Get ready for a big rant from me today.
All I will say is I've seen it all now from these fools in federal politics with this David Emerson floor-crossing. Anyway, here's the story on how this deal went down.
Needless to say the bloggers are having a big cow over this. People are going nuts comparing this move to what happened with Belinda. I'm even comparing this move to what went down with Belinda. Frankly, this is in the same league of political hijinx. A power-hungry politician decided to cross the floor for political gain, again. Nothing has changed in freaking Ottawa. Nothing.
I am amused by the people who find this move to be different from what went down with Belinda, these bloggers like Angry in the Great White North who think this move is somehow morally superior. The arguments Angry and the rest are making are summed up as follows:
(1) Belinda's defection was an outright Liberal attempt to use cabinet seats as bait to get people to switch over to vote for the government and allow it to survive a non-confidence vote; the Emerson defection had no such dramatic consequences for the government's survival.
(2) Stephen Harper was looking for the best and the brightest people in his cabinet regardless
of political affiliation and the highly-educated Emerson was best suited to give British Columbia a voice at the cabinet table on the important softwood lumber issue, plus it redressed the lack of urban representation in the cabinet that people were screaming about. So luring Emerson is schrewd, while Belinda's switch was crass opportunism because everyone knows Belinda is a complete idiot. (Or words to that effect.)
I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Sure, Emerson may be great, and sure, Belinda may be an complete idiot. But the bottom line is that someone elected under one party banner was still enticed to cross the floor with a cabinet post. The electors in Vancouver-Kingsway, most of whom strongly rejected the Conservatives in favor of the Liberals and NDP, all got hosed. So we get the same hijinx as before.
And supposedly there's a long history of people crossing the floor, and Liberal Larry Desjardins did it in Manitoba to prop up the NDP, and Jim Melenchuk did it in Saskatchewan, and all those Liberals in BC crossed the floor to join the Social Credit Party in the 70s to stop the NDP. So suddenly we're saying that it's accepted practise to lure people over when we were screaming and yelling last spring about all the Conservative voters in Newmarket-Aurora who were disenfranchised when Belinda walked over to the Liberals? I'm sorry, I just don't accept it.
What happened to our principles?! Darnet, this isn't what I voted for, this isn't what I campaigned for on all those cold days in January when I was out there with candidate Eugene McDermott in my local riding. I thought I was Standing Up for Canada, I thought I was supporting more accountable government. I sure look like a fool.
I don't deny this was a brilliant move on Harper's part. He's given British Columbia a lot of clout in the new government with this move and made the Liberals look like they are in chaos. He's making sure the cities are getting represented and ensuring the best and the brightest are attracted to his government, all in an attempt to build the party and help it win more seats next time. And Emerson probably can do more as a member of the government than wasting his time on the backbenches. Sure, this is a brilliant move by Harper. But it doesn't make what happened right. The people of Vancouver-Kingsway voted Liberal and now are represented by a floor-jumping Conservative. So much for all that BS about "accountability," so much for our principles. So much for all our rants about Belinda's switch.
Then again, maybe this is exactly what the people of Canada deserve. The people of Canada have passed judgement on this sort of floor-jumping time and again with their votes. The Liberals lured people to cross the floor all the time, and they kept on getting re-elected. Heck, not only did Belinda cross the floor, but so did Scott Brison, Keith Martin, and these other turncoats. And these people not only got re-elected, they won by bigger margins than the last time! Belinda won by an increased majority! Big, freaking victory for that woman!
The people of Canada have also repeatedly rejected recall and these other measures that could have held these politicians in check. You would bet David Emerson would have thought twice had the threat of a recall been hanging over his head. But Canadians from coast to coast have repeatedly screamed and yelled "we don't want recall, or direct democracy! We do not want to be California!" Maybe people in BC support recall movements and the like, but the rest of Canada sure doesn't. They don't want the chaos you get from recalling your elected officials all the time; they'd rather see them go rule by decree.
Well, this is what you get in a country that doesn't want to be like California: you get people crossing the floor to be in Cabinet, who then get re-elected. Like I say, Canada, you endorsed this nonsense. You say you don't like it when politicians hose their partisans by switching parties. But then you fools all go ahead and vote for it!!
This Emerson defection may be political hijinx, but it's political hijinx endorsed at the ballot box by the people of Canada. Controversial as this floor-crossing-for-a-cabinet-seat is, Canadians have had their say; it doesn't bother them. If it didn't matter when Belinda crossed to the Liberals, why should it matter now? If such concerns had ever mattered to people in this country, the Reform Party would still be in business.
Stephen Harper simply is doing what the people want- or more accurately, doing what he thinks he can get away with doing. His gang felt he had carte blanche from the voters to lure Emerson over. Guess what, folks, he's got it! The Liberals are running around in circles trying to decry a practice that they've been doing for years, poaching the opposition parties. It's obvious the Conservatives felt they could get away with their arguments about how Emerson's talents were better put to use in government than in the opposition, and how there were high-minded reasons why Vancouver needed to be represented in the cabinet, and so on and so forth. They lured Emerson over because they knew they could do it and get away with it, because the people of Canada have shown time and again that they will do nothing to stop it from happening.
It's cynical politics. And it's SAD.