Tuesday, February 07, 2006

At least Harper has a sense of humour

Globe and Mail:
And in perhaps his most Machiavellian choice, Mr. Harper made Ontario MP Helena Guergis the parliamentary secretary to International Trade Minister David Emerson.

Ms. Guergis was an outspoken proponent of a private members' bill that would have forced any MP who switched parties to face a by-election before returning to work.

Mr. Emerson, of course, is the former Liberal industry minister whose stunning defection to the Tory front bench was the biggest headline of Monday's cabinet announcement.
Update Also from the Globe and Mail
One MP who tabled a private member's bill in the last Parliament — Ontario's Helena Guergis — told reporters she planned to raise the issue again with colleagues.

Her office was set to issue a press release earlier Tuesday reaffirming her support for anti-crossing legislation. That was before Mr. Harper made her parliamentary secretary to none other than Mr. Emerson on Tuesday afternoon. The press release was not issued.

Update 2. Apparently Ms. Guergis was not about to issue that press release (see here)


Scoop said...

Helena indicates she's 'distressed' at Emerson crossing the floor, but quite willing to work with him...

Aeolus said...

I love it. (It's all a dream, right? We're not really awake, are we?)

nitangae said...

I expect his main goal is to shut a difficult MP up. I expect that he will succeed and that the bill will never be discussed.

Frankly, I don't like the bill as it is suggested. There are all sorts of reasons why somebody might leave a party, and forcing a by-election on such MPs risks putting too much power into the hands of the whip. Potentially cause corruption, I think. After all, what do we do in cases where an MP taks a bold stand and is expelled from the caucus? Such a bill might prevent, say, Conservative MPs voting against a bill that is dangerous to civil liberties (I am thinking of the recent vote in Britain, by the way, but there are numerous other cases where recusant MPs might be needed)

I wonder if some restrictions on taking cabinet posts too soon after a switch might be in order. Perhaps require at least a months delay.