October 19, 2006


The Garth Party of Canada

I've been thinking about making a post like this (with the above title) for awhile now, but other than a few comments on other people's blogs, I haven't done much about it. I guess yesterday's events have forced my hand.

I rather liked Garth Turner when I first discovered his blog back in mid-2005. He seemed like the kind of straight-talkin' candidate we need in this country, and I liked how he and other Conservative hopefuls and MPs were using blogs to reach out to their constituents.

When Emerson crossed the floor, I didn't like it. As you all know, Turner didn't either. In retrospect, it's interesting to note his initial comments on the issue were rather tame, and it wasn't until a few days had passed that he started to get more acerbic and start grandstanding for the media. I don't know whether he planned to do this from the start or was pulled into it innocently, but either way, he soon became an expert at badmouthing the Conservative Party in order to promote himself.

Turner likes to say that the purpose of his blog attacks are to stand up for his constituents and let them know what's going on, but this claim doesn't stand up to scrutiny. For example, in this post, Turner makes a big deal of being on the outs with Conservative campaign manager Doug Finley, and ends with a vague threat. However, he never gives us any idea whatsover about what his beef with Finley is, thus eliminately any credibility on the "keeping you informed" front. The only purpose to that post was to shout "Look at me! I'm such a rebel! Ain't I kewl?" For another example, how exactly is Mr. Turner standing up for Canadians when he resorts to childish insults towards those who criticize him?

The Conservatives' stated reason for suspending Turner was breach of caucus confidentiality and unacceptable attacks on his colleagues. Stephen Taylor has already uncovered evidence of the former, while examples of the latter can be found all over his blog. Here's a nice one from less than a week ago; notice how he ends an otherwise reasonable post with a gratuitous shot at Jim Flaherty. And really, how can any serious political organization tolerate one of their members using his blog to brazenly promote the leader of a rival party? It's more than likely that Turner wanted the notoriety of being kicked out of caucus, and would have pushed things as far as it took to make that happen.

A good MP needs to break from the party line when it's the honourable thing to do, but in this case, it's got nothing to do with honour and everything to do with personal glory. D’arcy Keene was rightfully criticized for wanting to run on the single issue of same-sex marriage. This stands in sharp contrast to Garth Turner, who wants to run on the single issue of... Garth Turner.


Very well said. My thoughts and experiences regarding Garth are very similiar to yours, although somewhat more personal in some respects. There's a difference between agressively representing your constituents and grandstanding. Garth long ago passed into the grandstanding part. For all his bluster and puffing about his nomination race, the competition NEVER had a prayer. He used the situation to make numerous unsubstantiated charges against individuals, the party and others. The entire episode was a disgrace and nothing more than another episode in "It's all about Garth".
Excellent post. I've linked to it in my comments.
I have read a lot about this affair. Yes, Garth spoke out about issues, but he didn't speak out against the party per se. I didn't see anything that would warrant booting him out. If anything, Garth was challenging in that he didn't let the core of consevatism get lost in the politics of governing.

On the change in the blog that Stephen Taylor uncovered in Garth's blog, well, the original wasn't that bad. It didn't really uncover anything controversial. Personally, I would like to know just how much money they were talking about.

On the issue of income splitting, HE's RIGHT! so why doesn't the government implement his ideas? I guarantee they will farther and have more meaning than any cut in the GST. Same goes for family tax returns. The problem is, the conservatives are less conservative now that they are in government. Furthermore, I agree with Garth on the plethora of targeted tax credits for families, THEY'RE A MESS! As an accountant I can verify that this does more to complicate the tax situation of Canadians while providing marginal cuts to their tax burden. For all their self-congratulation about tax cuts, the actual results are minimal.

Does this qualify as speaking out against the party? No. These ideas CAN BE IMPLEMENTED despite what Jim Flaherty. So what's wrong with him saying so? He speaks about issues that are important to his constituents. Just because the party dislikes what he says is no reason kick him out. So why should he keep his mouth shut? I thought the Conservatives were about democracy? Is not Garth fulfilling his role as an MP in a meaningful way?

One more thing, Garth was right when he said that environment is very important and that the Conservatives better not let the country down. If we are to ever have credibility on this file we cannot suffer the same fate as the Liberals with Kyoto. And frankly, if Elizabeth May has good ideas for the environmental file, why not use them?

The environment is a big issue. We cannot allow partisan politics to get in the way of passing on a healthy world to our children. While I think the growth of GHG's are inevitable, our generation is just as much a cause of the problem as the previous. We must do better, if not for our children's sake, then for our children's children.
The other day I received an email from a fellow blogger, asking me what I thought about the Garth Turner situation. I replied as follows...

I only know what I see in the papers, but I think Garth is all about, well... Garth. He obviously feels his own needs, whether it's just ego, or a totally separate agenda, are more important than the party line.

Do I think he was unfairly booted out of caucus? Lemme put it this way... if he was an outlaw biker, he'd be lyin' in a shallow grave with a small hole behind his ear.
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