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Drama on the Hill!
February 6, 2006 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Canada's New Cabinet. Featuring thrills (former Liberal David Emerson crosses the floor to serve as International Trade Minister, and affect the balance of power), spills (Michael Fortier, who is not an MP, will be appointed to the Senate to serve as Public Works and Government Services Minister on the condition that he resign to run for Parliament in the next general election, upsetting some) and chills (everybody's favourite whipping boy, Stockwell Day as Minister of Public Safety). (as a bonus - and for those ignoramuses that care not for the intricacies of Canadian politics - pay some mind to the newly redesigned globeandmail.com, especially the prominence of public commentary on every article - it's the embodiment of newsfilter!)
posted by loquax (85 comments total)

 
Other highlights include Jim Flaherty at Finance, Peter Mackay at Foreign Affairs, Vic Toews at Justice, Tony Clement at Health and Gordon O'Connor at Defense. There will be no Deputy Prime Minister, among other notably axed portfolios in the first Conservative cabinet in 13 years.

Oh, and for those that were speculating about the next Liberal leader in the last thread about Canadian politics - no Manley, no Rock, no McKenna and no Tobin. Who's left?
posted by loquax at 11:55 AM on February 6, 2006


So, a non-elected official in the Cabinet (no, that's not how we're supposed to do things) and Doris...I mean Stockwell is back.

Oh, frabjous day. It's like Christmas all over for Rick Mercer, isn't it?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 12:00 PM on February 6, 2006


While pretty contrary to the CPC policies (whatever they may be at this point) regarding elected senates, the situation with Fortier is not totally unprecedented.
posted by loquax at 12:04 PM on February 6, 2006


Looks like some conservatives aren't too impressed.

"An appointed Senate is a relic of the 19th Century . . .".
posted by jikel_morten at 12:09 PM on February 6, 2006


You're right, as in correct, loquax. Still doesn't make the action right, as in a proper.

What happens if Fortier resigns from the Senate to run in a by-election, or something. Then loses in the election. Will he have the grace to resign from cabinet? Will Harper just re-appoint him to the Senate? Too many fishy possibilities.

Letting apparent cronyism in from day 1 does not bode well, imho. We'll play it by ear I suppose.
posted by C.Batt at 12:13 PM on February 6, 2006


So Emerson campaigns as a Liberal, is elected as a Liberal, and then is sworn in as a Conservative cabinet minister! The cynicism and arrogance in this manipulation of the electorate is truly breathtaking.
posted by 327.ca at 12:15 PM on February 6, 2006


The change in the balance of power is... interesting. I live in The Orange City, and it'll be interesting to see if our local MPs have a little more clout now.

Seems that the CPC really didn't want to have to deal with the Bloc.

It all depends on who the speaker is. Jack Layton must be rubbing his hands in glee right now.
posted by lowlife at 12:22 PM on February 6, 2006


Interesting cabinet. Funny that Stockwell Day is still in such a junior post. I think there's good potential for this cabinet to hold off any Western triumphalism, and I really like the age range represented with 3 Ministers in their 30s.
posted by mikel at 12:23 PM on February 6, 2006


Yes, it seems to me that if you're elected as a member of one party, then crossing the floor should trigger an election in your riding to let your constituents decide if you're serving them to their satisfaction.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 12:24 PM on February 6, 2006


Stronach and Brison are traitors, but Emerson's "a man of great intelligence, a man with a stellar record in the private sector, who is clearly committed to public service."

Boy, that didn't take long.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:30 PM on February 6, 2006


First day on the job and Harper's already broken several promises. This bodes well...
posted by arcticwoman at 12:32 PM on February 6, 2006


RE: the Globe and Mail redesign - you have register to even view the comments. Lame.
posted by spicynuts at 12:33 PM on February 6, 2006


Tony Clement as Health Minister?

*feels ill*
posted by stinkycheese at 12:36 PM on February 6, 2006


The new Globe and Mail design is about as bad as a site design gets. And as a bonus, it is interpreted differently on every browser! Web standards, people, web standards.
posted by hardcoreUFO at 12:36 PM on February 6, 2006


you have register to even view the comments. Lame.

Normally I'd agree with you, but I think this is worth it. Some of the commentary is quite good, on a variety of topics, and it certainly adds value to the site. I've posted numerous times, even blatantly attacking the globe for bias with respect to both the content of articles and the approval of other comments for posting, and have never been censored. The prominence of commenting has brought me back into the fold as a regular globe reader, and makes the hassle of registration worth it.

(although I do agree that the redesign is terrible, check out the editor's note and the 514(!) comments about it: Oh dear. What a mess. I can't find...Simply Terrible. Difficult to determine... Horrible. It wasn't broke, so why...)
posted by loquax at 12:50 PM on February 6, 2006



Normally I'd agree with you


Being that I'm not Canadian, I will have no need or even right to comment, however, being interested in Canada, I find it annoying that I don't get access to this quite good commentary without registering.
posted by spicynuts at 12:59 PM on February 6, 2006


Suppose we're going to see an apology from Harper and his buds over how they treated Stronach when she crossed the floor?

Naw, I don't think we will either. I was expecting this sort of thing, but not so much on the first day, y'know?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:02 PM on February 6, 2006


To access the globe and mail website:

cyperpunks/cypherpunks

works as a login/password combo. Is a domain name needed? I forget. It always just logs me back in.
posted by GuyZero at 1:06 PM on February 6, 2006


C.Batt writes "Letting apparent cronyism in from day 1 does not bode well, imho."

Well he knows he isn't going to run the full five years, got to crony as much as possible while he is there.
posted by Mitheral at 1:06 PM on February 6, 2006


Loquax - I'm going with Brison...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:07 PM on February 6, 2006


er, it should be cypherpunks/cypherpunks.
posted by GuyZero at 1:11 PM on February 6, 2006


I don't like MP's crossing (at all really) and becoming ministers the same day no matter which parties are involved, but the comparison with Stronach is a bit of a stretch. She not only ran for the CPC leadership a short time earlier, but her last-minute defection also killed the long-planned CPC-Bloc attempt to bring down the Liberal government. It's hard to accept that, especially when she appeared to get a cabinet position as a reward for saving the party she defected to. By contrast, this defection doesn't have the same whiff of self interest on the part of Emerson, or desperation and self-preservation on the part of the CPC, while still being slimy less than two weeks after an election during which he campaigned as a Liberal.

WinnipegDragon - I'm sticking to my initial 3-way teaser of Graham, Goodale and Ignatieff. Do you really think that Brison, a former PC leadership candidate who initially supported the CP-PC merger, who is gay and from the Maritimes has a shot? Honest question. Right or wrong, it seems to me like those are three strikes against his chances of being elected on a national scale.
posted by loquax at 1:14 PM on February 6, 2006


Wasn't Stephen Dion originally a non-elected cabinet minister? Seems like it's pretty much the same old same old in Ottawa. Wikipedia indicated he came into the house in a '96 by-election, but my memory wants to tell me that that was the effect of being appointed to cabinet, not the cause.
posted by GuyZero at 1:17 PM on February 6, 2006


Same shit, same bucket.

We need some real electoral reform, and some real reform of cabinet appointments.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:17 PM on February 6, 2006


What is it with big media sites and registration??? I like the new design, and I like the fact that every story has comments, but I'm sick of signing up for shit.
posted by slatternus at 1:26 PM on February 6, 2006


Guyzero: I think Dion was in cabinet before he was elected.

loquax: Graham can't run because he's interim leader. Also, I think Emerson's move is much worse than Stronach's. What has really changed in the past two weeks? He campaigned against Harper, whose party got something like 20% in his riding, and was even in provincial ads for the Liberals. Stronach didn't win her riding by a large margin the first time, but ran again as a Liberal and got more votes. Do Emerson's constituents support his move?

Furthermore, whatever you feel about MPs crossing the floor, and I disagree that it should be stopped, how can Harper defend this?
posted by maledictory at 1:26 PM on February 6, 2006


And having to register for Metafilter doesn't count, because Metafilter's...special.
posted by slatternus at 1:26 PM on February 6, 2006


Stockwell "Doris" Day is Harper's Sheila Copps, the press' goto guy for wacky, partisan comment (but we knew that going in). I suspect, like Ms. Copps in Heritage, that he's been deliberately put in a place where he can do little damage. Public Safety is the (newish) anti-terrorism and disaster response portfolio that Martin created for Anne McClellan when she was his minister of everything. It is a fairly technical ministry and will basically run itself if Day keeps his mitts off of it.

Emerson is a surprise. He was a one-termer under Martin, coming from a forestry company, and is going back into a very similar portfolio. When they said "The West Wants In", I'm not sure that the Conservatives meant that the country should adopt BC-style politics. If so, Harper should break-ground on his religeously-themed rollercoasters now.
posted by bonehead at 1:29 PM on February 6, 2006


As a constituent in Emerson's riding, you can bet I'm going to do everything I can to have the writ dropped and force a by-election. I don't care if it means knocking on doors, distributing petitions, whatever.

The idea that the Conservatives would campaign on the so-called "moral high ground" and then make a back-room deal with Emerson like this is absolutely ridiculous.

With Stronach, it's somewhat understandable why she crossed the floor. We could see how she didn't get along with Harper, didn't vote along party lines, and had many other differences. But if we call her an opportunist after doing what she did, one can only imagine the names we'll have for Emerson.

Regardless, though, in both cases the priorities and will of the constituency were flippantly dismissed. Talk about a democratic deficit!
posted by antifreez_ at 1:29 PM on February 6, 2006


nonsense, spicynuts -- not being American has never prevented any Canadian from commenting on politics in the US.
posted by bl1nk at 1:32 PM on February 6, 2006


loquax: Graham can't run because he's interim leader.

Really? Are you sure? If that's true, I guess I'm a fool for thinking that improved his chances.

Maledictory - I agree that the Emerson move is worse from the perspective of the constituency (as are all instances of MPs crossing the floor), but I feel it's (maybe slighty) less of a flagrant offense against our system of government than the Stronach move (and perhaps in a different class of opportunism). Either way, both were bad, and the CPC is certainly being hypocritical by throwing a Liberal into a cabinet position.

And having to register for Metafilter doesn't count,


You don't have to register to *read* Metafilter, as opposed to the Globe.
posted by loquax at 1:36 PM on February 6, 2006


The choice of finance minister does not improve my opinion of the Conservatives. From what I can gather from the web, he's a lawyer, a socially-conservative believer in "supply-side" economics, big on unaffordable tax cuts and privatization, little experience with finance other than helping Mike Harris cut back on everything except long-term budget deficits. Besides that he's said to think highly of George W. Bush, wanted to make homelessness illegal, and thought the war in Iraq was a great idea. I do wish they'd picked someone with a better record than that.
posted by sfenders at 1:37 PM on February 6, 2006


The interm leader is chosen to be a senior party member with no interest in the leadership. Graham has made it very clear that he has no interest in leading the Liberals.

My feeling is that Emerson should have go to sit as an independent if he wanted out of the Libs. He could then sign a coalition agreement with the Cons if he'd wanted to (and even, in theory gotten into cabinet) without actually joining the party.
posted by bonehead at 1:41 PM on February 6, 2006


I think some of the worst picks in the cabinet, and some of the scariest, are the old HArris people: Clement in Health (which is a cruel joke), Flahrety in Finance (more cuts and tax breaks for the rich), Baird in Treasury (how can one be gay and socially conservative?).

Big loser here? Diane Ablonsky. Denied!
posted by bonehead at 1:46 PM on February 6, 2006


GuyZero writes "it should be cypherpunks/cypherpunks"

Also now cyperpunks/cyperpunks

loquax writes "By contrast, this defection doesn't have the same whiff of self interest on the part of Emerson"

Worse, way worse. It reflects bad on both parties.

slatternus writes "And having to register for Metafilter doesn't count, because Metafilter's...special."

You don't have to register to read, though I didn't have to register to read at the G&M either, must be a selected area.
posted by Mitheral at 1:49 PM on February 6, 2006


Rick called Vic Toews as Minister of Justice.
posted by Mitheral at 1:56 PM on February 6, 2006


Graham has made it very clear that he has no interest in leading the Liberals.

Nuts. There goes one of my dark horse candidates.

Flaherty (the new finance minister) wanted to privatize the LCBO in Ontario - for that alone he has my respect. Not so much for some other things, but I always felt he got a bad rap for his proposal to outlaw homelessness. Whether or not it's a sound proposal aside, he was cast as a villain when the proposal was quite clearly intended to help homeless people get access to food, shelter and services. I also supported his school tax credit program. I have the feeling he won't be doing much as Federal finance minister anyways over the course of this government. Issues related to the budget will barely be up to the CPC, let alone Flaherty.

Worse, way worse. It reflects bad on both parties.

Well, this may be splitting hairs, but he was previously a minister under the Liberals, and has little to gain from this move, especially if he's (likely) defeated in the next (quick) election. I'm not sure I understand his motivations for doing this at all. Meanwhile Stronach lunged at power wherever she could get it the second it became available. CPC leadership, the cabinet position, now possibly the Liberal leadership. It seems clear that she's not particularly interested in her constituents or whatever principles she's espousing at any particular time. And the Liberals looked worse with Stronach in my opinion because they essentially sold a cabinet position for one vote in parliament, the very vote they needed to stay in power. How is that not blatant corruption? The CPC doesn't need his vote, really, and while it's still bad and hypocritical, and the last thing they should have done, I don't quite think it was at the level of the Stronach crossing.

I didn't have to register to read at the G&M either

You do have to register to read the comments, not a fair chunk of the site though.
posted by loquax at 2:02 PM on February 6, 2006


Let's see, so an appointed senator (not an elected member of parliament) becomes a minister responsible for potentially billions in spending. And what is it his Ministry does? Accountability and Transparency. Awesome.
posted by howling fantods at 2:23 PM on February 6, 2006


I'm kinda surprised that nobody's pegged Dosanjh to throw his hat in the ring. Sure, the last time he took over party leadership was disastrous for his party, but it wasn't exactly a reflection on his leadership.

Anyway.

Emerson is a chickenshit bastard. I don't know if there's a federal recall process, but if there is, he is the shiningest candidate for such a process. Van-Kingsway soundly voted against the Tories. They didn't vote for Emerson or for the NDP candidate; Van-Kingsway voting was significantly strategic.

And it is entirely predictable that so very few of the Reformer braintrust who railed against Stronach's defection are saying anything against Emerson's. Then there's Harper's immediate Senate appointment.

The Liberals may have been dishonest, but they weren't such overwhelming hypocrites, which in my books is much, much worse.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:38 PM on February 6, 2006


Issues related to the budget will barely be up to the CPC, let alone Flaherty.

Well, maybe so. My concern is that they will be able to cut taxes, because people seem to like tax cuts, but they won't be able to even pretend to cut back on spending to compensate. Flaherty has reportedly said some things that make me think that he, like the American government in 2000, thinks that the government having a small budget surplus is not a sign of good management, but a problem to be solved. It could well turn out to be a problem they manage to get rid of easily, much like they did in the USA.
posted by sfenders at 2:43 PM on February 6, 2006


What is it with big media sites and registration??? I like the new design, and I like the fact that every story has comments, but I'm sick of signing up for shit.

It's sometimes amusing, though. nytimes.com refused to accept six bugmenot logins in a row, so I was forced to actually sign up myself. I chose "lickmyballs" but apparently 665 people had been there before me with the same idea so I had to settle for the next number. So now I am greeted by a cheery "Welcome lickmyballs666!" every time I access the site. Which makes me feel happy and appreciated.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 2:45 PM on February 6, 2006


So do his election votes still count towards liberal funding? Was he already reimbursed for party authorized electoral expenditures or will the CPC have to pick up the tab now? Do his staffers bail? I want to know the logistics.
posted by srboisvert at 3:21 PM on February 6, 2006


Dosanjh's stated reason for not running is that he doesn't speak a word of french. As he puts it, he is bilingual, but his second language is hindi, so that doesn't help him very much.

Stronach has the same problem, btw.
posted by bonehead at 3:31 PM on February 6, 2006


We need some real electoral reform, and some real reform of cabinet appointments.

fff, leaving aside the issue of electoral reform, what kind of reform of cabinet appointments is possible? Or desirable, for that matter? They're picked by the person who's been asked by the GG to form a government. How else should they be picked? And they're "confirmed" by a vote on the Throne Speech. Seems sensible.

loquax, Graham could theoretically run for leader, though the party would make him resign as interim leader if he declared his intention to run. He was picked as interim leader for, among other reasons, his lack of interest in the leadership.

I think it's improper of Emerson to cross the floor before even seeing the floor again after the election. That's seriously disrespectful to his constituents.

But I do dig reviving this cabinet minister in the Senate thing. I think this is just the sort of situation for it, and I'm glad to see the Conservatives are not so dogmatic about the Senate that they won't take advantage of the flexibility of a parliamentary system to ensure regional representation (which is really the only acceptable reason to use this tool, IMO). I think that he should run for parliament as soon as possible - and if he loses, he has to resign as minister - but until then, this is the appropriate time to use this parliamentary tool. Mackenzie Bowell actually governed from the Senate for a time, though that wouldn't fly today, of course. And Bowell was possibly the worst Prime Minister ever. But moving on...
posted by Dasein at 3:38 PM on February 6, 2006


For starters, it'd be nice if cabinet appointees were actually, y'know, somehow qualified for the job.

Any asshole can be elected, and a lot of them are. Not every asshole can balance a budget wisely.

I also want a means to take assholes to court if they fail to properly represent their constituency. As with that RIAA bimbo who tried so hard to destroy our right to make copies of music we purchased.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:06 PM on February 6, 2006


For starters, it'd be nice if cabinet appointees were actually, y'know, somehow qualified for the job.

I agree, but this is a democracy, not a meritocracy. Cabinet, especially, is not a meritocracy. If there's one Conservative from Nova Scotia, you know his qualification for Cabinet is that he's from Nova Scotia. The Conservatives are probably closer to a meritocratic cabinet than other parties would be, in part because they won't care so much about whether there's "gender balance" etc. in Cabinet. Anyway, it's not really realistic to expect that there will be experts on all the different portfolios in the caucus - that's what they have the bureaucracy for.

I also want a means to take assholes to court if they fail to properly represent their constituency.

Seems more like an issue for the next election to me. You want unelected judges booting out elected representatives on the grounds that they didn't...what? Vote a certain way? You give that discretion to your MP when you elect her.

As with that RIAA bimbo who tried so hard to destroy our right to make copies of music we purchased.

I vaguely remember this...this was in the U.S.? Who was this? I tend to think that if we elect douchebags like this in the first place, we can't really complain when they do stupid things in office. Especially if we don't kick them out at the first opportunity.
posted by Dasein at 4:24 PM on February 6, 2006


I also want a means to take assholes to court if they fail to properly represent their constituency.

That will never happen so long as the Queen is head of government, because of the impenetrable shield of parliamentary privilege.

I vaguely remember this...this was in the U.S.? Who was this?

Sam Bulte, the Liberal incumbent who was defeated by the NDP last month.
posted by solid-one-love at 4:30 PM on February 6, 2006


Daesin, I think FFF is talking about Sam Bulte, who was beaten in Parkdale-High Park by Peggy Nash of the NDP.

Wonder what she's doing now.
posted by lowlife at 4:30 PM on February 6, 2006


"I intend to be the Conservative Party's worst nightmare if they stray into areas where I think their policies are not serving the interests of Canadians and British Columbians,"

-David Emerson, shortly after the election loss.

Or he'll take a chance and just join them and shut his mouth. Right...
posted by jikel_morten at 4:30 PM on February 6, 2006


Anyway, it's not really realistic to expect that there will be experts on all the different portfolios in the caucus - that's what they have the bureaucracy for.

In fact, it's almost a requirement (and certainly tradition) that you not be a expert in the area of your portfolio, the idea being (as mentioned) that there is a bureaucracy in place that is far more knowledgeable than you already, that you arrive with fresh ideas and perspectives, and that you are not (too) beholden to special interests. Members of the government should be good managers, not specialists. Quite the opposite of the States, where the bureaucracy is thrown out every 4 years, and you have to be an "expert" if you're going to be a secretary of whatever.
posted by loquax at 4:34 PM on February 6, 2006


I just do not understand the Fortier move from Harper. I mean, to hand out a cabinet position / senate seat, something which you campaigned against, to a friend, on your first day in office no less, compromises so much of the uber hyped, anti-crony, clean government we heard so much about during the runup to the election.

Anyway, it's ammunition for the opposition...a gift.
posted by jikel_morten at 4:45 PM on February 6, 2006


Anyway, it's ammunition for the opposition...a gift.

Well, maybe, but it's also a shot across the Liberal bow in Montreal. I guess they figure he's worth the shots they'll take for it, especially with a declawed opposition for the next little while.
posted by loquax at 4:51 PM on February 6, 2006


I'm kinda surprised that nobody's pegged Dosanjh to throw his hat in the ring.Dosanjh already addressed this in the last week or so. Not a chance, he speaks English and Punjabi, not French. That pretty much rules you out when it comes to leading a party in Canada, for now.

Sucks that, while I questioned Dosanjh when he went Liberal instead of NDP, I still have more respect for him than most of the other losers in Ottawa.Pretty impressive move by Emerson though, I never thought I'd see anyone make my MP, Hedy "crosses are burning" Fry look respectable.
posted by Loctor at 5:02 PM on February 6, 2006


jikel_morten, it's not really cronyism, I don't think - I mean, it's not a permanent appointment. It's certainly not "dirty." And it's probably a smart move if he wants to take any Montreal ridings next time, even given that some people out West will be angry (he's not going to lose seats there because of this).
posted by Dasein at 5:11 PM on February 6, 2006


Naming a unilingual anglophone to the post of Canadian Heritage Minister was an interesting touch. I guess there really are more Ministerial posts than there are French-speaking conservatives...
posted by clevershark at 6:18 PM on February 6, 2006


Well, okay, I'll take it all back. Things are better than I thought.

I still, however, don't like any of our politicians.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:30 PM on February 6, 2006


jikel_morten, it's not really cronyism, I don't think - I mean, it's not a permanent appointment. It's certainly not "dirty."

Well, it's not dirty, per se. It is allowed, legal and all that. But it is helping out a friend, to the detriment of the democratic process, imo. And just because it isn't permanent doesn't mean that he didn't give his friend a position that should be given to someone elected - I imagine there'd be some overlooked and pissed veteran conservative MPs tonight within the party, but that's another discussion.

I realise what he is doing strategically, appeasing and or giving a voice to Montreal and Vancouver residents who are currently seatless in the new government, but it just seems so contrary to everything Harper and the conservatives hated about the Liberals.
posted by jikel_morten at 6:40 PM on February 6, 2006


And just because it isn't permanent doesn't mean that he didn't give his friend a position that should be given to someone elected

I think you get to the heart of it - this would be intolerable if there were any elected MP from Montreal, but since there isn't, I buy the argument that it's important to have Montreal represented in cabinet, especially given the relative sparseness of other Quebec Conservatives. (They'd have a harder time making the case for Toronto given the 905 - also, they don't need a big breakthrough in Ontario next time.)

but it just seems so contrary to everything Harper and the conservatives hated about the Liberals.

I think you're right - and it's why he's getting a lot of people back home angry. But they're learning that compromise of your principles is the price of power. And I don't think their absolutist principles on this one made much sense, anyway.
posted by Dasein at 7:12 PM on February 6, 2006


Loquax -

Sorry for the late reply. Too many meetings today, so I had to actually work.

I think Brison has a shot, yes. He might scare off some of the centre-left voters, and the centre-right voters that go Liberal, but he'll draw Green and NDP voters back to the Liberal fold.

It's not a guarantee obviously, but he has a chance.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:33 PM on February 6, 2006


But they're learning that compromise of your principles is the price of power.

Good point. It's one thing to take the high road while you armchair govern, and quite another to actually be in power and face the day to day.
posted by jikel_morten at 7:37 PM on February 6, 2006


I think Emerson's crossing is MUCH worse than Stronach's. Say what you will about her supposedly power-hungry motives, she at least had the opportunity to make her decision based on something other than a $70k raise and a cushy cabinet post before you go back to make your millions (more) in the private sector. Even if you don't believe her reasons, she at least could pay lip service to some idea behind it.

From what I heard on the CBC tonight the locals are furious, BTW, but I guess they could cherry pick any quote they wanted. We shall see how this plays out.

As far as Culture is concerned, Bev Oda actually seems kind of qualified, having worked in TV and been on the CRTC and such. BUT - don't expect anything different from her than we would have gotten from Bulte or Frulla or anyone else that was put in that post.

West Ottawa's Baird got the Ottawa cabinet post. Should be inoffensive enough there, and it's good locally that he's likely to stop Reg Alcock's insane shared services crap. Trust government to be 10 years behind on the discredited industrial trends. Baird is THE key guy in this government at the moment, by the way, because Harper's comments about the senior bureaucracy went over very badly here. The government has to completely rely on these people, so Baird basically has to clean up Harper's mess. Wonder if he can do it?

Cannon getting Transport is a bit of a come-down for someone who was tagged as a possible Deputy PM - but I guess it has almost become the Quebec leader's job, Transport. I also suppose it helps considering Air Canada and Via are both HQd in Montreal. And there's lots of unaccounted-for money there as well. Mmmm.

It's curious that Justice and Foreign Affairs are both front-rank Cabinet posts but in the past few years they have really gone down in stature. We hardly heard from the silent but qualified Cotler and they split the DFAIT department reducing its stature in crazy ways. And yet here we get McKay and Toews, two very prominent folks. I wonder if they're due for an upgrade again?
posted by mikel at 8:12 PM on February 6, 2006


Wonder what she's doing now

Might want to keep an eye on Bulte's replacement, Bev Oda who has also accepted campaign contributions.

Wonders what gets served at a $250 a plate dinner ...
posted by squeak at 8:58 PM on February 6, 2006



From what I heard on the CBC tonight the locals are furious, BTW, but I guess they could cherry pick any quote they wanted.


I'm three blocks from his riding. Believe me, they're furious.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:10 PM on February 6, 2006


Unsurprisingly my MP, whose main qualification for the position of Health Critic was his spankingly photogenic wheelchair, has been sent to the backbenches.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:30 PM on February 6, 2006


Your MP sounds like a near-perfect Canuck to me, Alvy:
He became a complete quadriplegic in 1996, after hitting a moose with his vehicle while travelling to a geological engineering job in northern Manitoba.
Moose, mining, and Manitoba all in one.

Only thing keeping him from being perfect is that he failed to miss the moose.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 PM on February 6, 2006


squeak: at a $250 a plate dinner? Rubber chicken. Expensive rubber chicken.
posted by mikel at 5:01 AM on February 7, 2006


I'm three blocks from his riding. Believe me, they're furious.

solid! I had no idea we were in the same neighbourhood! How delightful!

Also: I concur. The denizens of Vancouver-Kingsway are spitting nails over this.
posted by antifreez_ at 10:12 AM on February 7, 2006


solid! I had no idea we were in the same neighbourhood!

Are we? My map points right at my house, but yours points to Point Roberts, so I thought that jeffj and russilwvong were closest.

Anyhow. An old girlfriend who lives in the riding was telling me last night about the buckets of murderous rage dripping from her and her neighbours. The Sun this morning had one positive letter from a resident, but the view appears overwhelmingly negative. Stronach's riding (Aurora-Newmarket?) shrugged their collective shoulders when she crossed the floor. Van-Kingsway is out for blood.

The Reform Tory candidate in last months election only got 20% of the vote. Van-Kwy is a lefty stronghold, and I suspect that this is going to backfire on the Tories in next year's election -- it could cost them one or more of the three seats they were actually elected to in the GVRD.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:31 AM on February 7, 2006


Stronach's case was different, mostly I think, because there was a feeling that the party had left her, rather than she had left the party. Remember Stronach was instrumental in getting the CCRAP and PCs in the same room. When Harper won, there was very much the perception that Stronach, the party builder, was being ignored in favour of Harper's old Reform backroom buddies from Calgary. Her options for future advancement certainly seemed bleak. Since she's widely rumored to be a red Tory anyway (a "Bill Davis" Tory), jumping to a blue Grit wasn't all that far. Her defection in many quarters was simply viewed as smart. Opportunistic, to be sure, but smart.

Emerson, on the other hand, is sickening in his brazenness. Equally sickening are the new Tory "whoremongers".
posted by bonehead at 11:15 AM on February 7, 2006


I hope the V-K riding figures out how to force a new election for themselves. I am completely disgusted that our politicians are able to pull cheapass stunts like this.

We need better accountability.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:17 AM on February 7, 2006


I hope the V-K riding figures out how to force a new election for themselves. I am completely disgusted that our politicians are able to pull cheapass stunts like this.

The thing is, you can only pull it once.
posted by Jairus at 3:25 PM on February 7, 2006


Yes, but the punishment should be swift and severe. That asshat is going to have four years of a paycheque on our dollar, opportunities to make crony contacts, and so on.

Let him fry, now.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:59 PM on February 7, 2006


preliminary googling suggests that there is no mechanism available for the recall of an elected MP. :(
posted by jeffj at 8:17 PM on February 7, 2006


Expensive rubber chicken.

Too bad, kinda hoped they'd put more emphasis on good food rather than the mutual masturbatory back patting that can go on at events such as that one.
posted by squeak at 8:25 PM on February 7, 2006


Nearest I can figure is to press charges. We have laws about selling one product and delivering another. We have laws about good faith negotiations and suchlike. Surely there must be a way to frame it in a way that makes it acceptable to the courts!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:11 PM on February 7, 2006


Nearest I can figure is to press charges. We have laws about selling one product and delivering another. We have laws about good faith negotiations and suchlike.

There is precedent at the provincial level that candidates are not required to deliver on campaign promises (or even try to), as per the failed lawsuit five years ago against Mike Farnworth, Graeme Bowbrick, and other BC provincial cabinet ministers, and you'd never get him charged with a crime, as the RCMP are notaly careful about dealing with MLAs and MPs.

First, the RCMP would have to get permission from the Speaker to even begin an investigation. And if the Speaker said "parliamentary privilege", that would be the end of the issue, with no avenue of appeal.

All you can do is vote him out next time.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:18 PM on February 7, 2006


Damn.

Constituents are calling it "fraud" and want repayment of the money they gave to the campaign.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:03 PM on February 8, 2006


from my own communications with Elections Canada:

"For a by-election, the Governor in Council at the request of the Prime Minister makes an order that directs the CEO to issue the writ, and fixes the date of the issue of the writ and of the by-election."

he then pointed me to the Canada Elections Act.

so, a recall doesn't appear likely. a court challenge, perhaps?
posted by nobbie at 3:56 PM on February 8, 2006


otoh, it looks like recalldavidemerson.ca and recalldavidemerson.com have been registered by Convergence Communications Inc. :)
posted by nobbie at 3:59 PM on February 8, 2006


Emerson blocked deal on softwood lumber just before defecting which now puts his motivations for doing so under quite a bit of suspicion.
posted by zarah at 2:08 AM on February 9, 2006


five fresh fish writes "That asshat is going to have four years of a paycheque on our dollar, opportunities to make crony contacts, and so on"

Well upside is it is really unlikely to be four years.
posted by Mitheral at 9:52 AM on February 9, 2006


As far as I've been able to ascertain, the means to have the writ dropped and trigger a by-election is contained in Bill C-371, otherwise known as the Recall Act. It was drafted in 1997, and I'm not sure if it's been revised since then (I couldn't find anything mentioning a revision).

Paragraph 3 of subsection 3 reads, "No proposal for a petition for a recall election may be made in respect of a member within the first twelve months following the date the member was elected."

It appears, then, that we're stuck with this jerkass for at least 12 months, then.
posted by antifreez_ at 1:37 PM on February 9, 2006


Well, y'all could harass the ass out of office. Picketing his office and annoying hell out of any and all members of Harper's cabinet might make a difference.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:18 PM on February 9, 2006


great find, antifreez_. i personally think that we should initiate the petition as per C-371, and then let it get rejected because of section 3.3. we could then use that as an excuse to get this into a court, which is the only place we have any hope of kicking his ass out of office.
posted by nobbie at 4:32 PM on February 11, 2006


Do it, man. This is an opportunity to prevent our politicians from becoming as corrupt and assheaded as US American politicians. We gotta avoid riding that handbasket to hell.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:19 PM on February 11, 2006


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