Most pundits agree the Conservatives only committed one major gaffe during the recent election campaign. This occurred when Stephen Harper attempted to address those who claimed to be fearful of a Conservative majority. In an odd move, Harper noted there was nothing to worry about because a Conservative government would be met by resistance and opposition from a Liberal appointed bureaucracy, judiciary and Senate.
As it turns out, these have turned out to be the most prophetic words of the entire campaign.
Regardless what one thinks of David Emerson crossing the floor to the Tories, it was perfectly legal and a common occurrence in Canadian politics. It happens all the time. It happened as recently as last year when Belinda Stronach joined the Liberals, saved Paul Martin’s butt with a crucial vote on a non-confidence motion, and was promptly given a cabinet post.
Sleazy and opportunistic to be sure. But perfectly legal and nothing without considerable precedent.
But while Emerson’s floor crossing is now the subject of an inquiry by Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro, Stronach’s move prompted no such investigation.
During the election, Shapiro was asked to investigate a Liberal candidate’s questionable real estate dealings. The ethics chief replied that he had no authority to look into activities that happen in between sittings of Parliament.
Once again though, this rule doesn’t seem to apply to the Tories as Emerson’s defection also took place after Parliament had been dissolved.
None of this should come as any surprise though.
Shapiro, like his lap dog predecessor, Howard Wilson, is a Liberal appointee and applies a double standard without shame. When he wasn’t exonerating Liberals for one allegation of wrongdoing or another, he was refusing to investigate them altogether. Conversely, he was nothing short of scathing in his critique of Conservatives under investigation.
Harper and company should expect more of the same.
With the publicly funded CBC always doing whatever it can to bolster support for the Liberals, and hundreds of Liberal appointed heads of crown corporations and government agencies who owe their positions to Paul Martin or Jean ChrÃ