Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Democracy and Ethics? More Like Hypocrisy and Chutzpah

Democracy is defined in the dictionary as "the free and equal right of every person to participate in a system of government, often practiced by electing representatives of the people by the people".

Canada is supposed to be a democratic society. So is democracy what the good folks of Vancouver-Kingsway got when Emerson pulled a "Belinda"?.

Duff Conacher from Democracy Watch noted that "Harper's choice illustrates a serious error in judgment and proves Harper is the same brand of hypocritical politician that he heavily criticized throughout the campaign".

"I think Stephen Harper has shot himself in the foot on his first day as prime minister. And possibly even shot himself in the head in terms of his pledge to be a more ethical government," Conacher said.

Harper doesn't think it was a problem, although he has been quoted saying, “We do not go out of our way to romance MPs to cross the floor. Liberals will do anything to win. We try to create a principled party and going about it in a principled way. We are cautious about party-jumping because it creates cynicism it and if they jump once, you are not sure they will not jump again. I will always handle that with extreme caution.”

In fact, Emerson himself felt differently about Harper and the Conservatives last week, before the choice cabinet post of course.

Some prominent blogging pundits see nothing wrong with the defection; although it behooves them to explain to those of us who value democracy why it's not okay for one side to do it (Stronach), but because they can see an apparent strategy behind Harper's that it is okay?? I won't call you out to save you embarrassment, but you know who you are .... and I call you a hypocrites. And you guys complain about Eastern voters.

But more to the point, these bloggers miss the real issue. At what price is democracy for sale?? and for whose benefit?? (in case you have forgotten what democracy stands for, see meaning above).

Directly opposing the will of the people is autocracy, not democracy.

Exposed condems this type of behaviour in all politicians. You were elected by the people in your riding so represent them or step aside.

Of course, this is a perfect example of how electoral reforms, such as recall, are required if this country is to survive intact. But at least now we know why Harper watered down his electoral reforms policies.

Humble pie anyone?


At Wed. Feb. 08, 12:15:00 p.m. MST, Blogger Debris Trail said...

Aiz: I'm still a member of the CPC, and will continue to be so, but I find the Emerson move very disturbing. And, equally so I find the bloggers who so visciously attacked Belinda to be hypocritical. Trying to whitewash this behind all sorts of complex reasonings is very insulting. A turncoat, is traitor, is double-crosser, is a whore.... period.

At Wed. Feb. 08, 12:21:00 p.m. MST, Blogger Les Mackenzie said...

I was one of the few pissed off over the defection of Emerson (not so much the senator since he is just an illustration of how loose the rules of democracy are in Canada) but when I sit down and think about it there can only be one reason Harper would welcome Emerson into cabinet.

It's not to save his political skin, it's not because he is an arrogant power hungry dictator, it isn't even because he lied about his thoughts on 'floor crossing' which he in fact didn't in hindsight.

He has moved his party to the center by creating a coalition. A good leader recognizes his weaknesses. The Harper minority government has a weakness (many in fact) but the first one he addressed yesterday. He made sure Vancouver was represented and at the same time made sure that the industry portfolio was left with someone that knew said portfolio.

I don't for a second think that the voters that voted Emerson in expected him to flip - but that's why you vote for the man not the party. Emerson is a Liberal - that won't change just because he's in cabinet under the Tory flag.

There is still a Liberal representing Vancouver-Kingsway. He's just doing his job from the leading bench.

This doesn't make the flip look any better optically but the Canadian electorate has the political memory of a household insect. If Harper makes parlaiment work with this team this will be forgotten.

Is it ethical? No.
Is it principled? No.
Am I any less angry? No.
Will it work out in the end? ...

At Wed. Feb. 08, 12:51:00 p.m. MST, Blogger Aizlynne said...

Hard to say if it will or it won't Les.

And I agree 100% with you DT. A whore is always a whore. Didn't Harper say it best himself that you can't trust floor crossers. So why would you put one in the largest and most prolific portfolio of them all.

There is still lot's of lying going on and I am determined to "expose" as much of it as I can.

At Wed. Feb. 08, 02:51:00 p.m. MST, Blogger Sycorax said...

Yup, this irritated the hell out of me. Emerson just wanted to stay in the ruling party. Harper should have said no, and told him that if he wanted to run as a member of the CPC, he had ample opportunity to do so before the election.

At Wed. Feb. 08, 06:27:00 p.m. MST, Blogger ABFreedom said...

I still haven't commented on this yet, probably because of anger more then anything, but if I do, it won't be pretty ... this just ain't what i voted for... as sycorax said somewhere else ... Strike One ...

Good post Aiz...

At Wed. Feb. 08, 06:31:00 p.m. MST, Blogger Canadian Sentinel said...

It certainly causes me concern as well. I agree that it doesn't keep with principle.

When I first found out, I was like, "Bizarro World". Like, WTF? Harper did that?

But I long ago learned to think before going ahead and saying what I was thinking in the first minute, which was not much, owing to my numbing surprise.

But as I'm used to being disappointed by people far closer to me in ways far, far worse, I personally found myself without any strong emotional reaction. I said to myself that it's, after all, politics, and I know to accept the bad with the good. Long story, but I've learned to automatically head off emotion with logic and control. That's me. I'm the sort of guy who never feels "road rage", for example.

I really don't blame y'all for damning the two cab appts in question. I'm a big boy and can accept folks saying strong stuff and can even take some crap myself if I have a more muted, pensive response. Perhaps I am indeed a hypocrite and if I'm wrong and this turns out to be the first in a longrunning pattern of Liberalesque moves and the most important policies like Harper's excellent economic, fiscal, accountability, justice, national defence/security and, yes, democratic, are sacrificed on the altar of power and money as they always were under the Liberals, then I will be happy to have an entire humble pie in one sitting. And you, Aiz, can personally bake it for me and smirk all you wish in classic "I told you so" fashion. You can be assured of that.

Besides, I read somewhere today the Tories plan to make it so that turncoats must stand for election before turning their coats. I certainly hope this change is made.

As I hope the two appts were designed only to give the Liberals another kick while they're still down, as the bastards never passed on an opportunity to do it to us. Maybe that's why I'm not as pissed at the moment... political revenge, perhaps, and combat strategy looking forward to the next election in which we may get a majority (thanks in part to neutralizing the criticisms of the "urban/rural divide" with these appts). I chalk it up to years and years of helplessly watching the Liberals kick my guys all the time. Maybe the fog of political war does this to some of us. And it is, after all, war, as the Liberals always made it so.

There's the war part of it. Then there's the building part. Problem is, as I see it, under a minority situation, we may need to use some cutthroat tactics or else our leftist opponents will eat us alive.

Most important, moreover, to keep in mind:

It's in the Tories' interests to perform, perform, perform, keep promises, and be clean if they want to get that majority next time. We know we cannot take it for granted. The Libs are crafty feckers and can still count on the MSM to help bring us down for the slightest stupid move. No doubt about it.

This is why I haven't said at this point, "That's it. These guys all spin pirouettes like girly-men, have big chins, lopsided mouths and false teeth. I'm moving to Alberta or the States first thing in the morning." 'Cause I can't so easily believe they'd throw everything away just like that.

But that's me. No hidden agenda on my part. Just hope. For I do prefer hope to despair. Can't stand despair. I didn't wait thirteen, nay, twenty-two years, hell, my whole thirty-four years, just to give up in a day.

Besides, if the Liberals come back to power in a hurry, we'll no longer have a military. And who's gonna protect our homeland if America is busy protecting its own from a possible Axis of Iran, China, North Korea, and who knows, perhaps even Russia, who, in addition to being chummy with those feckers, recently has done testing on new, invulnerable-to-BMD missiles at a rate not seen since the Cold War?

So I have hopes and, yes, fears.

Well, enough for tonight. Getting late, and tomorrow's going to be like hell at work; probably gonna be in for ten hours.

And I finally have a new post up at TCS. Something about a moderate Muslim speaking out against the bad ones.

At Wed. Feb. 08, 06:34:00 p.m. MST, Blogger Canadian Sentinel said...

"Strike one", good one to use, ABF.

At Wed. Feb. 08, 06:43:00 p.m. MST, Blogger DazzlinDino said...

I'm the last guy who is going to justify this, but there is some difference in the appointment of Belinda, as a position was pretty much invented for her, what was she? Minister of Nifty Shoes or something?

Great angle on the democracy definition, as this decision clearly goes against what democracy is all about...

At Wed. Feb. 08, 07:16:00 p.m. MST, Blogger Aizlynne said...

And that is my whole point Dino .. it isn't a matter of whose better and who isn't ...

As the saying goes - the means do NOT justify the ends...

At Wed. Feb. 08, 07:32:00 p.m. MST, Blogger Justthinkin said...

I for one was sorely dissappointed. The optics are going to be the hardest to play down. You campaign on a platform of reform and cleaning up the mess, then pull a Lieberal when your new cabinet isn't even old enough to have had its first crap yet!! That said, I will remain optimistic and continue to support the AB separatists. Why? As I said waaaayyyy back when, the CPC is still just a federalist party, and even if PMSH is from AB, he cannot even remotely appear to even think of looking at AB one second longer than any other part of Canada, or the CPC is a dead duck. Does Emerson's defection bring more "unity" to the ruling party, and Canada-wide representation? Only time will tell.

At Thu. Feb. 09, 07:57:00 a.m. MST, Blogger Lex Luthor said...

I used to be a CPC supporter. Since I was old enough to vote, I voted PC, Reform, Alliance and CPC. I even held a position within the PC Youth wing in Saskatchewan. I had some concerns with the party (anyone who 100% agrees with any party platform is scary in my opinion) but I continued with my support.

Then Belinda crossed the floor. I had no issue with that. It was her choice and her constiuents would ultimately voice their opinion. What I had issue with was the backlash from the Conservative camp after the fact; most notably the direct and indirect name calling especially the name "whore".

At that point, my support for the Conservative movement was done and I bought my Green Party membership the next day online. I'm now active in helping the Green Party get stronger as a party and a national voice. The appointments of Emerson (and the lack of calling him a "whore") and Fortier (what happened to an "elected senate") have validated my move out of the CPC.

You don't have to follow me to the Greens (or even agree with it) but you do have to make sure that we don't forget this "Strike One" come the next election (and if Harper keeps up this kind of leadership, it won't be too long).


At Thu. Feb. 09, 07:57:00 a.m. MST, Blogger Lex Luthor said...

BTW Aiz, great post!!!!

At Thu. Feb. 09, 09:25:00 a.m. MST, Blogger Aizlynne said...

Thanks Lex. I don't have an affiliation to any one party and that is why I don't have membership in any of them.

The only membership I hold is for the Alberta Alliance Party. Our policies include recall, which should be something the constituents of Vancouver-Kingsway should be afforded. If, in fact, you really want a true democracy.

At Thu. Feb. 09, 09:57:00 a.m. MST, Blogger Brian C said...

The political temp was much higher when Belinda crossed the floor so I wouldn't go by what Bob Runciman (whore comment) said in the past.

There are comments that Emerson is about the only MP who can proceed on the softwood file without losing months of negotiation time. Maybe Emerson is just politically naive and wants to finish the softwood agreement. In any case, it sounds like he has run his last election.

However, couldn't Harper have appointed Emerson as a Liberal to his cabinet? When the deal is done, then Harper could shuffle Emerson out of cabinet.

At Thu. Feb. 09, 12:03:00 p.m. MST, Blogger Lex Luthor said...


Regardless of the political tension, its still a pretty derogatory statement calling anyone a "whore" and its sexist if its not applied to both sexes.

As for Emerson, Politics Watch ( is reporting that he might not even be able to do anything with the softwood lumber issue seeing that he signed a declaration of recusal seeing that he's still contected to Canfor through his pension.

If PMSH is really trying to mend fences and appeal to the middle of the road, he should have had Emerson sit as a Liberal. I don't know if it is possible/legal but it sure would have had less of a political shit storm.



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