No ethics breach in Emerson case?

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Well, Bernard Shapiro has ruled that there was no breach of ethics in Emerson and Harper's conduct.

I'm very surprised that it came out this way, but there you have it. Now let's see if there are any changes in parliament on how crossing the floor will work.

Boo Emerson. Not that I voted for him but that's my riding and he's a wanker.

And then he says he might support a bill stopping people from doing exactly what he did (see link below).

What a dick.

Don't worry, he PROMISED to run in the next election as a Conservative. Surely, Emerson is as good as his word.

It all comes down to "Did you vote for the person or the party.."

I see the persons name on the ballot, thats who I vote for. I believe we elect people to run things for us. They are not bound to do as I or you would (or think they should). We elected them because we trusted their judgement and gave them the responsiblility to make the decision.

Crossing the floor has SFA to do with this.

Before Emerson became a big deal, I could have sworn everybody was complaining about too much centralized power in the hands of party leaders, and there was not enough MP independence.

I didn't vote conservative, but when Harper picked Emerson to work in his cabinet, my estimation of both individuals rose considerably.

You must be ignoring the sound bites before the election where Emerson was "going to be Stephen Harper's worst nightmare"

Strange, opportunistic bedfellows indeed. I guess all is forgiven.


Obviously there are many who disagree with you. This is just another case of politicians doing what is in their best interests. It only shows a lack of commitment and integrity on his behalf. Like I said, I didn't vote for either party in questions, I think they are very similar as it stands. But like Stump said, to rally your constituents with phrases like 'i'll make harper my worst enemy' and then to switch sides a week later? Come on, that's just hypocritical, cheap politics and dirty.

Wow. Your kidding. A politician who says one thing and does another. Like you guys must be really torn up about it.

I think the difference between Emerson and (fill in the blank) is the degree of slickness. The only error Emerson made was being politically inept about the whole thing. In my books, not being political enough, that's a plus.

And by the way kermit, how does Emerson sitting in the back bench in opposition serve your interests? If you were given a choice--a very terrible, terrible choice--to send Stockwell Day or that other guy, the new minister who used to be a phys ed teacher, or Emerson to negotiate softwood lumber, who would you choose? To heck with it kermit, you can have your choice out of any of the Alliance/Conservative wackos.

Remember that you must choose wisely, trade with the U.S. is our single most important economic driver. (I thought I read somewhere that it constitutes 40 per cent of every Canadian's pay cheque.)

Is it just me or does B.C. seem like the type of province that would cut off its nose to spite its face?

If Emerson were the rep for my riding, I'd assume it would be easier to get the ear of a


on local issues, rather than trying to get the attention and time of a cabinet minister. If you want

the people of Vancouver-Kingsway to take one for the team then say so (Mssrs Emerson and

Harper), but it's hardly a great boon for his constituents.

As to negotiating with the 'Mericans... does the minister actually do that, or does (s)he have a

phalanx of lawyers advising them? I don't know, but I'd guess the latter as it seems quite a large

job for one man, even one of Mr. Emerson's qualities (and I said I'd give the sarcasm a rest! ;-).

And, politicians who say one thing and do another may be business as usual, but it doesn't make

any of them less of a power-hungry weasel for it. Further, if Emerson is crappy at playing politics,

then he's a crappy politician. The way I see it, it's either wrong what he did, in which case he's a

jerk, or he's so clueless that he doesn't see how such a move would play out and he's obtuse. Then

there's option three, he's an opportunist who really doesn't care what people think, so long as he's

kissing the ass that's in power.

Take your pick. Any way you slice it, the majority of Kingsway voters voted for

a Liberal and got a turncoat. To me it's proof that the people who desire power are often the worst

possible people to put in power, as the desire to remain in power corrupts their intentions.

Sure it would be easier to get the ear of a backbencher than a minister. It would even be easier to get the ear of an opposition backbencher. I wonder why?

As per your hire-an-egghead theory--just appoint some smart guys who do all the work and have them report to you. Well, the U.S. presidency has been running that way for six years. You tell me, how has it been going?

By the way, are we sure we want to shackle MPs to their parties? Be careful what you wish for. Check out the letter by Karin Litzcke in this weeks Georgia Straight:

I have no problem with people changing affiliations to different parties; I agree it is a good thing that people grow and change. However, to run a sucessful campaign with one party, vowing to make life hell for the opposition and then to switch to that party in such a short period of time? That's just sneaky, deceitful and a slap in the face to those who voted for him and the Liberals.

All leaders have their cadre of experts and advisors. But, even eggheads can't fix a flawed premise.

Eggheads can't force a man to be a good leader.

Eggheads can't help a man who's determined to start a land war in Asia!

I'll assume you've read Sun-Tzu?

Like Kermit, I've no problem with people switching parties. As W. Churchill noted, people are

communist at 20, liberal at 30, conservative at 40 (or something to that effect). But to crow from

the rooftops about your opponent's foolishness, then to join up with him at the first opportunity...

what does that make you?

His switch reeks of hubris and that's a bad quality for a someone who's entrusted with representing

the wishes of the public. It's certainly not the mark of a Buddhist, as Mr. Emerson likes to paint


so we agree on something stump?

I can think of hundreds of political acts that make me far more cynical about politics above and beyond David Emerson's floor crossing. Chief among those would be the NDP's self-righteous and hypocritical anger over the whole affair. I mean we are talking about the same party with Gordon Wilson and Dave "buy me the leadership" Barrett.

Maybe it is matter of style. Emerson just happens to be a little less varnished.

My guess, the anti-Emerson crowd say they want truth in politics, but they can't handle the truth.

I agree with what seems to be most of the posters here, that switching parties should be allowed (or at least, you should be able to leave the party that you started out with), but the timing of everything is what gets me.

Buck, I have to disagree with you, since Canada is a parliamentary system rather than a presidential one (i.e. the US), your vote has to reflect on both your local representative and the party leader. Many people choose to vote for the party with their local representative being the luck recipient of those votes. People may argue that both parties are involved are very similar, but in theory, they do have very differing ideologies.

IMHO, the most troubling aspect of this whole debacle is the participation of both parties. Harper ran a campaign that was, at least partially, based on ending this sort of thing (Stronach was a little to recent for his tastes); and as pointed out above, Emerson made some very strong statements against the conservatives.

Michael...just becuase the norm is for politicians to say one thing and do another, should we accept that? In the end, I don't think that the Emerson defection will have that big an impact on the government as a whole, but I do support the action that's being taken by the electorate, it shows that people care, and that people are demanding more from politicians.

"so we agree on something stump?"

Probably more than we realize. Unfortunately, no one has ever accused me of an over-supply of

tact. Sagittarius to the core, if you believe that rocks in the sky can influence your personality.

My main argument supporting the Emerson move is SOFTWOOD LUMBER. A number of interior towns in B.C. have been shut down because of SOFTWOOD LUMBER. I support Harper who was able to fill this position with the biggest brain available because B.C. and lots of Canada need a SOFTWOOD LUMBER agreement.

The reason the unions have got pay raises, we are buying news buses, building more roads and everything else is that B.C. can afford it because of trade with the U.S.

I am not overly cynical about politicians T-Dot, I am just looking at who and what butters my bread.

Stump seemed to infer that whomever you appoint it does not matter since it is all run by a massive bureaucracy anyway--the "Yes, Minister" view of politics. Go ahead and take your chance with Stockwell Day as head of International Trade since he will do no better or worse than Emerson.

I guess I will show some naievitee. I believe that leadership and smarts do matter, and the right person in the right job can make a difference.

I guess I am just not as cynical as you guys.

The issues aren't the point. I don't know if Emerson can do a better or worse job than my grandma with regards to softwood lumber, us trade or shuffleboard.

It's the fact that he basically lied his way though a campaign and got into office fraudulently.

Are you saying the ends justify the means?

"I believe that leadership and smarts do matter"

They do. Unfortunately, a lot of us feel that Emerson and Harper didn't demonstrate either quality in this instance.

Dear Gold River,

The federal government understands how much you are hurting. The mill has laid off all of the forestry workers. Most of the houses in town are now worthless and the people are carrying large mortgages they have no hope of ever paying off. We orginally appointed David Emerson, who has a PhD in economics and many years experience as a forestry CEO, to try and push forward a new softwood trade deal. We have had second thoughts due to the hew and cry coming from Greater Vancouver. We asked him to step aside. Your new minister is Diane Ablonczy. Her working experience is being a teacher, lawyer and grain farmer.

Although she is not the ideal candidate and it will take her all of a year to gain any mastery of her portfolio, I am sure you will agree with me that is the right thing to do.


Stephen Harper

Not the point.

Do you agree that the ends justify the means?

Dear Michael:

I grew up on Vancouver Island. When I graduated from high school in '81 (not a typo, but I wish!) I could see the writing on the wall even then. The future was not in forestry, despite the fact there were still great jobs to be had in the mills and in the bush. Now, I'd love to believe I'm a genius equipped with 20/20 foresight, but I'm sure you'll disavow me of that notion! (damn, I can't NOT be sarcastic no matter how I try :-)

I find it odd you would suggest it's up to the government to vouchsafe the economic futures of towns and people who hitch their wagons to just one horse. I would have thought adapt or die would be more your motto.

If Emerson is the only man for the job then why didn't Harper approach him before the election? They already share a similar approach to economics (isn't it called the Calgary school?).

I put it to you that Mr. Emerson thought Paul Martin had the winning hand with two pair, but once he saw Harper was holding a full house he was over on that side of the table as fast as a Vegas gold-digger looking for a chump on a lucky streak.

My original point, at the top of this thread, is that many politicians have gotten away with far worse because they have mastered style over substance. Clinton, now a beloved world leader, lied to the nation. Glen Clark and Paul Martin knived their party leaders.

I agree that Emerson lacks style.


I still don't understand what that has to do with anything. Just because somebody else did it, it's ok for Emerson. Is that the point that you're trying to make?

As for Emerson being the right guy for the job...well maybe, but maybe not. By being a former forestry head (and former head of Vancouver International Airport Authority, now those are two similar areas) he's the best man for the job? If that's the case, why didn't the NFL or the NHL use former players to negotiate? (I know, that's a bit of a stretch, but I only have a few minutes to respond).

Personally, I'd rather have a lawyer running the negotiations, or heavens forbid, a negotiator.

"many politicians have gotten away with far worse"

And the Juice killed his wife, and got away with it. Are we now going to condone murderous rages?

I can tell when your back is against the wall Stump, you always pull out the O.J. card.

My point is that not just a few but most politicians have done far worse and received no reprobation from the press or public. Many politicians have pulled off jaw dropping reversals of policy--policy that was part of their electoral platform--and there was barely a murmur.

Why are we all dumping on Emerson? Emerson is getting dumped on because he is not politically saavy enough. Sad to say, but as far as Vancouver politics goes, being slick counts for something.

And I do not believe that Emerson is going to solve all our free trade problems. But why not give the job to someone who has a better chance of succeeding? I know this thread feels otherwise, but I feel the job is important enough for Harper to make the deals that are necessary.

And by the way, this is how minority government works. We asked for it. Why are we complaining all of a sudden?

And lastly, why were people surprised that he switched? He was a star candidate that was parachuted into the position. He was not a lifelong Liberal.

And really lastly, I respect Emerson because he does not need to do this, unlike professional politicians, mostly found in the NDP. (Yes, I am talking to you Ian Wadell.) He can go back to being a CEO and get 50 times the salary and none of the flack.

My back is against the wall? For once I'm in the majority. No one seems to be jumping to your defence here Michael.

I'm all for gazillionaires seeking office, mostly because they're harder to buy off (Emerson and

Stronach being the exceptions that prove the rule perhaps), but perhaps you could explain why

someone who makes their fortune then goes into public life is to be admired more than someone

who chooses to make serving the public their vocation?

If you want denigrate someone who's won more elections than your boy Emerson has even

run in, at least get the spelling of their name right. And looking at their backgrounds, which man do

you think is better able to represent the people of the Kingsway riding?

There's an old name for guys like Emerson:



1. A Northerner who went to the South after the Civil War for political or financial advantage.

2. An outsider, especially a politician, who presumptuously seeks a position or success in a new



David L. Emerson

Career Background: He has worked as a researcher for the Economic Council of Canada in Ottawa,

as B.C.'s deputy minister of finance in 1984, and as president and CEO of the Western and Pacific

Bank of Canada in Vancouver (now the Canadian Western Bank). In 1990 he returned to the B.C.

civil service as deputy minister of finance, and was soon named deputy minister to the premier,

and then president of the B.C. Trade Development Corporation. In 1998, he was appointed

president and CEO of Canfor Corporation, B.C.'s largest forestry company.

Electoral History

Federal: Elected in Vancouver-Kingsway in 2004

Political History

Cabinet: Minister of Industry


Ian Waddell

Party: New Democratic Party

Career Background: He has worked as a history teacher, a professor of criminology at Simon Fraser

University, an assistant city prosecutor, as director of Vancouver Community Legal Assistance, a

member of the Alcohol and Drug Commission, counsel to the Berger Commission regarding the

Mackenzie Valley Pipeline in the late 1970s, and as partner in a law firm prior to the 1996 election.

He also practised as community lawyer and was chair of the Fraser Basin Management Board. He is

a former head of the Storefront Lawyers of Vancouver.

Electoral History

Provincial: Elected in Vancouver-Fraserview in 1996; defeated in 2003

Federal: Elected in Vancouver-Kingsway in 1979, 1980 and 1984.

Elected in Port Moody-Coquitlam in 1988; defeated in 1993 and defeated in Vancouver Kingsway in


The NDP is a group of professional politicians. I don't think anyone will argue that. Some consider that to be a good thing and some don't.

What there is no argument about whatsoever is that CORPORATE CEOS ARE BAD, no matter what. That is the religion of the left, a black and white vision of the world. (I only thought Bush was guilty of this.) That is part of the reason Emerson is getting a rough ride. If he got religion and walked to the NDP, perhaps making a principled stand against fish farms, you would not see the same sort of outcry you do now.

You seem to have a thing against the NDP, while I don't know why, it doesn't really matter.

Who cares what party he was/is/will be supporting? The fact is he lied. As far as I can tell, the only rationale you're offering up is that others have done worse so what's the big deal. And you haven't addressed my question if the ends justify the means so I'll assume you do. That's unfortunate.

What I am saying kermit is if you are going to throw out Emerson for going against his word, what other politicians are you going to throw out for going against his or her word?

And who said I am against the NDP? I just find Jack Layton's hypocritcal, self-righteous rage against Emerson far more gag inducing than the walk across the floor. But then, that is just me.

If you say Emerson is just another in a long line of crooked politicians why be upset at Layton who is just another in a long line of hypocrites?

Seems to me the line has to be drawn somewhere. How can you accept 'someone else did worse so ignore what I did' as a legitimate excuse? When does that end?

So as long as your smooth you can get away with whatever?

Please explain....


And don't get me wrong. I love the guy.

So you think politicians can do whatever they want as long as they look good doing it? Ethics and morals out the window?

So you think we should remove any politician who breaks his or her word? And throw functioning government out the window?

No, we should not remove every politician who breaks their word. But it would be nice if they were held accountable for breaking their word. In this case, he should submit to a re-election. Hell, he says he might back that proposal if it came to a vote!

Will you answer the question I asked?

enough has been said elsewhere, but just as disturbing to me, or possibly even more, is Harper's role in this.

Emerson behaved in a manner that was inconsistent with many of his stated positions (i.e. he was against Harper), but he didn't make strong statements about crossing the floor.

Harper, however, made many strong statements about stopping that sort of action.

I am an accountant, and they teach us over and over again, that appearance can be more important than substance, so if our conduct even remotely appears biased (even if we've done nothing that is actually wrong) we have to change what we are doing. As a politician, both Harper and Emerson have to be aware of the perceptions of what they are doing. Even if they both truly believe that they are doing the best thing for their consitituents and the country, at face value, they came off looking like arrogant, self-serving pricks.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if Harper felt that the only person that could fulfill the role that Emerson was placed, he could have been appointed as an independent, or even as a liberal. That to me would have been the more honest, honourable thing to do (sitting as an independent).

I still think that more people voted for Emerson because of his party, and that's the real problem here.

Sure kermit. It is a horrible idea. See

What's a horrible idea? Holding people accountable?

How does that article illustrate your point? What is your point?

You're not answering my question. Do the ends justify the means?? Can politicians do whatever they want as long as they do it smiling and kissing babies?

"The NDP is a group of professional politicians. I don't think anyone will argue that."

I will. But first you have to define what a 'professional politician' is so we can apply the same standards to all.

You love those soundbites Michael, 'the left', black and white vision of the world', 'all corporate CEOs are bad'.

Too bad you're relying on stereotypes that doesn't really hold up to serious examination.

"they came off looking like arrogant, self-serving pricks."

Sometimes perception and reality ARE the same thing.

did you read the last letter in the column? It's just as valid as the "independent education researcher's" letter.

I'm lost and until you explain what you mean with your own words I suppose I will remain in the dark.

I don't understand what position you're arguing for here.

Stump, the left uses loaded words all the time. I assume you have watched a few Michael Moore films? For example, "carpetbagger" is a loaded word.

The ex-mayor Campbell, interviewed on Voice of B.C., had a good definition of a professional politician, someone who ran for student council at school and university and then carried on. The BC Liberals have a few professional politicians. Svend is a professional politician.

Kermit, I entirely agree that Emerson ran as a Liberal, bashed the conservatives and then joined them as a cabinet minister. You feel betrayed, and he should be punished, at least by running again. Fine and I can sympathize with that sentiment. From my own point of view, I cannot say that his deception is any greater than other political acts, for example, reversing yourself on political platforms. Emerson did not varnish this switch or finesse it, like a more seasoned politico, who could have softened the blow. Frankly, this approach seems refreshingly honest to me. I detest grandstanding, self-righteous, windy politicians. There are too many of them on either side of the aisle.

I also find his decision eminently practical, and it is how minority government works. I also believe MPs should be think for themselves instead of being slaves to their parties. You believe he sold out to be a cabinet minister. I believe he doesn't need to do this but he is interested in doing something and his work can be accomplished in either of the centrist parties. Emerson was cherry picked from the private sector by the Liberals to use his skills to accomplish a few things. In his short time in office, he got high praise from the media (Voice of B.C., again) for his work. I believe that if he is good, use him, especially if you have a rookie cabinet.

Not good enough you say, he decieved us and he should be out. Then we agree to disagree. But to paraphrase Principal Skinner, high-minded morals and ethics are all very good, but they don't pay the pickle man.

"Not good enough you say, he decieved us and he should be out."

No, I never said that. He should submit to a byelection. If he wins that, great, all the power to him.

"You believe he sold out to be a cabinet minister."

No, I never said that. I don't know what his motivations are. I can speculate, but who knows...

"Emerson did not varnish this switch or finesse it, like a more seasoned politico, who could have softened the blow. Frankly, this approach seems refreshingly honest to me."

Ignorance is refreshing to you?

Like I said before, I think the similarities between the Libs and Tories are MUCH greater than the differences. This isn't about the freedom to move between parties. I think that's a good thing. Change and growth is good.

But within a month of a federal election? To a position of power? Either this man is a bald faced liar doing whatever he can to get more power/money, or he is so ignorant of politics he shouldn't be in them in the first place.

"carpetbagger" is a loaded word. "

But I don't use that word to describe an entire subset of people, just one who fits the definition.

All people on the 'left' (an idiotic term, esp. as the people from the 'right' often aren't) aren't cut from the same cloth, so why pretend it's the case and lump them all together?

I've only seen Bowling for Columbine. Helluva film. Haven't seen anything so incisive from the 'right' yet. Any recommendations?

Sorry for my poor paraphrasing kermit, but when you called him a dick, I thought all bets were off.

So Stump, when you use the word "corporate" or "multinational" in the future, we can assume it is a neutral term?

Regarding films from the right, can't say. I do like David Brooks, the columnist for the NYTimes.

You're very good at avoiding answering and deflecting the questions. Maybe you should be a politician...

What about that movie with Kirk Cameron where all the good people come up to heaven after judgement day. That was pretty entertaining. I forget what it's called though - didn't do real big box office like those lefty Hollywood ones.

Why is the explanation so hard to believe?

Step 0) Vancouver gets bid for 2010 Olympics

Step 1) Conservatives win a minority in the election.

Step 2) Conservatives shut-out in Vancouver (future home of 2010 Olympics)

Step 3) Conservative leadership think to themselves "oh fudge, we don't have ANY MP's from Vancouver... we have 2 choices a) give the job of Minister for Olympics to someone NOT from Vancouver, or b) Offer the job to someone from Vancouver"

Step 4) Conservatives take a look at the Vancouver MP's they find the usual suspects.

Step 5) They go with the guy who seems most well qualified given some criteria. They offer him the job

Step 6) The guy thinks "Hey, I need to represent my riding, and one of the MAJOR F'ING ISSUES in my riding will be the Olympics. Being the minister for the Olympics will allow me the most imput into how that affects my riding" and accepts the job.

I don't see why this seems so unreasonable.