Controversy over David Emersonís Switch of Parties

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« David Emersonís Switch from the Liberals to the Conservatives [Previous]

Introduction to controversy over David Emersonís switch of political parties

When Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Monday 6 February 2006 that David Emerson had moved from the Liberals to the Conservatives and appointed him to his cabinet, the move and appointment were controversial (see, e.g., the Controversy section of the Wikipedia entry for David Emerson).

Mr. Emerson said that the decision to switch parties was difficult, but thought it benefited his riding and province:

      I got a call and an opportunity to actually have an impact rather than operate from the opposition side of the House. And I thought that would bear more fruit for the people of the riding and the people of the province. (CBC News, 9 February 2006)

Mixed Reviews

The Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province, which are part of the same media company, gave the Emerson switch quite similar, mixed reviews in their editorials on 7 February 2006.

Supporters of David Emersonís Switch

Mr. Emersonís move was defended by, among others, former Conservative Party MP John Reynolds, BC Premier Gordon Campbell, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, the Vancouver Board of Trade, and former Conservative Party Prime Minister Kim Campbell.

Critics of David Emersonís Switch

Opposition to the switch was considerable and widely voiced by the general public, people in Canadian political life, and individuals in the media. Many called for Mr. Emerson to resign and for there to be a byelection in the Vancouver-Kingsway riding. (Mr. Emerson cannot be recalled because there is no federal recall legislation. Incidentally, BC is the only Canadian province that has recall legislation for its provincially-elected MLAs.)

Groups and websites that were critical of Mr. Emersonís switch included:

The Campaign to De-Elect David Emerson — The De-Elect Campaign for a year demanded David Emersonís resignation and the holding of a byelection in his Vancouver-Kingsway riding. The Campaign organized many protests in support of these aims. On 6 February 2007, the anniversary of the official announcement of Mr. Emersonís switch of parties, the De-Elect Campaign announced that it was no longer seeking Mr. Emersonís resignation, but instead, wanted him to run again in the next Federal Election (not necessarily in Vancouver-Kingsway), so that voters could judge him (see Howell, 2007). The De-Elect Campaign website remains a good source of information about Mr. Emerson's switch of parties.

Real Democracy — Real Democracy has the goal of safeguarding Canadaís democracy and raising public awareness about anti-democratic concerns in Canada. Real Democracy has organized events such as the 2 April 2006 Walk for Democracy, attended by almost 1,000 people, and the 3 February 2007 Dance for Democracy, attended by more than 150 people.

mike watkins dot ca (formerly mikewatkins.net) — Mike Watkins is a Conservative Party member and Vancouver-Kingsway resident; another good information source.

www.RecallDavidEmerson.com — The first major critical website; encouraged people to sign an online petition that had 21,001 signatories (as of 6 September 2008). www.RecallDavidEmerson.com is no longer operating (as of June 2007) but remains a useful resource. Some of its pages are archived at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Message In The Air — Launched 21 March 2006 in reaction to David Emersonís switch of parties, with the goal of improving Canadian democracy; sponsor of 3 April 2006 ďDavid Emerson Call HomeĒ flight over Parliament. No longer operating (as of June 2007); archived at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine

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