Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What's the big deal with Emerson's switch?

Les MacPherson

Suppose you were a big Saskatoon Blades fan, and one night Moose Jaw, say, came to town, and their biggest goon pounded on your favourite Blade. You would go to sleep at night twisting your pillow and dreaming of grievous revenge.

But, suppose that soon thereafter you opened the newspaper and learned that the despised enemy has been traded to Saskatoon. How long would it take you to accept him?

About five minutes, I'd say. Fans quickly get used to the idea of a previously hated opponent now playing for their team. It happens all the time. The embrace is complete when he pounds on another opponent.

So, the question is this: If it's so easy to get used to a hockey player changing teams, why is it such a problem when politicians do it?


Suppose Emerson can resolve the softwood lumber dispute. He reportedly was close to an agreement as a Liberal minister. This is the first hint of progress on a seemingly hopeless file. Shouldn't we let him finish? Or must we sacrifice jobs and prosperity on the altar of party loyalty?

We don't denounce colleagues who leave for a better job. We don't mind when we're joined by a new colleague poached from another company. We expect people to try and improve their position. Why would we expect less of politicians?

I think that this closing statement really should put things back into perspective for those who were upset:

People disgusted by the deal hoped Harper would do things differently. And so he has. Now it's Liberals defecting to the Conservatives. That's totally different.

Without Stephen Harper's leadership would we even be in a position now where Liberal stars would be leaving for a Conservative government? Considering the decade of failure under two previous leaders, not bloody likely.