Kids can trick-or-treat for Volpe

Hey Kids!

This Hallowe’en, Uncle Joe Volpe wants you to trick-or-treat for his Liberal leadership. If you don’t have a trust-fund to give to Joe, you can go door-to-door collecting money dressed up as mummy, a witch, or a newly minted, yet deceased, member of the Liberal Party of Canada!

Trick-or-treat for Volpe!

Make your own fundraising box!

Click to enlarge
box-picture.jpg
Exterior (PDF — Click to download)
volpe-outside.jpg
Interior (PDF — Click to download)
volpe-inside.jpg

A special thanks to the frog-lady blog for the South Park likeness of Uncle Joe that was used as one small (but amusing) design element to create these boxes!

While you were barking…

Stories in the written press (newspaper/internet) about Puppy-gate: 376

Number of news stories about announced by-elections: 97

Number of news stories about the Conservative government’s Dangerous Offenders legislation: 127

Has the Canadian news media gone to the dogs?

Blogging Tories co-founder Craig Smith seems to think so too

(number of stories from Google News likely to change over time. These numbers were a snapshot of about 7am this morning)

BONUS: Researching this article, I found perhaps the most bizarre, incoherent hodgepodge of anti-Conservative blather to date on puppy-gate and it comes courtesy of Toronto Star’s “Slinger”. Tie Domi, puppy-gate, a Peter MacKay assault fantasy, nazis, sexism and a critique on imagined Conservative (and Canadian) prejudice against Islam all at once? Who knew that the symptoms of Conservative Derangement Syndrome had parallels with those of ADHD?

Going behind the lines…

I just received an email from the Liberal Party of Canada offering me free media credentials to the Liberal convention in late November / early December.

I hear that my pal Staples is the other Blogging Tory that’s been offered the gig.

I suppose that means I have to start paying attention to the leadership race. That Volpe’s still got a shot, no?

/ I keed, I keed…

Thanks Liberal mind-trust!

UPDATE: I’m lucky to be going for free as a media hack, but my friend Cherniak needs some help with his delegate fee. I’d ask that Liberals that read this blog to go and help him out if you can.

Dr. James Lunney

James Lunney is a Conservative Party MP from Nanaimo-Alberni in British Columbia. Lunney is currently facing one of the silliest and petty legal challenges that I’ve ever seen.

Canada.com


Lunney sued for using the term ‘doctor’
Constituent says MP misled the voters before the federal election

Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney is being sued by a man who claims the chiropractor has misused the title of doctor for political gain.
Nanaimo’s Robert Pound, in documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court in September, claims that Lunney’s use of the term doctor has been confusing to voters and others.

In December, Pound initiated inquiries with the B.C. College of Chiropractors.
“As I read Section 20 of the B.C. Chiropractors Act, a chiropractor licensed in B.C. is specifically prohibited from identifying himself publicly as ‘Dr. John Smith.’

Section 20 of the B.C. Chiropractors Act

20 (1) A chiropractor registered under this Act, who holds the academic qualification of Doctor of Chiropractic granted by a college of chiropractic for a course of studies accepted by the board as qualification for registration under this Act, may display or make use of the title “doctor” or the abbreviation “Dr.”, but only as “Doctor of Chiropractic”, “Dr. of Chiropractic”, “Chiropractic Doctor” or “Chiropractic Dr.”.

(2) Despite subsection (1), a chiropractor must not use the title “doctor” or the abbreviation “Dr.” in such a way as to suggest an occupation relating to the treatment of human ailments, other than as permitted under this Act.

(3) On application from a chiropractor registered on or before January 1, 1984 to practise in British Columbia, the board may grant to that chiropractor the right to use the title “doctor” or the abbreviation “Dr.” as set out in subsection (1), if the board is satisfied that the academic qualification of the chiropractor is the equivalent of the academic program leading to the degree of Doctor of Chiropractic as granted in Canada.

Paragraph 1 tells us that Lunney is permitted to use the abbreviation “Dr.” or “doctor” but only within the following titles “Doctor of Chiropractic”, “Dr. of Chiropractic”, “Chiropractic Doctor” or “Chiropractic Dr.

Paragraph 2 tells us that he is permitted to do so as long as he doesn’t mislead people to believe that he’s a doctor doctor (ie. an MD).

Paragraph 3 describes a time-based exception.

The first paragraph is clear… Lunney appears to be misrepresenting himself when he calls himself “Dr. James Lunney”.

BUT, of course he is only misrepresenting himself in such a way if he is practising under the jurisdiction of the B.C. Chiropractors Act.

Let me elaborate here. Medical doctors go to medical school. Upon graduation they become a “Doctor of Medicine”. David Suzuki did not go to medical school. Suzuki is a scientist and received his PhD in Zoology. Dr. David Suzuki identifies himself with the “Dr.” title because he earned his doctorate in that field of study. Sociologists, geologists, and art historians also are able to earn doctorates in their fields. (Aside: Ironically, these doctorates are graduate degrees, while doctor of medicine (MD) is an undergraduate degree.)

Here’s my point: Dr. David Suzuki would also be in violation of the BC Chiropractors Act (in many ways, but with respect to section 20 for this argument) if he practised as a chiropractor and simply used the “Dr.” title. However, since David Suzuki doesn’t practise as a chiropractor, he is certainly permitted to use the “Dr.” bestowed upon him after earning his doctoral degree.

Similarly James Lunney has a doctoral degree in chiropractic medicine (one assumes) and thus he is able to identify himself this way (“Dr.”) so long as he doesn’t do this while practising chiropractic medicine under BC law.

Like Dr. Suzuki, Dr. Phil (PhD), Dr. Stephen Colbert (D.F.A.) and anyone else with a non-MD doctoral degree, he is allowed to self-identify himself as “Dr.” because he earned that degree.

He would only be in violation of the act if he self-identified in this way to patients while in practice of chiropractic medicine.

That’s my take. What do you think?

UPDATE: Also consider Dr. Ruby Dhalla (she too is a Doctor of Chiropractic)

By-elections come at strange cost

I was on the Liberal website today looking to check the price of the observer status for their upcoming convention ($1250?! *$#@!). The observer pass at the CPC convention was $300 and that didn’t even count as a donation! (nyuk, nyuk)

I noticed that the Liberals have the next two by-elections listed and notice that the “price of admission” is odd for participation selon les Liberaux…

cost-of-democracy.jpg
Click to enlarge

Garth still welcome at Blogging Tories

Even though the Halton MP is Garth non grata among his Conservative Party caucus colleagues, Garth is still a card-carrying member of the party and self-identifies as a conservative. Therefore, garth.ca is a welcome blog in our grassroots blogging organization (he was never even removed from our aggregator or blogroll).

Half the members on the blogroll probably aren’t card-carrying of the Conservative Party but we all are conservative and support a conservative party or the conservative movement. And, in essence, that’s what Blogging Tories is and always will be, a community of small c conservatives. If Blogging Tories had existed during the Alliance/PC days, we would have aggregated blogs from both members of both parties since they were two conservative parties.

Garth deserves a lot of credit for advancing online political communications in this country, a hobby that I share and love. Let’s be clear, Garth wasn’t ejected from caucus because of his blog, it was what he said on his blog. In truth, it was like being fired from a job for cause. Garth’s discourse is, however, well within the boundries of thoughful debate and while he was a bit too much of a loose cannon for the Conservative Party MP caucus, he’s certainly entitled to his opinion here so long as he’s a conservative independent or member of a small c conservative party.

After Garth arrived home in Halton on Tuesday night I received an email from him about this post which addressed Garth’s wish to eliminate any ambiguity which may arise from it. Here’s an excerpt from an email that I sent back:

So, to Garth, you’re welcome here in the Blogging Tories caucus so long as you stick with your conservative principles as an independent MP or as a member of any conservative party caucus. We ought to be discussing income splitting and conservative approaches to the environment. However, if your blog becomes a soapbox at the expense of the conservative movement as it is propelled by a conservative party that advocates for conservatives issues (ie. if your anti-Harper sentiment comes at the expense of advancing conservatism), you’re out of the Blogging Tories caucus too!

But, as you are now, you’re a welcome member of Blogging Tories and we are enriched by your advancement of conservative issues.

Hot Air all around

Everyone seems to be hopping mad about Minister Ambrose’s Clean Air Act that was released in the foyer outside the House yesterday.

I’ve done some reading and found a 2005 CD Howe report titled Burning Our Money to Warm the Planet.

I’ve reproduced the executive summary below:

For 15 years Canadian governments have layered one greenhouse gas (GHG) policy over another — the 1990 Green Plan, the 1995 National Action Program on Climate Change, Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change, the 2002 Climate Change Plan for Canada and Project Green in 2005. The names changed, but the policy approach did not: it consisted primarily of offering information and subsidies to encourage voluntary reductions in emissions. Without substantial restrictions or charges for emitting GHGs, Canadian emissions have grown by 25 percent since 1990, outstripping the emission targets and commitments set by the government.

As a result of investments in energy supply, infrastructure, buildings and energy-using devices, we continue on the GHG-intensive path, and the cost of diverting from it in future keeps rising. This is to be expected in a market economy where there are many benefits to businesses and individuals from burning fossil fuels, and these actions overwhelm the effect of voluntary efforts to reduce GHGs. This explains why the evidence from international experience with energy efficiency and climate policy suggests that emission charges or regulations are necessary if the GHG intensity of the economy is to be reduced over the next several decades.

In spite of the mounting evidence that Canada’s policies were not working, the government’s last major policy initiative, Project Green, represented an intensification of the information and subsidy approach.

A forecast based on a continuation of this approach suggests that Canadian emissions would increase by 50 percent within 35 years. Even the anticipated regulation of industrial emissions in its present form would be swamped by growth in key sectors, such as oil sands production and fossil-fuel-based electricity generation. If this policy approach continues, we will spend at least $80 billion over the next 35 years — but without reducing GHG emissions.

Many Canadians believe we have been taking action on climate change when we have actually been doing little. In fact, it could be argued that without a substantial shift in policy, we will be burning our money to warm the planet.

Five GHG plans over the past 15 years?! I suppose that Minister Ambrose’s makes the sixth.

Fact: Canada’s GHG levels up by 25% since 1990.
Forecast: Canada’s GHG levels up 50% by 2040 (based on the plans prior to Ambrose’s plan), and Canada $80 Billion out of pocket.

Last night on CTV News, David Akin reported that the chief complaints were that GHG cuts wouldn’t happen until 2020, and that the lowering of GHG levels by 45-65% by 2050 is too far away.

2050 being 44 years away seems to be the main point of ridicule of the Conservative Green Plan.

Let’s review, since 1990, GHGs have gone up 25% and resetting our reference point to the year 2005, they were projected to go up by 50% by 2040 by CD Howe.

Ambrose’s plan is to cut GHGs by 45-65% by 2050. Perhaps best represented by a graph:

ghg graph.jpg

The Yellow line represent CD Howe’s projection of how we’d proceed under the previous GHG plans. The blue line represents the 45% low end goal under the Clean Air Act and the purple line represents the 65% high end goal under the Ambrose’s legislation. Of course, it would be useful to ask CD Howe to make new projections (if it could) under the legislation. Although, it should be said that their projections were made from observation of the real situation instead of legislative goals which may or may not be met.

Let’s add some more data to the graph and integrate Stephane Dion and Bob Rae’s plan for cutting GHG emissions.

First, let’s quote Rae.

Commit to coming as close as possible to Canada’s Kyoto objectives for 2012, and establish firm targets for subsequent periods, including matching European Union targets of 15-30% below current levels by 2020. Commit Canada to the long term target recommeded by the National Rountable on the Environment of a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050.

The common knowledge is that if we were to meet Kyoto targets in the very near future, it would be from buying Hot Air credits from other nations. It would cost us money and Canada wouldn’t be helping. One key criticism of the Conservative plan is that it doesn’t set intermediate targets. This is valid criticism. The long term goal of Bob Rae, however, is pretty much the same as that of Rona Ambrose.

And now Stephane Dion (Mr. Gavel Banger at the world climate conference in Montreal):

An extensive study by the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy has concluded that Canada should set an emissions reduction target of 60% below 1990 levels by the year 2050. This target is consistent with the international scientific consensus that a global 50% reduction will be required by 2050. I would adopt the 2050 target as proposed by the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy.

Dion proposes a 50% reduction in GHGs by 2050.

Let’s put Rae and Dion’s long term goals on the graph.
ghg graph2.jpg

I hope this provides more context for the debate.

Note: GHG levels in 2020 are unknown relative to today. Projections are based on data available in 2005/2006 and 2050. Simplified graphs assume a linear relationship (actual results over the next 50 years will vary). Graphs are only provided as a rough illustration to show the difference between plans and CD Howe’s projection under previous plans.

George W Strawman II

The Tories released their Clean Air Act yesterday. Like 99.9% of Canadians, I haven’t read through the details yet but it seems that the media is particularly hostile to it, along with environmental groups. Luckily, they’ll use the old standby for criticizing Canadian conservative policy: George W Bush, of course!

George W Bush is unpopular in Canada because of the Iraq war and has low approval numbers in the US too. Like virtually all Canadians, I haven’t read the Clean Air Act, but thankfully the media, NGOs and Jack Layton will use Canadian dislike for George Bush to bring us up to speed on how we’re supposed to feel about the proposed Conservative legislation on clean air.

“The proposed federal regulations presented today by the Harper government line up with the outdated and weak standards of the Bush Administration, not the stringent standards of the state of California” — The Sierra Club

The government strategy also misses the point that in today’s world, the battle against global warming is an iconic cause on par with the war on international terrorism. To witness the passionate crusade led by former American vice-president Al Gore for more action on climate change.

But then it could be that it is much easier for Harper to borrow a page from George W. Bush on fighting terrorism than one from a Democrat such as Al Gore on fighting climate change. — Chantel Hebert, Toronto Star, Oct 20th, 2006

The Conservatives’ plan is similar to one announced three years ago by U.S. President George W. Bush, who called for an 18 per cent reduction in emission intensity by 2012.

Bush argues any attempt to cut emissions would harm the U.S. economy, particularly because two major competitors, China and India, aren’t bound by the Kyoto Protocol to reduce theirs. — Peter Gorrie, Toronto Star, Oct 12th, 2006

Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Accord is being ignored, and Harper is following George Bush‘s lead in working on smaller green issues while climate change isn’t directly addressed. — Midland Free Press, October 18th 2006

Some environmentalists saw the minister’s insistence on legislation as little more than a stalling move reminiscent of tactics used by U.S. President George W. Bush. The Conservatives insist their approach amounts to an effort to inject some accountability into pollution-fighting efforts. — Red Deer Advocate, October 11th, 2006

The Harper government has closely aligned itself with the American philosophy, which in environmental terms is not really the type of neighbourhood in which you would want to raise your children. Under George Bush, the Americans firmly believe global warming is largely a media creation, national parks should be harvested for their natural resources and the Alaskan wilderness is only there so it can be tapped for oil. — Chatham Daily News, October 20th, 2006

But environmentalists noted the intensity-based approach, also adopted in the U.S. by President George W. Bush and by the provincial government in Alberta, make it easy for large industries to increase emissions and still meet their reduction targets when the economy is growing. — Ian Bailey and Mike De Souza, Canwest, October 11th, 2006

Its targets have been consigned to the recycling bin by Ambrose, although she insists her government still subscribes to the international climate accord. She also (echoing an argument from the Bush administration) says technological advances, including storing carbon emissions underground, may accelerate progress on greenhouse gases. — Susan Riley, Ottawa Citizen, October 20, 2006

For example, at the first hint that Ontario carmakers might be forced to further restrict tailpipe admissions last week, Premier Dalton McGuinty — an alleged green champion — was warning Ambrose to back off.

He was supported by another nominal “progressive,” union leader Buzz Hargrove. The autoworkers boss claimed that if the Big Three are dragged, protesting all the way, into the future, and an era of more energy-efficient vehicles, they will be driven out of business — taking thousands of jobs and the Ontario economy down with them. George W. Bush couldn’t have said it better. — Susan Riley, Ottawa Citizen, October 9, 2006

(Brad) LAVIGNE: There are no timelines, Geoff, no timelines and no targets. So, yes, do we want a clean air act? Well if it’s in the look of Jack Layton’s with targets and timelines, we love it. But if it’s a Stephen Harper-Rona Ambrose-George Bush special…

(Geoff) NORQUAY: There’s that George Bush again.

LAVIGNE: I got it in there.

— From Mike Duffy Live, October 11th, 2006

“No targets means no accountability, … This announcement is nothing more than a recipe for delay. Adopting the Bush administrations standards will not lower emissions from vehicles.” — John Bennett of the Sierra Club.

The intensity targets to which legislation refers are even more troublesome. These are used heavily in the George Bush environmental platform. — Brantford Expositor, October 20, 2006

This is basically the Bush approach to greenhouse gases … Bush has adopted an intensity target for the U.S. which translates into a considerable increase in actual emissions.” — Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute

It’s essentially a Xerox copy of policies right out of the Bush administration. It shouldn’t be called a Clean Air Act because the air is going to get dirtier and dirtier over the next few years. — Jack Layton

Intensity targets, which have been favoured by the Bush administration in the U.S., would reduce emissions relative to a measure of output; for example, every barrel produced. — Doug Ward, Vancouver Sun

‘Intensity-based’ are words beloved by the Republican Bush government which will allow for an actual increase in greenhouse gas emissions as the economy grows — John Godfrey

Contrast that with Harper’s tentative approach to cleaner air and smog reductions. Nowhere in Mr. Harper’s speech is there mention of global warming. Only once did he allude to a connection between air pollutants and climate change. Clearly, he speaks from the same environmental textbook as George W. Bush. — W.E. Bill Belliveau, Times & Transcript, October 14, 2006

In fact, George W. Bush, like Harper, also introduced legislation to improve air quality. — Keith Boag, CBC, October 10, 2006

Harper’s announcement in Vancouver today was very much like one made by U-S President George W. Bush three years ago — John Bennett, director of the Climate Action Network of Canada

Well it’s really clear, I’ve said it before, but Stephen Harper is a carbon copy of George Bush, and not just on this file, but on this one the pun is intentional. We are following George Bush‘s approach on intensity targets. Bush invented that. And we’re calling something a clean air act reminds me very much of George Bush?s clear skies program that resulted in more air pollution. — Elizabeth May, Green Party Leader, October 10, 2006

That George Bush ought to resign if for no other reason than to stop being used as a strawman for the Canadian media, Jack Layton and Elizabeth May. But seriously, using Bush this way comes at the expense of much needed debate in the MSM on the legislation.

And now, I’m off to read the Clean Air Act.

I took the Garth challenge: Example of caucus breach

In his news conference today, Garth Turner challenged members of the media to find record of him breaching caucus confidentiality. Garth explained that his blog contains record of what he has said.

I have found a section which has been altered.

The original version:

It wasn’t too long ago that Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice took the podium in national caucus to brief people on the soon-to-be-announced settlement for aboriginal people victimized by their residential schools experience. Prentice apparently had been appalled at the deal he found the outgoing Liberals had struck — essentially handing money over without proof a person had actually been at one of those places — and did a lot to tighten it up.

Still, when he announced the multi-billion-dollar amount involved, the room let out one collective gasp. It was simply breathtaking — enough money to give the Canadian military their dream shopping list for the next four years. Enough to bail out all those floundering farmers. Enough to start slashing health care waiting times for all Canadians.

Anyway, I guess the deal is going forward. Wiser minds than mine — lawyers, lawyers and more lawyers — have determined there’s no turning back. Pay now, we were told, or the feds will end up paying more later.

So it was hard to keep from thinking about that as I watched the footage of native protestors in Caledonia dragging a downed hydro tower along a road and using a power shovel to rip up the asphalt. I thought about it as I fielded calls from some anguished business owners in that town, who are teetering on the edge of failure *their customers scared off, and now the lights extinguished after a big transformer was torched.

I certainly thought about it as I read through emails like this one from a couple of fed-up constituents:

We watched tonight’s news coverage. We were disgusted by the actions that continue to be allowed by Native Canadians and the lack of policing by the OPP. As non natives we would not be allowed (by Canadian law) to behave in the way that the Natives have been allowed. We would have been arrested and on our way to jail. Why do we have to abide by Canadian law but the natives do not?

As constituents in your area we would like to know what your position is regarding the First Nations situation in Caledonia? We would like to know why Canadian troops are fighting terrorists in other countries yet the native terrorist acts are allowed in our own country? The natives voice to whatever news media that will listen that they are a nation upon themselves and that they will deal only with our federal government. When will our federal government become involved? Perhaps the funding to the “Nation upon themselves” should be redirected to other areas. Natives should not be allowed to have it both ways.

Hmmm. Politically incorrect, for sure. But also a reasonable, rational reaction from people who know damn well that if they pried the top off an Ontario Hydro transformer, and poured in gasoline, their butts would be behind bars.

Tonight the barricades, most of them at least, have thankfully been removed. There is a certain calm, much to the relief of the Dalton McGuinty government and former premier David Peterson, who’s been acting as go-between. But about 3,000 townspeople remain without power, and the raw nerves this has caused could take months, or years, to be soothed.

The native leaders are demanding the federal government get involved in the next round of talks.

Some in Caledonia would say, no wonder.

The altered post

It wasn’t too long ago that Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice took over the highly complex issue of compensation for aboriginal people victimized by their residential schools experience. The outgoing Liberals had struck a deal that apparently was an eye-opener — essentially handing money over without proof a person had actually ever been at one of those places. It rested on Prentice’s broad shoulders to tighten things up.

Still, it’s a multi-billion-dollar deal. Simply breathtaking — enough money to give the Canadian military their dream shopping list for the next four years. Enough to bail out all those floundering farmers. Enough to start slashing health care waiting times for all Canadians.

Anyway, it goes forward. Wiser minds than mine — lawyers, lawyers and more lawyers — have determined there’s no turning back. Pay now, the logic goes, or the feds will end up paying more later.

So it was hard to keep from thinking about that as I watched the footage of native protestors in Caledonia dragging a downed hydro tower along a road and using a power shovel to rip up the asphalt. I thought about it as I fielded calls from some anguished business owners in that town, who are teetering on the edge of failure –their customers scared off, and now the lights extinguished after a big transformer was torched.

I certainly thought about it as I read through emails like this one from a couple of fed-up constituents:

We watched tonight’s news coverage. We were disgusted by the actions that continue to be allowed by Native Canadians and the lack of policing by the OPP. As non natives we would not be allowed (by Canadian law) to behave in the way that the Natives have been allowed. We would have been arrested and on our way to jail. Why do we have to abide by Canadian law but the natives do not?

As constituents in your area we would like to know what your position is regarding the First Nations situation in Caledonia? We would like to know why Canadian troops are fighting terrorists in other countries yet the native terrorist acts are allowed in our own country? The natives voice to whatever news media that will listen that they are a nation upon themselves and that they will deal only with our federal government. When will our federal government become involved? Perhaps the funding to the “Nation upon themselves” should be redirected to other areas. Natives should not be allowed to have it both ways.

Hmmm. Politically incorrect, for sure. But also a reasonable, rational reaction from people who know damn well that if they pried the top off an Ontario Hydro transformer, and poured in gasoline, their butts would be behind bars.

Tonight the barricades, most of them at least, have thankfully been removed. There is a certain calm, much to the relief of the Dalton McGuinty government and former premier David Peterson, who’s been acting as go-between. But about 3,000 townspeople remain without power, and the raw nerves this has caused could take months, or years, to be soothed.

The native leaders are demanding the federal government get involved in the next round of talks.

Some in Caledonia would say, no wonder.

UPDATE: I received an email from Garth Turner about this post. He doesn’t debate the veracity of the content posted above but he worries that it might be misinterpreted and that some may comprehend this post to imply that he recently changed his blog to cover-up the content (the post was written back in May). He’d like to emphasize that the original posting was changed, within a day of authoring it, to the altered post. I did not consider that potential misinterpretation, but this information is here just in case you did read it this way. He also would like to clarify that he did so “ironically” to be a team player and to comply with a request from the Government Whip. I present this clarification, not because I believed it to be necessary, but as a convenience to you the reader and out of courtesy to Mr. Turner.

However, the single intention of this post was to respond to Garth’s challenge to Canadians and the media to read his blog for evidence of a breach of caucus confidentiality. I have presented an example of that breach here and hope that it sheds some light into the legitimate concern of the members of the Ontario Tory members that they might have one day fell victim to Garth’s caucus gossip on his blog if they continued to meet with him in a forum of confidence.

UPDATE (10/19 @ 7:30am): Garth was on Rob Breakenridge’s show on CHQR last night. Rob asks “Have you changed anything”. Garth responds “No. Everything’s the way I wrote it”. Listen to the show and the moment where Garth realizes that he may need to change his story.

Garth non grata… Turner gets suspended from Tory caucus

Garth Turner was booted from the Ontario Tory Caucus today, and by extension, he’s been suspended from the Conservative National Caucus.

I’d always wondered how Garth found the appropriate balance between blogging and caucus confidentiality. I suppose he never did and its been cited as the reason why he’s been kicked from Tory ranks (suspended at this point).

Stephen Harper’s office explains that this was an Ontario Caucus decision and that he was just as surprised as everyone else (well… as surprised as one could be about Turner the Maverick being suspended).

In my opinion, its bad news for the Conservatives (losing an MP in a minority government always is), it’s news that the Conservatives don’t need and it was self-inflicted… at least as far as it was their decision.

However, some might say that Turner made the decision himself by choosing to breach caucus confidentiality as far as he did.

There are three outcomes to this as far as I can see:
1) Garth will fold and comply with his colleagues and stop being like a reporter in caucus.
2) Garth will sit as an independent MP.
3) Garth may become the first sitting Green MP.

Knowing Garth’s personality, #2 is most likely, and #3 is speculation.

UPDATE: Question Period is particularly spirited today with Liberals in high spirits and the Prime Minister fighting back hard rallying his party. The gallery is fuller than usual.

UPDATE: Something I said in the comments that should be repeated here: “if the allegations of the breaches of caucus confidentiality are true… I often felt that Garth never took off his reporter/columnist hat when he needed to put on his Conservative MP hat. Being an party MP is a balance between being a great representative for your constituents, and being a team player for your party.”

UPDATE: Garth to be on CFRA at 5pm. Government to give big update at 5pm on Mike Duffy Live.

FLASHBACK: Paul Wells: (on Carolyn Parrish) “And now we come to day’s most richly entertaining lesson. No prime minister can tolerate a display of open contempt from somebody who is supposed to be a member of his team. The proper response to such behaviour is dismissal. Paul Martin reached that inevitable conclusion today.” h/t (Comparisons such as these are hardly perfect but it’s interesting to look back at hisory to try and figure out what the media’s mood will be on this)

UPDATE: Garth blogs:

I have said here many times, and consistently since I was elected this last time, that I work for the voters – the people, the taxpayers. After that I heed my party and the political establishment. All are important, of course, but the people come first.

So, constituents first, party second. Fine. But one has to measure violating party trust in the context of infoming constituents. Were Garth’s alleged violations of caucus confidentiality required for bringing his consituents up to speed on critical issues, or was it more about gossip?

UPDATE: At his 5pm press conference, Turner says that he was booted from caucus for what he believes were policy differences not because of a breach of caucus confidentiality.