Emerson crosses the floor

By Joelle Robichaud

Changing parties never recieved as much media attention as when Belinda Stronach crossed over from the Conservatives to the Liberals. Then, David Emerson left the Liberals a day after he won in his riding. Both politicians have been called opportunists for their actions­–mostly by their consituents and rightly so.

Although the political system allows for these occurences, we have to remember that “legal” doesn’t always mean morally responsible. The outraged constituents in Emerson’s riding say they got him in power as a Liberal, therefore he should step down. The question of whether consituents should start to elect politicians based on their political strategies and not for their party arise.

Despite this possiblity, Canada’s current political system wouldn’t allow it. A few independent MPs are re-elected by actually representing their constituents. An MP should not be ignorant of his duties, though he should also not be limited by his party’s beliefs.

However, most people won’t elect the better person, but their preferred party. We allow these party generalisations to label the interests and actions of a candidate, no matter what he or she stands for personally.

Emerson will not step down from his position, expressing disbelief toward the reactions of his former supporters. Perhaps it is their fault for not supporting him as a Liberal candidate, but instead as a neighbour and friend. A lesson is learned by Emerson’s consituents, who voted the right personality for the job, just not the right ideology.

However, other complications arise in Emerson’s case. Not only did he take a cabinet position, the leader of his party will not even comment on the situation nor show support for his new cabinet minister. Maybe the prime minister could do his party a favour and step up to the plate. His schedule may be packed with many events surrounding his move into office, but his party’s behaviour has been questionable. Without a doubt, the tactics the Conservatives used to get into power worked–shut your mouth for two months so people don’t react to what you say is a good campaign method before and after the election.

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