Trading Spaces

When Belinda Stronach ran for the leadership of the Conservative Party last year, many political observers questioned the fit. Belinda had familial ties to the Liberal Party, she promoted progressiveness and inclusiveness… and she wanted to be Canada’s top Conservative?

Today Stronach announced that she would cross the floor, becoming Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, citing concerns over the Conservative direction and the rise in separatist support in Quebec. Harper has suggested Stronach’s ambition is her true motivation to cross the floor, but there is no doubt that the Liberal Party is a better fit for her brand of politics. (Memo to Stephen Harper: don’t sit your most progressive MP next to Stockwell Day in the House). It is true that Stronach’s star had likely risen to its peak in the Conservative caucus; her open opposition of socially conservative ideals would make her longshot in any future leadership race. But supposed leadership goals will be just as unfulfilled in the Liberal Party, where becoming leader now takes a decade of behind-the-scenes campaigning and organizing- made all the more difficult with the taint of crossing the floor. Conservatives have been quick to label Stronach a disloyal traitor, but such labels pale in comparison to the message Liberals can spin from such a high profile Conservative defection. After all, it’s not as though Peter Mackay will be posting on his website Belinda’s scrap paper promise to vote down the government on Thursday. Instead, Belinda becomes the poster woman for a fear based campaign directed at the Conservatives.

Stronach’s defection makes Thursday’s vote all the more exciting. The budget now has 151 votes in favour from the NDP and Liberal caucuses. The Conservative and Bloc now have just 152. With Parrish committed to the budget (152), the other independents Cadman and Kilgour will surely be courted even more vigorously today and tomorrow for their winning votes. Let’s not forget, as Gnomes pointed out in his last post, that MPs may change their vote at anytime! With that being said, let us continue to keep our eyes on Conservative MPs from Atlantic Canada. Loyola Hearn, for example, only defeated his Liberal competition by the slimmest of margins last election, and is certainly in the hotseat this week. I do not expect Hearn and Doyle to vote against their party without Harper’s blessing, and the only thing worse for Harper than failing to defeat the government on Thursday is if he is forced to put the brakes on the attempt by allowing a free vote for the benefit of his Newfoundland caucus.



  1. Anonymous said,

    Tuesday, 17 May 2005 at 3:12 pm

    what a Prostitute! I hope her constituents see that she has made this choice out of personal ambition and not for the greater good of her riding.

  2. Tuesday, 17 May 2005 at 3:18 pm

    lol, i agree.

  3. Anonymous said,

    Tuesday, 17 May 2005 at 11:32 pm

    I suspect the majority of her constituents will not have a problem with her decision. Nearly 58% of Newmarket-Aurora residents did not vote Conservative in 2004. In fact the Liberal candidate received 689 more votes than the Liberal nominee.

    I doubt a second-tier cabinet post is enough to buy the support of a woman who has been on top of the business world. She is clearly acting on her convctions.

  4. Gnomes said,

    Wednesday, 18 May 2005 at 1:16 am

    Her views always put her out of step with the Conservatives, as Manatee noted just recently, she would have been a much better fit with the Liberals from the beginning.

    As for re-election, I would bet on her winning. As Keith Martin and Scott Brison have recently demonstrated, MPs who cross the floor can bring enough votes with them and pick up enough new ones to carry the seat.

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