Dion makes potentially libelous accusation
As it often seems to in Canada, the mainstream media has allowed a potentially big story to slip through its fingers.
Yesterday, on CTV's Mike Duffy Live, Liberal leader Stephane Dion addressed rumours that banished former Liberal MP Joe Comuzzi would join the Conservative party. He suggested that Comuzzi, who broke ranks with the Liberal party over the recent federal budget, should be investigated for selling his seat to the Conservatives.
That's an extremely strong accusation. And despite Gerard Kennedy's later reluctance to either stand by his leader's accusation or distance himself from it, it does raise many interesting questions about Dion as a leader.
During the same interview, Dion also addressed his refusal to allow his MPs to vote in the interests of their ridings, as opposed to his willingness to allow his senators to do precisely that.
Comuzzi told Dion he would vote in favour of the budget due to its support of Thunder Bay's Molecular Medicine Research Centre. Before even having voted so, Comuzzi was expelled from the Liberal caucus (he didn't leave his party, as the 23 June CTV story falsely indicates).
Yet Dion defended his decision to allow Liberal senators to vote their conscience on the budget (which passed, necessitating support of Prime Minster Stephen Harper's allegedly "bad" budget from Liberal senators) under the following rationale: Parliament can defeat the government; The Senate can't.
In one interview, Dion admitted that his expulsion of Comuzzi was more about Dion's desire to defeat a confidence motion in the house than his support of a budget that Dion pledged to oppose before he had even seen it.
He then followed this up by flinging a very serious accusation at Comuzzi, one that will prove to be libelous if Comuzzi continues to sit as an MP, as opposed to resigning so that another individual may run for his seat.
Even then, could Dion's accusation also be applied to Belinda Stronach? Garth Turner? Wajid Kahn? David Emerson? Former Conservative MP (now independent) Bill Casey was also wrongfully expelled from his caucus over the budget. If he defects to the Liberals -- and certainly Dion would be chomping at the bit to have him -- would he also be "selling his seat"?
Dion has opened two very dangerous cans of worms -- one that proves that party unity means far less to him than his single-minded desire to become Prime Minister, and another that proves that, despite his claims that he is a "gentleman", he is willing to say absolutely anything to gain an edge for himself, no how ungentlemanly his comments may be.
With a slanderous approach such as this, it's no wonder that so few Canadians want Dion to be Prime Minister. If the mainstream media -- particularly CTV, which is doing a disappointing job of reporting comments made on its own telecast -- were bringing such things to the attention of Canadians, it's likely that fewer still could stomach the thought.
UPDATE: Comuzzi has officially joined the Conservative party caucus.