Saturday, June 04, 2005

Harper puts ethics over strategy or just stupid?

Ethics of crossing the floor

Allow me to modify Greg's conclusion: if this is true, then Opposition Leader Harper is, not to put too fine a point on it, perhaps lacking the strategic cunning required to topple the Liberals. I'd been wondering whether... well, actually, I'd been hoping that the CPC were wooing disaffected Liberals. If they haven't been actively engaged in this, then they're fools. There must be a couple of Liberals who have had enough of the corruption and the incompetence (call me an optimist...).

I can't see anything unethical in trying to cajole someone to cross the floor. Things get uglier when you're talking about offering Cabinet posts or office appointments, because (in addition to potential Criminal Code violations) it's hard to draw a distinction between that and just holding out a bag of cash (Cabinet members get quite a bump in pay, don't forget). But just saying, "hey, if you're looking to make a move, we'd be happy to have you", I'm not sure I see the trouble there.


If this is what the CPC is doing, then they're foregoing the good in pursuit of the perfect. And they're letting down everyone who is desperate to see the Liberals turfed. This isn't a question of "lowering" ourselves to discreditable conduct: if there's some rule that won't allow the party leader to protect nominees in ridings, then change the rule. There may be some democratic principle that is offended by the presence of such power in the party leadership, but we compromise on all kinds of democratic principles in favour of creating of functional system. From the point of view of the CPC, this is important for the continued viability of the party.

I agree that the act of crossing the floor isn't unethical in and of itself and the Conservatives should definitely be open and supportive of Liberals who may wish to cross the floor at least to a degree, however, I will point out that the Conservatives don't protect their own MPs nominations (see Chuck Cadman) so why should they protect someone who defects from the Liberals? Why should he get any special treatment?