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Archive for February, 2006

One Week of Emerson

Anyway, since it is the one week anniversary of his betrayal, I thought we could celebrate with a little song parody. This is from BNL’s One Week.

One Week (of Emerson)
Sung to the tune of “One Week” by the Barenaked Ladies

Voters
It’s been one week since you looked at me
Crossed to the wrong side
and said “So Sorry.”
Five days since you laughed at me saying
I really wanted to be a minister from BC
Monday, was the day of gloom;
Realized we’d been betrayed because we trusted you.
Yesterday, you just looked at me
And said, “You think I’ll run right now? You must be crazy!”

Emerson
Hold it now and watch the hoodwink
As I steal your votes, think
You’ll think you voted for a Tory.
I cross the floor for a seat,
Hey, don’t you think it’s neat
I like the perks
Like my ministers limo

Look so I’m sorry but it’s high time
That I get what is mine
‘Cuz I wanted the IT job.
Stephen Harpers got the cabinet.
That’s where I wanna’ sit
Through I was elected as a Liberal

Gonna’ make a break and be a fake
Give all my electors shakes
Be like Belinda, but without all of that principle
Be like Jean Brault,
Cause then you’ll know
We should forgo
Cuz it’s so dangerous,
I’ll probably loose this seat

Voters
How can we trust you when you’ve done a thing that is so bad.
We are picketing your office because we are so mad
Believe us, this was your own funeral
Can’t understand what I mean?
Well, you soon will
We have a tendency vote for integrity
Good luck getting reelected, you Tory.

It’s been three weeks since election night
When we worked to get you elected in a hard fight
But even then you lied to us
Even then you’d been talking to the Tories
It was then that you said you’d be
You said that you’d be Harpers worst enemy
Two weeks since we trusted you
Just look what you turn around and do

We voters are filled with disaffection
Do the right thing – call a by-election
To have the right of recall would really rock,
We’re in the ballot box
You think we’ll send you back to Ottawa
Constituents are getting fed up
Departure should be sped up
82% of us said No to the Tories

In Vancouver we voted left
Votes should be anti-theft
Because be didn’t want a Tory
We would get a new MP
If we could recall you, you see
Only one fifth of us voted for the big C
With us you should have been in tune
Instead of acting like a loon
Betraying the trust of 20,000 people.

We are disgusted that you betrayed us within two weeks
This was an unprecedented feet
Believe us, this was your own funeral
Can’t understand what I mean?
Well, you soon will
We have a tendency vote for integrity
We are going to boot you into the dirt

It’s been one week since Rideau Hall
The day that integrity took a big fall
Five days since we snarled at you and said
You should have done what we sent you there to do
Three days since we really knew
We realized that you’re to blame, but what could we do?
Yesterday you just smiled at me
And said “I’ll just be staying here; you can’t recall me.”

Believe us when we say that we won’t say sorry
Believe us when we say that we won’t say sorry
Vancouver Kingsway says you that need a new job-ee.

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Like a Star Fallen…

Is this how you are found?
Like a star fallen…
To the ground.

David Emerson was a man I looked up to, a man who gave up a career in the private sector for the public good. He was a star, representing the best part of service to the country. Now, he used the public for his own purposes, robbing them of their votes and their representation. Nothing seems right about this. To make me, a partisan and political devotee, question the system is a real feat. However, above all, I want to do well by the people, to represent their interests, and if I were elected as a Liberal, I would stay as a Liberal, ministerial limos be damned. He was a beacon of all that was good about representation, but now we find out that he is nothing more than a scoundrel and a liar. Those stolen votes, those misrepresented constituents, those broken promises, I hope they weigh heavy on your head Mr. Emerson, for they are emblematic of what I have been talking about all this time, your betrayal of trust.

David Emerson is not the only one betraying trust these days. While my focus is on him, I think that this has to be an equal opportunity blog. After all, Emerson does not have a monopoly on inappropriate actions and the betrayal of trust. The NDP has some market share here, as they have been quite clear in demonstrating by kicking out Buzz Hargrove from their party. Now, this is wildly inappropriate, not only in the action itself, which could be construed in the best interests of the party, but also in the method in which it was perpetrated. The issue that the NDP brass was trying to address was Mr. Hargrove’s endorsement of Liberal party candidates in the recent federal election. Now, personally, I think this is fine, and not just because I’m a Liberal. I cite specifically Surrey North, where the NDP candidate had a chance of winning, and would have been a good representative. I supported her, as did many of my Liberal friends, because she could not only serve her constituents, but also keep another Conservative out of power. What is wrong about strategic voting? The NDP apparently thinks that they can win every riding in the nation. No, they cannot. As such, because he was only affiliated with the party by membership and not by employment, the NDP should have asked him not to do it again. However, he had no idea that this was coming. A devoted NDPer for over 40 years, he was blindsided by this action, and ended up out of the party, without even having the right to present his side of the story. For a party that is founded on the principals of giving a voice to the downtrodden, they sure did a terrible job of it here.

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Dissent Grows

Today, I awoke feeling a little better, as if someone out there might be listening to the concerns of me and thousands of other offended and betrayed people. It was a good feeling, like I would be able to make a difference, and that I could perhaps bring some accountability back into the government. I’d be a big fan of that – the grassroots movement. “We can do this, we can bring down Emerson.” I told myself this, and it seemed for a moment as if the sky would clear, and our new Prime Minister would see the light and take action against his serious errors in judgment, and perhaps a man I once liked and respected immensely would do the honorable thing…

Then, I saw the news. Not only had Mr. Emerson done anything to become more accountable to his constituents – especially the 82% of them who didn’t vote Conservative, but has unequivocally stated that he would not run in a by-election or pay back the money that had been transferred to his campaign by the Liberal Party. I have been quite clear on this matter: Mr. Emerson was dishonest in his election – he stood as a Liberal, so he should sit as one. I can only hope that this is not indicative of a larger trend…

Alas, my hopes were dashed. Kanman Wong stated that “if one day Mr. Emerson prepared to cross the floor I was ready to step aside for him,” implying that this all was going on long before. I therefore restate my earlier question to you – “When did you know?” Interesting, however, that Wong wouldn’t have pulled the same stunt that Emerson did – he would have run in a by-election.

Accountability and sensibility are apparently hard to come by in the Harper administration. I here point to the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Francaphonie cannot speak French. Imagine that – it’s like having a man who recused himself from dealing with Softwood Lumber in the International Trade portfolio. Could you just think? Oh, wait – they did that too.

A protest was held today, and protesters were holding the posters I made, except giant. I hope all of you can share in my outrage and print some off to post around your cities – you would be doing us all a favor (available here). You can see footage here (use a small screen size), and also on the CBC Newscast of “The National”. Don’t let this die away, we have to fight, our voices must be heard, because it is us who have been betrayed.

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Cabinets are funny things. They are the backbone of a government, the executive branch fused within the legislative. They are appointed by the PM, and he determines their composition. Here, we see the hilarity come to light. You see, cabinets really are funny things.

The first joke of the Harper cabinet is really a magic trick. The appointment of David Emerson and Michael Fortier is really quite impressive. You see, he was wearing this cloak that talked about accountability and the need for elected senators. In fact, I believe he stated once that “the first senator I appoint will be an elected one”. Now, this was a neat trick, because he had Emerson and Fortier up his sleeve, and he swapped them for his cloak – making it disappear entirely. Watch the Canadian Public gasp with Shock and Awe. Good one Stephen – that’ll be hard to top.

But top it he did, with his next act. This one’s falls a little more into the ‘irony’ category, because it has to deal with Mr. Emerson’s parliamentary secretary. Helena Guergis was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, but she moved a motion just before the government fell that would have made any MP that crossed the floor to re-run under their new party banner, and forty people voted for it in the Conservative caucus. This was presumably in response to the defection of Belinda Stronach, who was called a ‘whore’ and a ‘dipstick’ by Conservatives. No one is saying this about Mr. Emerson – perhaps it’s because Liberals wouldn’t stoop that low. And most Conservatives are pleased – Rona Ambrose, the new Environment minister states that “it’s his individual decision”. Why wasn’t it Belinda’s? There couldn’t be a double standard, could there. Forty people voted to make people face by-elections after floor crossing, and a similar motion was about to be raised by Carol Skelton, the new Revenue Minister. Of course, “That was then, this is now.”

Finally, we have the punch line. Can Emerson do his job? No. He is there illegitimately , and has signed a letter of recusal for all dealings with Canfor, his old company, which obviously includes softwood lumber, the most pressing trade concern. So, he can deal with it only if he enters into a conflict of interest. Someone who should have been in cabinet instead would have been Diane Ablonczy. While I disagree with her personally, when I was her constituent, she worked hard and was a good and vocal opposition MP, even though she only made the effort to represent the Conservative parts of her riding. (Her meet and greets were like party rallies.) She, at the very least, had something Mr. Emerson lacks – loyalty.

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“Campaigns are campaigns.” This is what John Reynolds, the Conservative Campaign co-chair, has said to justify what he, Mr. Emerson and the Conservative Party have done. This belies a deep flaw within their thinking. Campaigns are the only time that people can hold the government and the political parties accountable for their actions, and take an active role in the political process. What happened to all these wonderful promises about accountability and trust? Clearly, the Conservatives have admitted that they will do whatever it takes in order to win an election campaign. It doesn’t matter if what they say is true or not – as long as it gets them votes. It seems to me that there is some real problem within the mindset of the government if that is what they think. That is not how our country works – elections are the time for people to see what is true about the parties, not to be willfully deceived. Mr. Emerson was one of those people who have gone down that path. He has deceived his constituents, and has betrayed their trust. A poll released recently has stated that there was no way that Emerson could have won had he hot been running under the Liberal banner – that was not possible. The least he could have done would be to sit with the party that got him elected, even if it was in opposition.

Now, there is another issue that has come to light in recent days: the importance of the opposition. The office of the current Prime Minister stated that Mr. Emerson decided to cross the floor rather than “wasting his time in opposition”. You heard correctly, the PMO just stated that the opposition is a waste of time. They stated that the government should rule by divine and unopposed right. They have effectively stated that there is no place for political discourse in this country. They are wrong. Political discourse is integral to Canada – it prevents dictatorships. To call the opposition’s role a “waste of time” is to insult our nation’s most fundamental principals.

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Dear Mr. Emerson,

During the course of the campaign, I have had the opportunity to talk to you several times. You were a man I admired and looked up to, a symbol of integrity and what a good politician should be. When I think back over these conversations, I find myself wondering when you began contemplating this switch. Did the gears start turning on election night, after we had lost, but right before you had said you were going to be Stephen Harper’s worst enemy? What about when you appeared in commercials, as I did, defending the Liberal party and the Liberal vision? I appeared in those commercials because I believed in the principals of the Liberal party, and my conviction never wavered – were you questioning your commitment even then? I doorknocked until I had blisters in my feet, as did, I’m sure, many members of your team. As you sent them out, do you think that they knew they were electing a Conservative? Or was it even earlier, at the Richmond Convention? I was so proud to serve on the same team as you, to be part of the same proud organization. Were you questioning your membership even then? These questions taint those memories.

Yours Truly,

Matthew Naylor

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Dear David Emerson;

I am certain that you have heard all the rhetoric and partisan jibes in an almost never-ending torrent these past several days, so I will keep this brief. You said today that you would have stayed with the Liberals if they had won the election. While this is somewhat disturbing, inasmuch as it is an admission that you would have crossed to whichever side won the election, I suppose it is a somewhat valid opinion of how politics should be conducted – even though I think that this betrays something fundamentally wrong in our political system, where the pursuit of power is paramount over acting with respect to the principals that you were elected to stand up for. It does reinforce the negative perception people have of politicians, and I hope you realize what you have done to solidify this stereotype in people’s minds.

My quarrel is not really with what you do with your power – I’m sure you will be held accountable for your actions the next time you face your constituents. The problem I have is how you went about achieving that power. When I think about this process you went through, some numbers jump into my head. These are, specifically, 82%, $96,755, 300, and 1958.

You say that you are not particularly partisan. The problem here is that people are. Eighty two percent of them did not vote for a party which you now represent. You say that you are working for your constituents. To me it seems that you deceived them.

Not only have you taken votes from people, but also their money. All told, almost one hundred thousand dollars went into the campaign to get you elected as a Liberal. While it is possible to claim that some of this money was donated to support you, it seems fairly ridiculous to state that the money transferred to you from the Liberal Riding Association was not intended to elect a Liberal, and neither was the $70,000 of which that was transferred directly from the party.

There is a human component to this problem. Over three hundred people volunteered their time and energy to elect you as a Liberal. They wanted you to represent them as a Liberal. Not anything else. I myself have some of your buttons and have come to your events. While I didn’t work on your campaign personally, I worked on one who funneled volunteers to yours when things weren’t looking good. In West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, we worked hard not to elect a Conservative, and we succeeded. To think that we gave you our time, and could still have lost the riding. What you have done is effectively make our hard work meaningless. Your actions have made the gifts of time that people gave meaningless. Do what you wish, but to me it seems ungrateful.

Finally, it all comes back to the constituents. The last time the people of Vancouver-Kingsway elected a Conservative was 1958. Do you think that they have had, after almost half a century, a sudden change of heart? You were elected to serve these people. Please ask yourself if it is these people you are serving, or yourself.

However, I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors, whether you decide to do the right thing and repay the campaign money and face your constituents, or not. I hope some shred of integrity remains. I wish you well in the private sector, and hope that your endeavors there go well.

Yours Truly,

Matthew Naylor

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