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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

David Emerson...A Question of Intent

David Emerson is left handed. But that initially ended the positive stuff at first blush. With voter cynicism at its peak, by accepting Emerson into the Conservative Party, Prime Minister Harper sends the wrong message. I have spent the whole day trying to distinguish the floor crossing by David Emerson from the one by Belinda Stronach.

But initially I kept coming to the same bottom line in my mind. If he can not be loyal and committed to his Party and the people who voted and just got him elected, how can you trust him? I think most Canadians that voted Conservative wanted change. They wanted integrity, genuine convictions, honesty and not having to buy into some spokesmans daily spin on something or another.

I tried the reasons David Emerson offered, " I came to the conclusion I can be more helpful to the people of my riding, the people of my city, the people of my province and the people of my country doing this, as opposed to being in opposition and trying to become a powerful political partisan which I have never been."

I tried the idea that Emerson's switcharoo shows that the Conservative Party has indeed moved to the centre.

I tried the fact that he is a competent MP and is not a bad fit into the Conservative Party.

I tried the fact he will add an educated economic viewpoint to the Cabinet.

I tried the fact that Harper never spoke against the right of an MPto cross the floor.

I tried the fact that Emerson adds representation from a big BC city to the Conservatives.

Finally, I read the Vancouver Province and specifically Vaughn Palmer's column and then Alan Ferguson, and I slowly began to see the difference between Emerson's floor crossing and Stronach's. Emerson used to be a head huncho with a major forest company in BC, Canfor. HE IS ALREADY UP TO SPEED ON THE SOFTWOOD LUMBER PROBLEM WITH THE USA. Combined with the more civil tone between Harper and Bush, Emerson will be able to get to grips with that issue forthwith. He has had his head into the Pacific Gateway initiative for months and sticking with him can only be to BC's economic advantage. With the 2010 Olympics coming up, it is really smart to keep a key Ottawa connection especially with costs going up. The positives for BC are innumerable especially when you consider upcoming new Ports and new trading relationships with the Far East.

Once I started to understand the benefits to the people of BC, I recognized that this decision by Harper was to benefit the people of BC, not a blantant attempt to keep power like Martin in the Stronach floor crossing. Same actus reus different intent. I must say to Vaughn Palmer and Alan Ferguson of the Vancouver Province newspaper, thank you for your thoughts. You helped me to sort mine out.

But initially it is sort like the judicial adage that, "justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done." Prime Minister Harper has squandered a major part of his political capital on day one by going along with a Belinda Stronach type situation in reverse. The perception is the message; never mind the rationalized explanations. But in reality and in time the smartness and justice of this decision will be seen to be done. The proof will be in the pudding or the results. With a more civil tone between Harper and Bush and with Emerson's knowledge so much more waccomplishedmpished. However as Alan Ferguson noted, "True reform probably requires future party-jumpers to again face the electorate before accepting a government post."

My ears are burning from all the phone calls I got today from people I have "fingered-wagged" into voting for the Conservatives who laughed and said, "So what's so different about your Conservatives? Ha Ha! The best I could do was say that Stronach was strike three for Martin. This is only strike one for Harper, and going through the above list of reasons. But the most poignant and validdefinitelys definately the difference in intent.

I do not see any short term gain to the Conservatives by Emerson's appointment. This will temporarily end the upward momentum by the Conservatives and the downward momentum by the Liberals. But in the long term it will be beneficial to BC's and Canada's economy. To me, that shows Harpers intent is the ultimate benefit of Canada as opposed to Martins intent (with Stronach) being to maintain the power of the Liberal Party.

However one disappointment that won't go away is not seeing Diane Ablonczy appointed. If Peter McKay is the man that represents the heart and sole of the Conservative Party, then Diane Ablonczy is the lady that represents the same thing. You can trust her to put in an eloquent fashion the truth of any situation.