From Globeandmail.com, Harper, Emerson cleared in ethics probe.
Canada’s ethics czar has cleared Prime Minister Stephen Harper of any wrongdoing in his controversial decision to bring former Liberal David Emerson into the Conservative fold.
There was going to be no other conclusion from day one.
When the controversy first started, the issue was a genuine one. An MP elected as Liberal (from a riding which always has elected a Liberal MP) and immediately after (or during) the election changes to Conservative. This blatant disregard for an electorates votes was called into investigation by the Ethic’s Commissioner (Ben Shapiro). But along the way, this investigation became a full scale political battle.
In the wake of the controversy, three opposition MPs – two Liberals and a New Democrat – filed complaints with Mr. Shapiro’s office, asking that he probe the move.
Mr. Harper’s office responded to word of Mr. Shapiro’s probe by suggesting that the Prime Minister would be loath to co-operate, labelling Mr. Shapiro a Liberal appointee and pointing out that he did not launch similar investigations into Belinda Stronach and Scott Brison when they moved from the Tories to the Liberals.
Conservatives began their mud flings by decalring that :
I think this was never an ethical issue. Yes, he crossed the floor and moved to Conservatives. But all in all he did this within the rules and did offer his extensive services (in the form of contacts within the US business and administration) to the current government.
I think that Andrew Coyne says it the best.
Well, I have a theory. And here we come to the point I made off the top: this isn’t about Emerson and Fortier, or the correct prodecure for crossing the floor. This is about whether questions of principle are permitted to intrude into political decisions, and by extension whether those committed to the principles on which a party was elected — in a word, its base — have the right to object when their leaders seem to stray from them.