Crawl Across the Ocean

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Emerson Just Doesn't Get It

Yeah, I know, I'm harping on this, but I think it's important. James MacDuff does a good job explaining why it's worth pursuing:

"Emerson's arrogant and presumptive behavior calls out for a strong response, if only to serve as a cautionary tale for future opportunists who need to see consequences attach to such cynical behavior. If he gets away with this move relatively untouched, truly anyone can rely on any excuse to plop comfortably into cabinet, for whatever reason tickles the fancy."

Meanwhile, I'm not sure it's necessary, but if you want an explanation of exactly why the assertion by Harper and Emerson that they know what's best for the voters in Vancouver-Kingsway better than the voters themselves do is so offensive, the Canadian Cynic spells it out in detail (starting in the second half of the post with, "The most popular talking point these days..").

On the news front, we hear worries that Emerson may be too personally involved with Canfor to work on any matters which directly affect them, which raises questions about the ethics of him being involved in the softwood lumber dispute - but Emerson's expertise on this file is apparently one of the reasons why he was made Minister of Trade.

On the other hand, we also hear accusations that, "David Emerson defected to the Conservatives this week carrying a multi-billion dollar softwood lumber deal that Liberals, for political reasons, didn't finalize before the federal election."

Since his defection, Emerson has done nothing but make things worse with his comments, from hiding behind his children, to expressing his shock that politics could be so dirty, to his whining about how nobody understands how he suffers on our behalf by being in politics, but I think the comment which annoyed me most was this one:

"Emerson, whose defection was greeted as good news by Premier Gordon Campbell and business leaders, said he expects anger directed at him will linger, but doesn't expect it will impact his work.

"There are some people who are angry at me and cannot shake it. That may have an impact. But I'm not aware of people who are in the positions that are relevant to what I have to deal with and feel that way.

"In fact, I've had an awful lot of very positive support with the people involved on the issues that I'm working on."

He just doesn't understand the concept of democracy at all, does he? Sure the little people who voted for him are pissed off, but it won't affect his work, which is making deals with business people. Emerson now says he has regrets about his going into politics. So do I.

The online petition to recall Emerson and have a byelection in Vancouver-Kingsway is here.


  • Whooee! All o' this petition-signin' is fine an' dandy but I figger Harpoon an' his crew ain't gonna pay no nevermind. What I reckon needs t' happen is fer Canajuns t' take a page outta the Ukes' book an' rise up in a Orange Revolution. T' my way o' thinkin' this crappola's lookin' dirtier everyday. It's election fraud, sez I. These numbnutses gotta see crowds o' outraged Canajuns swarmin' outside o' Parliment wavin' orange flags an' wearin' orange scarfs.

    Yores trooly,

    By Blogger JimBobby, at 2:59 PM  

  • Well Orange might be too-NDP partisan but your point is well-taken, an internet petition is nice but likely not enough to compel change.

    A demonstration either in Ottawa or at Emerson's campaign office would no doubt be more effective. I'm not sure if there is enough outrage to generate such a demonstration - I guess we'll see.

    By Blogger Declan, at 3:28 PM  

  • "A demonstration either in Ottawa or at Emerson's campaign office would no doubt be more effective."

    Or maybe not. They held a demonstration at his Van-Kingsway office yesterday, attendance: 13 reporters / media figures; 2 protesters.

    I agree that Emerson has been really ham-fisted, particularly wingeing about his kids' treatment at school, but I don't see that he has really done anything wrong in accepting an appointment to Cabinet. The voters will get their chance to tear him apart within five years (although we know it will be much sooner thatn that); that's the way the system works once you elect an MP.

    On the conflict of interest question, I read that his recusal specifically exempted dealing with the softwood deal as that was an industry-wide question. The issue was with him being in a position where Canfor was in a zero-sum game with Interfor or something. I am not sure how definitive that is, as I am just repeating what I read on another blog - sorry, no link.

    By Blogger deaner, at 3:42 PM  

  • Obviously a demonstration requires demonstrators (and hence, organization) to be effective.

    I understand that Emerson hasn't broken any rules, just people's trust. I mean, he deliberately and repeatedly misled people for personal gain and accepted significant good-faith donations of time and money under false pretences, but it's certainly not wrong, if 'wrong' is defined as breaking the law.

    As for voters getting a chance to tear him apart, I doubt that will ever happen - not the same voters, that is for sure.

    By Blogger Declan, at 5:35 PM  

  • There is a serious issue here for our system of responsible government. Emerson sat in a Liberal cabinet little more than a week ago. He accepted the restrictions of cabinet solidarity and cabinet secrecy. Given his betrayal of his voters, can he be trusted to honour his oath of cabinet secrecy? Or does he blab the inner workings of the Liberal cabinet to his new friends?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:53 PM  

  • Emerson's actions were unethical in the extreme. My hope is that the Ethics Commissioner will respond to the complaint being filed against Emerson with all due diligence. Even if nothing comes of it but some extra public humiliation, such a moral victory will be worth it.

    By Blogger JG, at 8:47 PM  

  • Its minority government strategy. That doesnt make it right but then again whats politics got to do with right or wrong. Its whats expedient.

    By Blogger Useful Idiots, at 8:18 AM  

  • What strategy, though? This I've never been clear on. Would the Conservatives have been undermined so seriously by not having representation from Montreal and Vancouver that the damage caused by these decisions was justified? I don't see this as a productive trade-off at all. Emerson is no one special, despite his exaggerated opinion of himself, and Fortier won't even be representing Montreal in the Senate.

    And by adding one vote to the Conservatives in the Commons, Harper has helped give the NDP the balance of power, so that all three opposition parties will be capable of blocking his legislation. How does that help in a minority situation? Harper certainly hasn't earned good will with the Liberals or NDP by putting the likes of Flaherty, Clement, Day, and Toews in the cabinet either.

    By Blogger JG, at 9:53 AM  

  • Things could be getting a whole lot worse for Emerson and the Conservatives

    "Vancouver Kingsway Conservative Kanman Wong says he had a backup plan to step aside for controversial new cabinet minister David Emerson - long before January's election.

    'That was my plan. I heard lots of rumours that Mr. Emerson wasn't happy with the Liberal party long before the election,' Wong said in an interview yesterday. "If one day Mr. Emerson prepared to cross the floor I was ready to step aside for him.'"

    Today's comic relief

    "Francophone groups and opposition MPs are raising concerns about an appointment in Stephen Harper's government after learning the parliametary secretary for la Francophonie doesn't speak French."

    By Blogger Koby, at 12:36 PM  

  • 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

    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.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 PM  

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