Emerson: Get over it
The B.T. sphere is up in arms in a big way over the crossing over of David Emerson to join Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet (and isn't it cool to write that?).
One man's advice: Get over it.
Fact: Canadian politicians are far more prone to cross the aisle at a federal level than their U.S. counterparts.
I can think of only two U.S. members of Congress who switched parties since 1990: Vermont Sen. James Jeffords, who went from R to Independent (Democrat) and Louisiana Rep. Billy Tauzin, who went from D to R.
In the past year alone, you've had David Kilgour and Pat O'Brien bolt the Liberals for independent status, in addition to the infamous Stronach and Brison defections from the Conservatives to the Liberals. And Kilgour was originally a PC, I recall.
So you have to figure that party-switching is as much a part of Canadian life as the moose, the mountains and the Mounties (see song below).
Fact: Emerson appears to be quite well-qualified for the portfolio he's been handed. The biggest trade issue between the U.S. and Canada is the ongoing softwood dispute. Emerson's been in the industry. I'd be willing to bet that there's a tentative agreement on this dispute within six months (I say tentative because of those nasty meddling U.S. courts, to which the U.S. industry will run in a split-second.).
Fact: The Toronto Red Star doesn't like it. From noted Paul Martin bootlicker James Travers (whose Senate seat went up in flames on Jan. 23):
Harper is Prime Minister today because voters imposed change. Over almost 13 years, Liberal ethics became an oxymoron and entitlement a repeating embarrassment that made taxpayers nauseous.
So it's disturbing that among the good and bad choices that are always part of cabinet compromises are two ugly enough to suggest it's business as usual.
Remember this: It's Mr. Harper's job now to govern. In a perfect world, Mr. Emerson's services wouldn't have been needed (with a CPC majority).
Be practical here. Be realistic. It's a long road.
There will be other, more important matters ahead on which we have to focus our vigilance.
As noted pop philosopher and geriatric rocker Mick Jagger (and didn't the Stones seem pretty lame on the Super Bowl halftime show?) once sang...
You can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometime, you just might find that you get what you need.
Kate, Steve and Captain Ed have strong pieces on this also.