May 17, 2006
Happy Belinda Day!
Yes, it was one year ago today that Belinda Stronach defected to the Liberals. It also marks the first anniversary of this blog.
Looking back, I would say that the Conservative Party is definitely better off because of it. (The defection, I mean, not the creation of my blog. :)
This goes well beyond the fact that the Conservatives might have lost if the election had been held in May/June 2005. For all her star power/glamour/blah blah blah, Belinda was a very divisive force in the party. This was a result her constant behind-the-scenes maneuvering to become the leader, not to mention her very public campaigning to alter the party's structure to further those leadership ambitions, i.e. the ability to swamp future conventions with thousands of bought-and-paid-for youth delegates. It got to the point where, in the months before her defection, the fastest way to start an argument between Conservative supporters was to ask them what they thought about Belinda.
When she left, there was definitely some short-term pain from the betrayal and disillusionment our supporters felt, as well as the bad press it resulted in. (Funny how no one in the media claimed that Emerson's switch was evidence that the Liberals are a bunch of extremists who can't hold onto their moderates. But I digress...) As time went on, however, it helped to unify the party in a way that went beyond Belinda's absence. As the public face of the anti-Harper faction within the party, Belinda's defection severely discredited their position, forcing the media to rely on a handful of washed-up nobodies to get their Harper-bashing fix from then on. Try to imagine what it would have been like to fight an election with one of the Conservative Party's "stars" desperately hoping that we'd lose (and possibly engaging in deliberate sabotage) so that she could take over.
That's why I'm ultimately glad that Belinda Stronach is no longer a Conservative. I'd like to extend to her my very best wishes as she endeavors to eventually take over the Liberal Party, with all the backstabbing, riding takeovers, and delegate-buying that will require. ;)