"Red Tory" Garth Turner turns to the Liberals
As the world turns, the world of most people only turns one way.
Unless you’re Garth Turner – in which case you would probably wish it to turn both ways. Today, Halton MP Garth Turner repudiated a prior promise not to join the Liberal party after being kicked out of the Conservative government’s caucus due to his breech of caucus confidentiality.
Turner had previously stated he would sit as an independent MP. He had even refused overtures from the Green Party’s Elizabeth May.
As his goals, Turner listed, among other things, tax reform, political reform, “digital democracy” and environmental activism – things that have never happened under the modern Liberal party. Some things of which had been talked about, but none of which had ever really happened.
In recent months, Turner has been criticized as being stubborn, opportunistic, and treacherous. Many people – including myself – have defended him from such claims. Imagine the embarrassment of individuals such as myself having learned today that such accusations may be more true than we had admitted.
Given that one of his cardinal reasons for joining the Liberal party was “to sit on a committee” is demonstration enough of his opportunism.
Turner claimed that he would find “greater freedom” within the Liberal party – the same Liberal party that forced Dr. Carolyn Parrish to vote against extending compensation to victims of Hepatitis-infected blood beyond an arbitrary date that conveniently protected the Liberal government from accepting responsibility for victims infected during Pierre Trudeau’s administration.
When Stephan Dion took a strong, strict partisan stance against Stephen Harper’s speech to Ottawa’s Canadian Club, Turner, the MP now enjoying “greater freedom” simply dutifully said, “I agree.”
Turner decried that he had promised his constituents that the Conservative government would be, “moderate, tolerant and mainstream”. To anyone other than an opportunist or an ideologue, there is simply no way to construe the current government as having been anything but moderate, tolerant and mainstream.
Despite the fact that it was a Liberal government that instituted the Chinese head tax, the Conservative party, under Stephen Harper issued an apology, and has offered compensation.
The Conservative party also introduced the Clean Air Act – legislation superior to Kyoto, yet opposed by “environmental lobby” ideologues because it isn’t Kyoto. Despite the claims of various ideologues, the Conservative party has consistently governed from the center, and had even stepped to the left on a number of occasions – including an announcement of aid grants designed to help the homeless.
Turner claimed that, despite his previous promises, joining the Liberals didn’t compromise his integrity. However, he did end his press conference on a strong note – promising that if Harper would call bi-elections for David Emerson, Wajid Kahn and Michel Fortier to defend their decisions to the electorate, he would be part of a fourth by-election.
But, then again, we know how well Turner keeps his promises.