With the departure of heavy weights such as Frank McKenna and John Manley, Belinda Stronach and Scott Brison both feature prominently in the list of candidates to take over the leadership of the Liberal party. They have been both criticized in recent times as not being "real" Liberals. Their support of traditional Liberal values have been questioned and they have been compared to David Emerson.
In this regard, I have no problems with either of then running for the leadership of the Liberal Party. As for the turncoat comparison with David Emerson, it just doesn't stick. Brison was a Red Tory until his party was no more, after which he joined the Liberals. Let's face it, Paul Martin was center-right on many social issues (when he still had the majority and was expected to win 200 seats). As such, it wasn't too much of a radical difference for Scott Brison. During Paul Martin's tenure, Brison performed admirably in the House, dueling with the Tories during Question Period in defending Liberal initiatives.
As for Belinda Stronach, she ran for the leadership of the CPC. I have no doubt her prominence and becoming a star for that party was wholly due to her name and fortune. Had she not had the Stronach name or the wealth, she would have been a has-been in that party. However, while she lost the leadership race, she became a bonafide Tory and remained that way for more than year after the election.
However it was becoming increasingly clear she was at odds with the rest of the Tories over many issues. Her support for gay marriage, women's rights, abortion, separation of church and personal ideology from governing, environment, social issues, etc. were more aligned with the Liberal party. Had Stronach remained with the Tories, she could have ultimately had a shot at the leader's position minus the baggage she got when she crossed the floor. When she became a Liberal, she knew her support would prop up the Liberals for a few months at most (even that was suspect), but there were no guarantees they would remain in power. As such, her move was unselfish and completely due to ideological reasons.
The comparison with Emerson should now emerge clear. Emerson jumped solely due to the offer of a Cabinet position (for which Mr. Harper should face the Ethics Commission). He is an opportunist. The Ex-Tories now Liberals have crossed the floor due to clear ideological reasons and not self-gain. Thus, I have no problems in this regard to their leadership bids.
Tags: Belinda Stronach Scott Brison