When news of David Emerson’s defection broke out I’m sure everyone was somewhat surprised. Another man has reached out for power, is that so shocking? Of course the problem lies in the fact that he betrayed his constituents after a recent federal election. It doesn’t take much more than a moment before the word “fraud” comes to mind. So what are the consequences? Emerson, according to the Globe and Mail, has “accept[ed]… a three-tier portfolio including International Trade, responsibility for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the Pacific Gateway economic initiative;” Emerson is now being criticized by both Liberal and Conservative MPs over his decision to change parties; and the Conservative backbenchers appear to have just had the wool pulled from their eyes.
What I find difficult to understand is why would Emerson make such a move? I’m sure he expected that many in his riding would not be forgiving when he was presented with the idea to change parties. What made the man believe it was worthwhile to go through with the decision to join the Conservatives? I’m sure the backlash was easy to foresee. In addition, even if the portfolio promised to Emerson was his sole motivation, the government is still a minority one. Another election could theoretically happen at any time. Unfortunately, the answer to my question will have to wait, since it’s all speculation until the dust settles.
As I have already mentioned aloud several times, I find it funny how people can support a party, then seem shocked and surprised when the party pays its dues to the insiders after victory. The fact that some Conservative MPs do not seem to know much more than the general public regarding insider movements of their party is somewhat more worthy of concern rather than the question of a recall mechanism. So here’s another question: Did the Conservative backbenchers catch wind of the Emerson plan beforehand? Or were they really just as clueless as the general public?
Perhaps the question that most interests me at this point is how will the Conservative backbenchers respond to these recent decisions by the party leadership? Many quotes of anonymous Conservative MPs suggest that they received the news just like anyone else. To their misfortune they are members of the “club,” so even if it is reasonable to be unaware of the latest developments within the party, they will still look like dopes.