Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hard-Ass Reporting

Some people just will not let go of the David Emerson defection, for reasons that have far less to do with defending democratic principles than with trying to force out the Conservative government early.

Others have taken to leaking comments by Emerson to the effect that he is shocked, SHOCKED, to see partisanship going on in the Conservative caucus.

The net effect of all this sniping has not been to advance electoral reform or even to dent the government's popularity, but to confirm the lazy and cynical nature of political reporting in this country.

David Emerson calling the Prime Minister a "hard-ass" is not news. Especially when he meant it in the most complimentary sense of the term:

"Stephen Harper’s a hard-ass because he has his views, he has his principles, he has his visions and he’s prepared to stand by it and not be bowed and intimidated by people," Emerson said.

"And in that sense, yeah, he’s a hard-ass," the embattled Emerson told reporters at a meeting of the Vancouver Board of Trade.

His former Liberal aide was quoted recently as saying Emerson told him he was frustrated over Harper’s tight control on cabinet.

Emerson denied most of those claims, saying the aide chose to spin their conversation in that direction.


Afterwards he told reporters he did have lunch with the aide and told him he’s had a hard time since he crossed the floor and that friends have turned on him.

"I expressed my frustration and the pain that I had been through in the last 60 days and I talked about it, not as a matter of being unhappy with the new Conservative government, I talked about it as being a direct result of the treatment I got from people who I thought were friends and colleagues, namely a lot of the partisans in the Liberal party."

He said he told the aide how much more sophisticated he thought the Conservatives were in running government.

"I commented on the fact that cabinet meetings are much more focused, much more business-like."

Emerson said he told the aide that Canada now has a prime minister who is willing to say No and that Emerson thinks that is a good thing.

"I probably did say he was a hard-ass. It was meant as a compliment, not a criticism. If I call you a hard-ass I think you’re a pretty solid guy and you’ve got grit. If I call you a soft-ass or a candy-ass then I’m criticizing you," Emerson said.

But then, Emerson calling Paul Martin a "soft-ass" isn't news any more.

The only person this story reflects badly on is not Emerson, or Harper, but the "jack-ass" reporter who tried to make a story out of nothing.

Source: Halifax Chronicle-Herald


davidson said...

emerson's defection will haunt both emerson and harper until after the next election when the cpc loses it's minority govt and emerson loses his seat. the only thing transparent about the "new government" is harper's intention to micromanage his way to one term.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

"Hard-ass"; "steely resolve"; it's all the same thing. It is the product of good leadership. We're not used to seeing a P.M. who doesn't dither.

That was sloppy, misleading reporting. The Star should run a retraction.

George Dance said...

As I see it, it's a plus for Harper that this story keeps going and going. There are a lot of partisans like davidson out there who think that Emerson's defection will be the issue that will bring down the Harper government and bring back the Liberals - whereas most Canadians I know have already forgotten who "David Emerson" is, and don't really care. From Harper's POV, it's best to keep the attention focussed on this story rather than on something that might actually hurt him in the next election.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

George, I think you are so right on. When I was canvassing for our local conservative candidate this past election, I was shocked by the number of people who had no clue who they were voting for, and couldn't care less. Emerson may be an issue now, but I bet if you took a random survey, you'd find very few people who even know who Emerson is, much less care.