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