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Harper being investigated by ethics commish over Emerson


TRIBE Member
Interesting, I wonder if the commissioner read that plea to Liberal and NDP candidates...the Emerson situation is sketchy anyway, at least Belinda tried to be a tory, and she left over fundament disagreements with policy. Emerson left for a job (although a job I'm sure he'd be very good at) and maybe money...you can't really do that in the private world, executives can't crossover to the same job with the direct competition...well they can but its usually frowned upon and private executives don't have to hold to same (appearance of) ethical standards as MP's

I'm sure Emerson and Harper were cooking up this scheme before the election so Emerson lied to his constituants to get elected...he's a capable intelligent man who I'm sure would do very well taking care of the softwood issue and the Olympics...but you can't do that, sets a dangerous precedent, disenfranchises voters, disrepects democracy...it's very Bush and Canadians don't like that.

There should be a by-election..minimum.

Oh the irony...didn't Harper run on a platform of cleaning up gov't and eliminating the culture of entitlement?

At first I didn't think a Tory monority was that bad but after reading this article I'm now a little more concerned.

Depending on the outcome we may have another election in 6 months...or less, Paul Martin may still get his chance...and people say Canadian politics are boring.

story here

Harper to be investigated by ethics commissioner

CTV.ca News Staff

Ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro is launching a preliminary inquiry into conflict-of-interest allegations against Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Shapiro says he will look into what influence may have been wielded in the decision by former Liberal David Emerson to cross the Commons floor and join Harper's Conservative government cabinet.

"The ethics commissioner is apparently investigating ... whether Mr. Harper induced Mr. Emerson to come over with the offer of a cabinet post," CTV Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife said.

"It's a very serious thing when an ethics commissioner is investigating a prime minister and a cabinet minister over party switching."

In a letter to several MPs who complained about the switch, Shapiro says he will issue one report on the conduct of both Harper and Emerson, who is now international trade minister.

"There was no investigation when Belinda Stronach switched and when Scott Brison switched. This ethics commissioner has opened a Pandora's Box today with this investigation," Fife added.

PMO reacts

Shapiro's decision was met with a stern rebuttal from the Prime Minister's Office late Friday.

"It's a partisan complaint about a political dispute. It's politics 101 and I don't think there's any reason for the ethics commissioner to be looking into this," said Harper's communications director, Sandra Buckler.

She told CTV in an interview that Shapiro is applying a double-standard. The Tories have complained that Shapiro turned down their request to investigate Liberal Tony Valeri's landholdings during the election campaign. Shapiro said, as commissioner, he couldn't act between sittings of Parliament.

"And yet today he felt very comfortable going after a Conservative prime minister, and I think one has to ask why," said Buckler, "because according to Mr. Shapiro's own words, during the end of the last Parliament and the beginning of the new Parliament -- which is really November 30th to April 4th -- MPs and their activities cease.

"So I think what we see here today is a person with a bit of a partisan agenda, and we're very troubled by it."

A 'violation'

Meanwhile, Peter Julian, the B.C. New Democrat who asked the commissioner to look into the matter, lauded Shapiro's decision.

"The ethics commissioner obviously saw that based on his previous judgments, based on the stipulations of the member's code, there is a clear appearance of violation," he told CTV Vancouver.

Julian was referring to Shapiro's ruling in January on the case of Gurmant Grewal and Ujjal Dosanjh.

Former Tory MP Grewal surreptitiously taped bargaining sessions with Dosanjh, then the Liberal health minister, in which both MPs appeared to be haggling for Grewal's vote in the Commons last spring.

Both men were cleared by the commissioner, but in his report, Shapiro wrote that if Grewal had sought, or if Dosanjh had offered a reward or an inducement for crossing the floor, either would amount to a serious breach of the member's code.

In Emerson's case, Julian said "we have a very clear appearance of benefits being offered," and that "because a cabinet minister has a much larger salary, there are a whole range of perks and benefits.''

Emerson won his east Vancouver riding as a Liberal in the Jan. 23 election, winning by a solid majority over veteran New Democrat Ian Waddell. The Conservative candidate was a distant third.

However, just days after leading the Liberals' B.C. campaign attack on the Tories, Emerson jumped ship and joined the new Conservative government.

Amid an increasing uproar, Emerson later apologized for the switch in letters that arrived in the mailboxes of his constituents.

"I know many of my constituents are having difficulty with the choice I have made," he said in the letter. "To those of you who are upset with my decision, I apologize."

Despite the controversy, Emerson recently pledged to run again for Vancouver-Kingsway in the next federal election, saying hard work on B.C. issues such as softwood lumber, the Olympics and the Pacific Gateway trade initiative will win over the dissenters.

"I'm driving those issues hard and I strongly believe that people will look at the specifics of my job and my performance in the next election," he told reporters last month.

Emerson, former CEO of forest giant Canfor Corp. and once a senior B.C. government bureaucrat, was initially flummoxed by the backlash his floor-crossing spawned.

A reluctant recruit to partisan politics, Emerson contemplated quitting but then said he believes he was right to jump.

He is the only Tory MP in Vancouver's urban core.
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Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member
This hypocracy is hardly surprising. Asshole campaigns on a platform of cleaning up government and making it accountable, no culture of entitlement etc. then he has the gaul to get pissed when the ethics guy goes to investigate this move.

Culture of entitlement? WTF is up with his appointment from Montreal (can't remember the guys name at the moment...)

At the very least he should have said it's all good so long as there is a by-election in Vancouver. That would have kept his accountability prmise a little more valid. Instead, he's buried his head in the sand, claiming that there isn't a problem here.