Sunday, February 12, 2006


The Two Timer and Sloppy Seconds (UPDATE)

The hits just coming for the Harper government.

Carol and David will have a couple of things to talk about around the cabinet table.

Private Member's Motion 38th Parliament

M-265 - Mrs. Skelton (Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar)

That, in the opinion of the House, any Member of Parliament who wishes to join a governing party between general elections must sit as an independent Member of Parliament for 35 sitting days, upon which a by-election will be held in the Member of Parliament's riding and the electorate will decide if they will re-elect that Member under their new political banner.

UPDATE - Apparently getting into cabinet has caused Ms. Skelton to suffer from some amnesia.

Skelton had a more emotional response to Belinda Stronach last May when the high-profile Conservative crossed the floor and joined Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal cabinet.

MAY 17, 2005: MPs feel 'betrayed' by Stronach's defection "I will tell you honestly, I was sick to the stomach when I heard it," Skelton said then.

Now, "It's one of those matters that is debatable," Skelton said Thursday. "I thought about it many times. And there are benefits to both sides of the story."

Summary - Her principles are worth a nice office and a limo.

Garth Turner has some comments on his blog.

I am a democrat who believes everyone in the House of Commons, including the cabinet members who make up the government, should be elected. They should sit in Parliament as they were elected. If they decide to change parties, they should go and get re-elected.

It would be a great idea for Mr. Emerson to do that, and hopefully he will decide that’s the right course of action. Given his new high-profile and powerful position, one would expect voters would be impressed enough to elect him as a Conservative. But maybe not. That’s their choice.

UPDATE - Those wanting to visit Garth can see him in a broom closet in the basement of West Block.

Myron Thompson is getting even more chatty. Thompson, one of the original members of the Reform caucus, said the Emerson decision is not sitting well with him or his constituents.

Thompson said also wants to see legislation in place to prevent people from crossing the floor. When asked if Emerson should resign his seat and run in a byelection, Thompson said. "Without the legislation in place to force it, I wouldn't suggest that has to be the case. I would say if he did it it would be the honourable thing to do."

Even the UNELECTED good Senator (subscription required) from Montreal believes floor crossing is wrong. It isn't April Fools for another 2 months and already Fortier is trying to crack funnies.

Members of Parliament who bolt from their parties and cross the floor of the House of Commons should have to quit and face their voters in a byelection, says new Public Works Minister Michael Fortier.

Moreover, Mr. Fortier says his new cabinet colleague, David Emerson, is aware of his views. "I still believe that, and David Emerson knows that I believe that." Mr. Fortier did not, however, say if he told Mr. Emerson he should resign his seat and run again in a byelection.

Wait there is more:

In an interview this week, Mr. Fortier said he stands by comments he made in 2000 when three Quebec Conservatives crossed over to the Liberals.

"People who change parties right in the middle of a Parliament ... I find it inadmissible," Mr. Fortier told reporters in Quebec City at the time. "We should force them to face their voters in a byelection."

Mr. Fortier said this week he believes a lot of people share his view, although some accept crossing the floor as the lesser of the evils. Or the lesser of all evils - finding your way into cabinet by not wanting to face the electorate.

Wait-er there is MORE (subscription):

Michael Fortier may be Montreal's representative in the newly elected Conservative cabinet, but the Senate riding he will represent in Quebec doesn't include any part of the city in its boundaries.

The Quebec riding of Rougemont is where Fortier is slated to land. Except it isn't in Montreal and he has not filed the necessary paper work to adhere to the Constitution Act.

An arcane requirement in the Constitution Act requires Mr. Fortier to purchase land worth more than $4,000 in the riding, which is located south of Montreal and reaches to the Vermont-U.S. border. The rule applies only to Quebec.

Wait one last time for the sloppy seconds:

According to Deirdre McMurdy in the Ottawa Citizen (subscription again, bastards!):

Mr. Fortier had put his political ambitions on hold and was, according to Tories, a second choice for the controversial slot. The appointment to Senate and cabinet was first rejected by Montreal businessman and thwarted candidate Daniel Fournier, who is said to have longer-term political ambitions within the party.

Unlike some, the majority are not prepared to move pass this.

I think this issue represents a larger dilema that will dog the conservatives throughout the time that the govern. The actions that they feel they need to take to gain support in central Canada and large urban area like Vancouver, in order to get a majority, is the very actions that will alienate their base of western voters.

The Conservatives better be careful, because if they piss off the west like Mulroney did, it will have a very unpredictable effect on Canadian national politics.
Coffee talk included Emerson's change of parties. One of the guys figured it was a bit of brilliance on the part of Harper... if and only if Emerson proves to be as effective as Harper thinks he will be. I heard Emerson debating with Chuck Strahl during the election and I was impressed.

That being said, I have to wonder about both Harper's and Emerson's judgement as a result of this.
There are very few people who will doubt the qualifications of Emerson or Fortier. They both should be in cabinet and leading the country. That does not make what either has done right.

Harper was offside in persuading Fortier to talk an unelected post and Emerson is naive if he couldn’t see the backlash coming.

On the bright side, if Brian Pallister resigns to run for the PC leadership in Manitoba there will be a by-election and Fortier could run there.

That side isn't really that bright considering Pallister was just elected and already ready to leave. He could have spared us all the trouble and money and just not run. He is, however, a principled man who would never think he is entitled to his entitlements.

you think Pallister is a principled man? Did you forget about the comments he made in the election?
I didn't say Pallister was principled. I said he was qualified given his past government experience - provincial and federal.
I don't know much about Fortier or his qualifications... If he is an excellent candidate, Harper might have applauded for using such an innovative way to bring him into Cabinet... but that'll never happen now. Emerson's crossing the floor ensures that.

The local media is gibbering with delight over Harper & Emerson. Fortier's name is rarely mentioned.
Applauded except for the fact that:

(a) He chose not to run in the general election that was only weeks earlier when the outcome was in question
(b) There already is a Senator from Montreal - Pierre-Claude Nolin - who could have went into cabinet
(c) He can't answer questions in the House on a multi-billion file
(d) He will not run in a by-election
(e) He was Harper's second choice

Clap, clap.
I was listening to talk radio today and several callers were saying Montrealers are delighted with Fortier's appointment. They figured this might signal a groundswell of Tory blue in Quebec. Thoughts?
At least one person is happy:

Quebec Youth Protection Minister Margaret Fortier Delisle expressed big-sisterly delight as her brother Michael Fortier was sworn in.

I am sure there are a significant number of Montrealers and Quebeckers who are pleased with the Fortier appointment. Why wouldn't they be?

They now have a voice at the cabinet table and the province, as a whole, doesn't support the idea of an elected Senate. The idea of appointing to the Senate is ok with them whether it is Harper, Martin or Turner.

L. Ian Macdonald probably sums it best:

Everyone in Montreal now knows who is Harper's go-to guy for the city. No one here appears troubled by the fact that Fortier is in the Senate. It's only the press gallery that's having a fit over it. But Harper needs to reflect on that. He can't win without them. But he sure can lose.
Although I have signed the two on-line petitions that are up and running, I fear that there will be little effect. A more effective approach is to write directly to Minister Emerson at and Prime Minister Harper at Remember to include your name and address so that they know you are real.

I encourage all Canadians to make your views known on this matter. Political figures know and understand that for every one person who writes a letter of complaint there are hundreds who share the same sentiments.

I think we have to continue to push on this issue as it is such a shocking subversion of democratic principles. We have a right to be angry about this -- but, we also have a responsibility to hold him accountable.
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