belinda Stronach, who went from being a Tory leadership candidate to a Liberal cabinet minister in about a year.

Several Conservatives responded by demanding laws forcing floor-crossers to go back to the electorate for another mandate.

In the recent federal election, Emerson was featured in televised Liberal election ads promoting the party in British Columbia.

He was also frequently under fire from the Tories in the last Parliament over a multibillion-dollar program in the Industry Department.

It is interesting to recall the reaction to Belinda Stronach's defection, which one could categorize as spittle-flecked rage on the part of the many conservative commentators. Even the most reasonable of voices got somewhat strident.

She was a traitor, a slut, a dumb blonde to name but a few of the epithets that were lobbed her way. How could she go from Conservative leadership hopeful to Liberal Cabinet Minister? Doesn't she have any principles? Actually, it was a pretty easy move for her, as she saw the Red Tory wing that she was part of being slowly purged from Conservative ranks.

She swears she didn't leave the Tories to get a cabinet job, because with all the non-confidence in the air she might have lasted as the Hon. Ms. Stronach for only a day.

"Baloney, And I certainly am not in it for the lifestyle." Yes, you should see the digs for her dad's outfit, called the Magna compound by locals. Stunning in the English manor sort of stunning.

Belinda maintains she just wanted the budget passed and she didn't think Stephen Harper should've pushed for a vote without more party support in Quebec.

She does talk about Harper, who is clearly not her kind of guy. "I wanted to see a modern mainstream party. The Conservative party is not the party of Brian Mulroney, fiscally conservative but socially liberal. They are fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. Canadians are more middle of the road."

Sounds pretty sensible, really, but that didn't stop conservative commentators from going completely bonkers.

Emerson, I suppose, could make a similar claim that he was following his principles, coming as he does from the Blue Grit camp of the Liberal Party.

David Emerson was first elected to the House of Commons, in 2004. He attended the University of Alberta and obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics. He then went on to Queen’s University, where he received his doctorate in economics.

In 1975, Mr. Emerson joined the Government of British Columbia, becoming the province's deputy minister of finance in 1984.

In 1986, Mr. Emerson left government to become president and CEO of the Western and Pacific Bank of Canada. Four years later, he was appointed deputy minister of finance, then deputy minister to the Premier and later president of B.C. Trade Development Corporation.

In 1992, David Emerson was appointed to lead the newly created Vancouver International Airport Authority. In 1998, Mr. Emerson was appointed president and CEO of Canfor Corporation.

So more power to him, I say. If he does his job well, the people of Vancouver-Kingsway will probably accept his floor-crossing as part of politics as usual. Certainly Stronach earned the respect and trust of her consituents, winning the last election more convincingly than she did as a Conservative.

Regardless, I calmly await the principled rage the Blogging Tories will no doubt send the traitorous Mr. Emerson's way.

Update: Edited to correct the name of Mr. Emerson's riding. (Thanks to Declan for noting the error.)

Update II: Damian, who appears to be on his last legs from some politically-caused bronchial spasm, notes in the comments that there is some dismay from right-of-centre circles.

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.

And yes, Damian, I note that Emerson was rewarded with a cabinet post, just like Belinda was. That's going to cheese off some longtime Conservative loyalists, who have worked patiently for years to get a seat at the big table. An inauspicous start for Harper's government.

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39 Comments

Vancouver Kingsway, not Vancouver Centre, but yeah, my first thought was to wonder how many bloggers would be calling Emerson a whore and wonder if we could cross-reference that with all those who said their reaction to the Stronach situation was neither partisan, nor gender biased.

As for the people in Van-Kingsway going along with this happily, I guess we'll see. I note that only 19% of voters in the riding voted Conservative last election, and the last time that area elected a Conservative federally was 1958 (when the PC candidate beat the CCF by 200 votes). I'm thinking Emerson must be hoping the government doesn't fall in the next month or two

Thanks, Declan, Edit made.

Interesting, Declan. I don't really know the riding that well, so thanks for the bit of history.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure the government won't fall in the next month or two, so Emerson will have a chance to build a track record as a Conservative. I would be surprised to see him as a minister, though, given how many long-serving Conservative members are clamouring for a seat in the slimmed-down Harper cabinet. A dicey move for a politician in a generally left-of-centre city like Vancouver.

On the bright side, that slut Emerson just gave the NDP king-maker status.

Damian, that's a bad cough you have there. Excellent post of yours, by the way.

Sorry, Tim, I can't hear you over the Conservative voices decrying this Emerson fiasco. Could you speak up a bit?

The cacaphony grows.

Tim, when I can point to a half-dozen critical Tory voices in less than three hours after your post, in the middle of a workday, I think you might want to rethink your position on how hypocritical all we Tories are.

'Cause it ain't holding up so far.

Yes, they certainly are vitriolic responses.

"I don't like it."

I hope Ben doesn't blow a gasket or anything in his rage.

I think you will note, Damian, that my post referred to the insane rage that accompanied Stronach's defection. I have still seen none of that, although you certainly come closest. But then, you were angry, but not one of the crazies when Stronach crossed the floor. In fact, If I recall correctly, you even rebuked the Small Dead One for her slimy publishing Stronach's cell phone mnumber.

I see the point you are making, but you are not directly rebutting my point (so far).

It is necessary to clarify something.

Conservatives may indeed behave in precisely the same ways as those whom they most detest and abhor. But Conservatives do it honourably.

Of course, Dana. How could I have missed that?

I have to say, after all the outrage about floor crossing into Cabinet I remember hearing only eight months ago from CPC MPs (let alone the online Conservative community) over Stronach's crossing into Cabinet, about how outrageous such a thing was this comes as something of a surprise. Well, not really. After all, I have maintained for a long time now that the CPC and especially its leadership are masters at the "outrageous" game while out of power but would show once in power to be at least as expedient as the Liberals were. Well what do you know, 2 weeks after the election and we see a former Martin Liberal Cabinet Minister suddenly being sworn in as a Harper Cabinet member. Not exactly consistent with his prior positions about MPs crossing the floor onto a Cabinet.

I think though what really bothers me about this appointment was listening to Emerson defend his decision. He can do more in Cabinet than out of Cabinet, well that was true for every Liberal Cabinet Minister out of a job now, what made him so special that he should think this rationale is at all acceptable? I also wonder how he is going to reconcile his election views of how bad a Harper government would be with his presence in a Harper Cabinet from the outset? Not to mention that he is almost certainly to be defeated if he runs as a Conservative next time out in that riding from what I gather about its makeup.

Then though we come to Fortier being appointed to the Senate and then the Cabinet. A significant patronage appointment in the same standards of the Liberal governments and PM he has decried, and whose lack of ethics he has decried. Not to mention his promise about doing politics differently. So far he looks exactly like a Liberal PM when it comes to this sort of thing, not exactly an auspicious beginning as a "different PM".

Ah well, expediency before principles, exactly what I have come to expect from Harper and the CPC.

Oh, Tim, I'm sure you would have realized it sooner or later. That's the primary difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals, you see. All those people who went on and on about there being no difference between them see that there's a difference now I'm sure. I mean who wouldn't see it now?

And this is it in a nutshell:

Liberals do underhanded, manipulative, unethical things out of a lust for power.

Conservatives do underhanded, manipulative, unethical things out of principle.

It's a huge difference.

Being from BC AND living in Van Kingsway I can say this.....few who know both actually thought Mr. Emerson was a liberal in the first place.

All you have to do is read that abbreviated bio Tim posted up and smell the Socred.

.

If I were in Emerson's constituency, I'd be outraged at what he did. How dare elected officials slap the voters in the face and cross the floor?! They should be sued for fraud! I don't care what party does it or for what reasons - it's wrong. If they want to change parties, a byelection should be called so that voters know who and what they are voting for.

What a scumball.

I actually think MPs should be able to switch parties more or less at will. It's one of the check's in a system like ours. Which means that while I think Emerson's act is pretty scummy, I also accept it as legitimate, just as I did Stronach's.

But for Harper to do this, so soon, just makes me laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Add it to the Senate appointment, and it's a beautiful thing.

Ian Welsh:

Exactly my problem with it. I accept the idea of floor crossing being legitimate, it is a part of our Parliamentary history and set up. It is the doing so two weeks after an election when there was zero indication of Emerson having any problems with either the Liberal Party or it's policies that is so troublesome and despicable. Combined with the reason he gave (which really sounded idiotic to me, he can be a better MP by being a Cabinet member of a party he ran against and decried as a bad thing for the eight weeks prior to election day?) which just reeks of power hunger/expediency and not principle and it is hard not to find his action offensive.

Combined with all the denunciations of allowing any floor crosser into Cabinet that the CPC MPs and online supporters were doing over Stronach's crossing into Cabinet and this exemplifies the do as I say not as I do mentality in the CPC itself. Expediency before principles was a founding aspect of this party from its creation. I am not at all surprised to find it is also going to be true of a Harper government literally from its first day out. Disgusted yes, surprised no.

Which means that while I think Emerson's act is pretty scummy, I also accept it as legitimate, just as I did Stronach's.

That's pretty much my position on it to, Ian. I'm not a fan of floor-crossing, but neither do gnash my teeth at the supposed injustice of it. If the voters feel put out, they eventually have a remedy at hand.

Actually, I don't hear many Conservatives bemoaning Emerson's conversion to the Bright Side, as opposed to the Dark Side. Split about equal between purists (it's a matter of principle) and the realists(whatever ...). Of couse not a peep should be heard from Liberals who were so high and mighty in their defense of BS. As for the NDP reaction, who cares. They're just another marginal party sorting out their union roots.

It's an excellent cabinet, made all the more well-rounded by Emerson's inclusion. He doesn't need a job, BTW and, if he wanted one, could do a lot better in private industry than Minister.

I believe that Harper has put together a core cabinet that is going to be quite collegial and business-like. Just what we Canadians need. My views:

http://www.thiscanada.com/2006/02/06/harpers-cabinet/

Now, just who do you think will come over from the 416? I'm trying desperately to identify someone who would give a big added-value boost to the Tories.

I don't understand the uproar. Doesn't anybody remember Peter McKay? To me, this is business as usual for the Conservatives.

Actually, the cabinet is quite substantial, Erik, just guided by a political philosophy I find repellent.

Someone with the pseud 20 20 writes the following in the G&M's comments 20 20 from Canada writes http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060206.wsallot0206/CommentStory/specialNewTory2006/home#comment101703:

"With David Emerson's move, Canadian sovereignty is even more on the line. Arctic smarctic red herring, the single biggest threat to Canada's sovereignty right now is the 'Deep Integration initiative'.

The biggest pusher in Canada of deep integration with the US is the powerful corporate lobby group, 'Canadian Council of Chief Executives'. They publicly lobbied our government for greater integration last year (with one John Manley). And the political-corporate-elite-filled government promptly agreed to just about everything they wanted by signing up to the Americans' 'Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America'.

This commitment was announced by which cabinet ministers? None other than David Emerson, then Minister of Industry, and Anne McLennan.

And guess who was once Vice-Chairman of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives? David Emerson.

And now David Emerson has taken what position? Minister of International Trade.

Individual Canadians that want to defend our sovereignty should look up 'David Emerson wants more foreign ownership', and of course 'The Deep Integration initiative'."

He raises an important issue I think.

Sorry, I just can't buy into the idea that floor-crossing is legitimate or acceptable, even if it has been a tradition. It's a tradition that should be scrapped. Are we not supposed to be electing people that represent us, not fool us? If not, why do we bother with having elections at all? If MPs have serious disagreements with what their party is doing, they can, if they have the guts and courage of their convictions, say so publicly and vote against the party line, and/or quit and run again for their preferred party or as an independent, in a byelection. I for one would expect that, in a perfect world. Too bad the world is really so imperfect.

It's just another back-room deal, another slimy try-to-pull-the-wool-over-their-eyes maneuver, to gain power. Pathetic.

http://www.electemerson.blogspot.com/ and http://removeemerson.blogspot.com/ are two blog sites that have cropped up in the past little while that are looking to do something at least.

Hi Scotian:

You seem to have forgotten that "EXPEDIENCY BEFORE PRINCIPLE" is a LIBERAL Mantra. LOOK for it again soon, especially in the upcoming months.

Harper has borrowed it for a little time, I believe, to try to make His Minority work. A brilliant strategy' Catch the liberals at their own game.

Gerry.

Oh yes, Gerry, brilliant indeed. Convince the voters that you mean what you say in regards to integrity, in regards to doing things differently, in regards to Senate appointments to cabinet, and then turn around on your first day in office and honk a big fat raspberry at the country. Brilliant.

Once again the anagram holds true. Voters cave in.

Gerry:

However it was the CPC that were telling Canadians at every turn that they did not believe in that, that for them expediency can not ever be placed above principles, and that they would not do so. It is called hypocrisy, blatant hypocrisy at that since anyone that actually knows anything about governance knows that there are times where expediency will win out. Indeed, you just showed that to be true for yourself and acceptable to you, where it was evil incarnate for the Liberals. It is called consistency and practicing what one preaches, and the CPC and Harper have clearly demonstrated that they are no better than the parties they bitterly and harshly decried for the exact same kind of conduct. The one big difference is that Harper and the CPC did it literally on their first day in power.

So in the next election a large group of stealth leftists should go get haircuts, buy brown suits and bibles and take over the conservatives in Alberta by promising to hang criminals by the thumbs, eliminate bilingualism and multiculturalism, etc etc and once elected to be the MP for Kicking Horse Pass or Weasel Piss Creek North or wherever, turn around and join the NDP or the Greens. Sounds like a plan to me...

Harper won't dare to call a by-election for Emerson. He wouldn't get vote one at this point and no one will ever believe a word he says ever again.

I too wrote last May that I didn't think that Stronach's cell number should be published, by the way.

I gave my honest reaction -- I don't like it. There's a cold sort of distaste for it all sitting at the bottom of my stomach.

And -- somewhere, on an incoming Tory MP's staff, there is a younger version of Stephen Harper who is quietly disgusted with it, who will leave Ottawa within the next year to find something else to do with him/herself.

And so the cycle of political history goes on...

How I wish everyone would give up calling the CPC "Tories"!

This is another animal.

Dana:

I know, which is why I don't call them Tories, otherwise I will have several deceased formerly elected ancestors rising up to haunt me for it. What they are doing to a proud tradition in this country has been heartbreaking since 2003, and I refuse to let them succeed in this transformation if I can help it. If/when I see evidence that the party truly has moved to the center and the Reformers that have had a lock on the power in the party no longer do, then I will consider that a party I can support, if they have the right policies/leader at the time of course, but my main objection to them will be removed. I particularly find it personally offensive what MacKay did, and how it was treated as a noble act, one of courage and honour, when it was clearly the most clear cut case of political treachery/betrayal by any party leader of those that elected him to that position in Canadian political history.

MacKay not only won as the no merger candidate, he ran his entire campaign on that pledge. The deal he signed with Orchard that he breeched was more in the nature of insult to injury, the real injury was his entire campaign. I strongly suspect those people in the PCPC and those that worked to elect Emerson two weeks ago have much the same feelings about their respective candidates. That MacKay is a trusted and valued member of this party for his lies and betrayal has always symbolized to me that the CPC is more interested in the ends than they are in the means being at all ethical/prudent/moral, just so long as they work.

Tories only exist these days in this country at the Provincial level, they are no longer existent at the federal level no matter how many times the CPC tries to claim otherwise. Tories I respected, disagreed with on some things, but that was/is true for the Liberals as well, but in general I could respect their positions. Not so the CPC, and especially not after the morals campaign they have been running literally since they were created in 2003. They never stopped after the 2004 election through the entire Session of Parliament through to this campaign until now. Suddenly all that is out and expediency and patronage and all the traditional corruption has become not only acceptable but somehow noble/moral. Got to love the speed at which this party and leader can go from one extreme to the other in such a short period of time. The one good thing is this was the first day of the very first CPC government ever, and this will leave a taint of corruption that can be used against the party for many years to decades (if the CPC lasts that long) by any of its opposition.

Dana & Scotian;

I may not Agree with what Harper did, however it was a brilliant move. The numbers are now different and He has a member of G'ovmt. with experience unknown by any other member of his cabinet. That alone is needed to make this Min.
last a little longer than 17 Dithering months of uninspired G'ovmt. Hopefully this is just not another "Fart in the Wind", like the previous
admin. It could not possibly be WORSE.

Gerry.

P.S. I believe we should give others a helping hand when needed. However I draw the line at helping everyone who think they are entitled to it. (Liberal Welfare Anyone.)

Looking forward to this Debate.
Gerry

Mr. Emerson should be totally ashamed of himself and if he isn't then he has no morals or ethics. For him to simply jump sides is a slap in the face to everyone that worked on his behalf, voted for him and beleived him when he said that he would be "Stephen Harper's worst nightmare".

It is no wonder that people think so badly of politicians. Stephen Harper compared Belinda Stronach to a prostitute when she switched sides. I wonder what comment he is preserving for Mr. Emerson? Oh, right. He is a hypocrite. So much for an open and honest government. Brace yourselves Canada, it is going to be a rough 4 years. Better start brushing up on your Amercian history!!

If Mr. Emerson is honest in his assertion that he is non-partisan, then where was that honesty when he ran as a Liberal?

Mr. Emerson is acclaimed as intelligent. I'm struggling to understand how so many can see the wrong in what he did when this intelligent man can not!

If there is any honesty, accountability and responsibility at all left in Canadian government, then the Ethics Commission will find that a) Emerson was had been offered a new position before the election; b) the deal was struck while Emerson was a Liberal MP, and before Harper was PM; c) Emerson owes his constituents and supporters almost $100,000 of campaign money.

Belinda Stronach is a complete fraud in every way and more. Just check out computer police files Goof! The file is locked down in police computers north america wide. Check out what Lorne Calvert has to say. Look up the words america hooker and you will have her.

Say it isn't so Colleen! Have you been reading and writing about locked down police files?
And who are you calling Goof? What has anyone on this blog said that allows you to call them the prison term of Goof?

Cool on ya, getting the dope out to the people like only you can. Only you and your superiors know the "real deal" on Stronach I guess.

All hail the rabbitty insider who rats out the enemy!

Just what is the new slant on Goof in prison, anyway?


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This page contains a single entry by Tim published on February 6, 2006 11:02 AM.

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