Is an apology enough?

CBC British Columbia – Emerson apologizes for party jump

I’m not a Vancouver Kingsway constituent, but if I were, an apology would not be enough for me if I had voted for him. He is apologizing, but he isn’t really sorry for his actions – if he was, then he wouldn’t stick with his decision. A political apology if I’ve ever seen one.

Vancouver Kingsway voted Liberal first, NDP second, and Conservative a distant third. In this case, (and really in any case, from my point of view) I think he should run in a by-election and win (or lose) as a conservative. The conservatives don’t want that, though, so they’re going to try to gloss it over and make it a forgotten issue as quickly as they can. I just hope that those who this matters to are willing to fight to keep it in the news, because I don’t really think that an apology is enough at all.

3 Comments so far

  1. yong_sa (unregistered) on March 5th, 2006 @ 3:47 am

    One thing that puzzles me is that there wasn’t as near as much negative publicity when Belinda Stronach did the same thing. People voted for Stronach as a Conservative but the media cheered her on when she jumped to the Liberal Candidate. Why the double standard?

    I guess you have to be either insanely rich or good looking in order to get a break. Emmerson is neither – and gets an inquiry invitation to boot.


  2. Jenny Lee (unregistered) on March 5th, 2006 @ 8:59 am

    I didn’t live in Vancouver when that happened, but I do remember there being a huge uproar where I was. The main difference I’ve heard between this situation and that one was that with Belinda Stronach, she moved across the floor after having served in her party for something like half the term of the government rather than one day, and had reached a point that she no longer felt that her party represented her own and her constituents interests, nor did it reflect her values.

    I still think there should have been something official to let the people choose at that point, and so did the Conservative Party at the time – they flipped out and started lobbying for a bill that would force an election should someone change parties during their term in office.

    I suppose they’re not so worried about that now.


  3. Ryan Cousineau (unregistered) on March 6th, 2006 @ 4:33 pm

    The real problem is that the sentiments of the voters (and–how to put this?–the way we choose our votes) are out of touch with the historical/poli-sci way of viewing things.

    To put it briefly, the theme of Westminster-style parliamentary governments is “responsible,” not “representative” (which, because it has negative connotations in this country, we can nicely market as “American-style democracy”).

    The difference is that in a responsible government, you elect the person to Parliament to use their best judgment, and voters give a yes-or-no on the job they did next election. in theory, party affiliation makes no difference.

    A representative democracy is built on the idea that the elected representative (to the “House of Representatives”) is beholden to their constituents’ collective will. Party affiliation still doesn’t matter (except that in the US, party affiliation really does matter less than it does in Canada)

    Because in practice a great number of Canadians vote more for the party than the parliamentarian, there is confusion when someone (as Winston Churchill put it) “rats.” Churchill should know, as he was in the process of “re-ratting” (also his phrase) having wandered from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats and back again before becoming Prime Minister.

    What am I saying here? I decline to provide easy answers, but I think most people are wrong.



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