Thursday, March 09, 2006

Why I Have No Problem With These Ex-Tories

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.



James Curran said...

Um. There is no way in hell either Belinda or Scotty were jumping ship without being promised a cabinet position. Just like Emerson. They are BOTH opportunists with nothing but their own agenda. NO EX-ANYTHING IS GOING TO LEAD THIS PARTY! PERIOD. That goes for Rae as well.

The What do I Know Grit.

Jim said...

As such, her move was unselfish and completely due to ideological reasons.

Kool-aid got stronger, didn't it?

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me how people try to rationalize every situation. I guess now that you've convinced yourself that everything done in the name of liberalism is good and everything done in the name of conservatism is bad, don't you feel so much better? I guess if Brian Mulroney were to run for the Liberal leadership you could somehow twist that into a feel-good story too right?

Clear Grit said...


As an ex-PC, every time I see something like this, it makes me feel quite unwelcome. The message I take away from it is if you haven't been a card-carrying Liberal since the time you fell out of your mother's womb, you're not a real Liberal.

James Curran said...

Ah. No. If you campaigned against the Liberal Party for years and years and years (Scotty) and sat across the floor in the House of Commons based on your beliefs and cross just cause you're gonna sneak into cabinet in an otherwise hopeless situation of doing so with your own Party....than No. You don't deserve to be the LEADER of the Party. He is a very good Liberal Cabinet Minister. Not LEADER. Bob Rae led the NDP to the worst government in the history of Ontario. Nuff said bout him.

Anyway. I welcome you as a member of this party.


mezba said...

James, you are ofcourse entitled to your opinion, but I disagree. That would imply there's two kinds of Liberals. One who's the 'real' Liberals and another who can never be leader. Obviously I don't agree with that. People's views and policies change over time.

I guess now that you've convinced yourself that everything done in the name of liberalism is good and everything done in the name of conservatism is bad...
Uh, that would make me a ... Liberal? Seriously though, if Mulrony ran for the Liberal's leader it would not be good. I just don't have a problem with these two, as I don't doubt their present 'Liberalness'. I would have a problem with Bob Rae.

Blue Grit, you are quite welcome to the Party.

What I was saying is with regards to them being former Tories, I don't see a problem. For me, I would weigh other factors.

James Curran said...

Um. What I said was, if you ran for leader of some other Party, you shouldn't have the audacity to run for leader of this party. They campaigned against liberal values. You don't suddenly grow or understand 100 years of Liberalism overnight. They are opportunists that were promised something bigger.

Everyone makes fun of Ms. Stronach not being bilingual. I've never thought that was as important as maybe having some education behind the person. Seriously? A doctor, a Harvard Grad and a Colgate grad versus a York drop out? (I also dropped out of York so I can say that). Imagine me running against Iggy, the goalie and Dr. Bennett?

Anonymous said...


I was struck by one of your comments "People's views and policies change over time." I've read this in several Liberals blogs in the past. Seems to me there was an attack ad on Stephen Harper for comments he made in the past. Would your statement not apply to all politicians or just the ones who have seen the light and jump to the left side of the road.


mezba said...


What would be important to me is whether Stephen Harper still holds the same views as he did 8 years ago. I would have given him the benefit of the doubt during the election, now I am not too sure. I will reserve judgement until Parliament resumes and we can judge him by his actions.

s.b. said...

Draft Frechette for Leadership

Does Anyone running for leadership have as many qualifications as this woman?

Louise Fréchette is the first Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. A national of Canada, she assumed her duties on 2 March 1998, after having been appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.The post of Deputy Secretary-General was established by the General Assembly at the end of 1997 as part of the reform of the United Nations, to help manage Secretariat operations and to ensure coherence of activities and programmes. The purpose was also to elevate the Organization’s profile and leadership in the economic and social spheres. The Deputy Secretary-General assists the Secretary-General in the full range of his responsibilities and also may represent the United Nations at conferences and official functions. She chairs the Steering Committee on Reform and Management Policy and the Advisory Board of the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP), which handles relations with the foundation set up by Ted Turner in support of the United Nations.

Before joining the United Nations, Ms. Fréchette was the Deputy Minister of National Defence of Canada from 1995 to 1998. Prior to that, she was Associate Deputy Minister in her country’s Department of Finance. She served as Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations from 1992 to 1995. Ms. Fréchette began her career in 1971 in Canada’s Department of External Affairs. She was part of her country’s delegation to the General Assembly in 1972, and then served as Second Secretary at the Canadian Embassy in Athens until 1975. From 1975 to 1977, Ms. Fréchette worked in the European Affairs Division in Canada’s Department of External Affairs.

Returning to Europe, she served as First Secretary at the Canadian Mission to the United Nations in Geneva from 1978 to 1982. During that period, she participated in a session of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Madrid from November 1980 to July 1981.After serving as Deputy Director of the Trade Policy Division in the Department of External Affairs from 1982 to 1983, Ms. Fréchette became Director of the European Summit Division from 1983 to 1985. She received her first ambassadorship in 1985, serving as Canada’s ambassador to Argentina with concurrent accreditation to Uruguay and Paraguay.Ms. Fréchette was named Assistant Deputy Minister for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department of External Affairs and international trade in October 1988. In that capacity, she directed a review of Canada’s relations with the region, which led to Canada’s entry into the Organization of American States (OAS). In January 1991 she became Assistant Deputy Minister for Economic Policy and Trade Competitiveness.

Ms. Fréchette received a Bachelor of Arts degree from College Basile Moreau. She earned a degree in history from the University of Montreal in 1970 and a post-graduate diploma in economic studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium in 1978. She has received honorary doctorate degrees from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Kyung Hee University in Seoul, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and Laval University, Québec. In 1998, she was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada.Born in Montreal on 16 July 1946, Ms. Fréchette is single. She speaks French, English and Spanish.
* *** * [Updated 24 August 2000]

posted by s.b. at 12:25 PM