Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Turner: The Man, The Myth, The Megalomania

After keeping the parliamentary press gallery in suspense with cryptic hints about revelations of disturbing messages from sinister forces within the Conservative Party, Garth Turner let us all down with the anti-climactic announcement that he's letting his party membership card lapse at year's end.

But to hear Turner speak about it, you'd think that he was the victim of some mysterious yet malevolent process, condemned without charge, let alone trial:

Here is what the leader of the Conservative Party, its top officials and the National Caucus chair, have determined:

1. I have been disqualified as a party candidate for in the next election. I am a card-carrying member of the party, and yet denied the right to be a candidate.

2. That decision came in a closed meeting by the Party's national executive. No reason given.

3. The national president of the party says I will not be permitted to seek a Conservative nomination again.

4. My suspension from caucus is indefinite, no reason will be given for it. No evidence will be provided to my electors. And I don't know what indefinite means...

5. National caucus chair Rahim Jaffer tells the local riding all of these matters are all internal.

Let me summarize:

* The party has removed an MP nominated by the local party members and elected by the voters.

* The party will not explain this to those folks.

* The candidate they selected for the next election is being set aside. No explanation.

* All of these actions were taken in secret, without any input or appeal, and yet materially affect the voters of a large electoral district.

* This raises more questions - about the role average Canadians actually have in the political system, and their ability to choose their own representatives - and about this government's commitment to transparency, openness and accountability in the political system.

Not really, Garth. You knew going into the whole process of nomination, campaigning and election that in return for the support of the party, a little loyalty and discretion was expected from you. Such as not betraying caucus confidences, or running to the microphones to damn your own government every time it made a decision that you didn't like.

You were able to survive nearly five years in the old Progressive Conservative caucus, back in the bad old Mulroney era, when party and prime ministerial discipline were even stricter than in the new Conservative Party. What changed between then and now?

You can't blame PMO or National Council for all your troubles. PMO and National Council didn't take the initiative; your own Ontario caucus colleagues, many of whom agreed with you on policy and principle, expelled you because they couldn't trust you not to sandbag them.

And yet despite your expulsion, your colleagues and the party might have well restored you to the fold, if you had shown a little contrition, or recognition of the damage you had done.

Instead, you chose to declare yourself the martyr to the cause of populism and democracy, cast out into the darkness for your heresies.

What great principle have you been sacrificed for, except for your belief in your own legend?

You always pictured yourself as the leader of a great cause. Now you have one: yourself. Pity you won't have many followers.

Source: garth.ca (All Garth, all the time!)


William E. Demers said...

Here, here!

Anonymous said...

I'm betting Turner is re-elected as an independent. And Harper will not call a by-election, no matter what. Thinking Tories have to be wondering what the impact of 300 voiceless gutless Conservative candidates will have on the next election. That's not going to change - Harper learned that technique here in Alberta - now he'll learn it doen't work in the larger world.
Ask Ralph Klein why Ken Kowalski was demoted from Cabinet to backbench. Le meme chose.

Miles Lunn said...

I think the reason Turner survived five years as a Progressive Conservative is his views were more in line with the Mulroney government than the Harper government. I suspect he tried to change from within, but when it failed he spoke out hoping that would force the Harper government to back down, which they didn't. Whats interesting is every supporter Harper has lost since 2004 has been from the old PCs, which should make many moderate Conservatives wary of the direction the party is heading in.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason Turner survived five years as a Progressive Conservative is his views were more in line with the Mulroney government than the Harper government.

I see no reason to insult Mulroney at this time.