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If you can’t beat them


 

Get them to join you.

Much mumbling around Ottawa about the potential for floor crossings, as is probably to be expected. In that regard, an interesting anecdote from Glen Pearson’s latest blog post.

“I was approached by three Conservatives today to help support them, saying that I was an honest broker type and that my voice would be respected. But when I asked them if they would just quit playing this kind of brinksmanship and retreat to a position of non-partisanship and accommodation, they quietly moved away.”

The primary requirement for any potential floor-crosser would seem to be a disinterest in any future political career. The last three major switchers were David Emerson, Wajid Khan and Garth Turner. Emerson was subsequently considered unelectable in his home riding and left politics for the private sector. Khan and Turner were defeated in this fall’s election.

There are, of course, those of short-term political ambitions, who would probably be more than satisfied with a spot in government (be it Liberal, Conservative or otherwise).

Anyway. Here’s a silly question. If Mr. Harper feels that the opposition parties should face the electorate before making a change in government, shouldn’t he be demanding the same of any opposition MPs being courted to change sides by his party?


 

If you can’t beat them

  1. “Ask and answered” as they say in American legal dramas. Harper has already shown he has no compunction about floor clossers sitting without re-election. When is that report on Lebanon due again?

  2. Harper’s viewpoint of floor crossers is the same as Paul Martin’s viewpoint was: whatever helps me stay in power. Or have we already forgotten Belinda Stronach?

    Harper’s feelings on coalition government changed radically from when he was leader of the opposition to now – wouldn’t that be a more appropriate example of hypocrisy then the one you’re citing, Aaron? It certainly seems much more “apples to apples” than the floor-crossing example that you bring up.

  3. It’s intellectually dishonest to equate Khan and Emerson (as well as Stronach) with Turner. Khan, Emerson, and Stronach chose to leave the party they were elected to represent; Turner was kicked out of the caucus he was elected to represent. He did not cross the floor as much as he was flung across it.

  4. This is why those Iggy rumors don’t make sense to me. Even if it were the right choice to sit out the vote or vote with the Conservatives, his political career is probably finished. His faction in the party would be absolutely crushed under the weight of angry caucus members who had their chance at cabinet flung away, and the NDP would make him wear each and every piece of legislation Harper made.

    Ignatieff hasn’t exactly endeared himself to progressives; after this, they’d run screaming.

  5. >Anyway. Here’s a silly question. If Mr. Harper feels that the opposition parties should face the electorate before making a change in government, shouldn’t he be demanding the same of any opposition MPs being courted to change sides by his party?

    You’re right; it is a silly question. Clearly Mr Harper does not feel the opposition parties must always face the electorate, or he would not have left open the possibility of doing so during the Martin government’s term. And it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison. Harper didn’t put a lot of effort into arranging floor crossings except when it was necessary in order to rearrange the parliamentary arithmetic so that CPC+NDP was a viable house majority. Those measures were insurance, but not critical. Quite different from flipping the benches entirely.

  6. Yeah. I don’t think Iggy was ever that keen, but he realised that once the coalition got rolling he couldn’t afford to stop it. Better be the leader to rebuild a LPC hurt by the coalition than the runner up of an LPC saved from the coalition.

  7. “Those measures were insurance, but not critical. Quite different from flipping the benches entirely.”

    That is some impressively wishy-washy equivocation. ‘It’s OK if only a few MPs switch sides’?

  8. I was trying to see with the CPAC cameras in QP today -whether there were any obvious CPC MPs sitting on their hands among all the flipper flapping from the trained seals!
    Did Nicholson and Day get taken aside and “whipped” after their obvious “grumpiness” with the Right Hon. yesterday. What about the Back Benchers? Warned to get in line or the Right Hon. would sik Giorno on them?
    Have THEY been invited by the coalition side to cross the aisle?
    WE live in Interesting times!

  9. That is a silly question, since floor crossings in both directions have been going on for years, with nary an election to determine their legitimacy.

  10. Demosthenes: The solution is obvious! Harper resigns, Iggy crosses the floor, becomes the new Conservative PM :)

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