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Monday, January 01, 2007

Garth Turner and Michael Chong - Men of Principle in Politics

To some politics is a blood sport. It is rough and tumble and too often very hurtful and unduly personal a la Belinda Stronach.

To others, it is how you respond to slights and matters of principle. Take Michael Chong who resigned the Harper Cabinet over the Quebec Nation. He was, after all, Harper's Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and he was not consulted by the Prime Minister before it was announced as Harper government policy.

Slighted? For sure he was. But that something one can deal with and get over. He resigned on a much more significnat principle because he fundamentally disagreed with the Harper concept of Quebec as a "nation." At Chong's new conference announcing his resignation before the Commons vote he said:

“I believe in this great country of ours, and I believe in one nation undivided, called Canada….This is a fundamental principle for me, and not something I can, or will, compromise -- not now, not ever. While I'm loyal to my party and to my leader, my first loyalty is to my country."

We need more politicians of principle and character like Mr. Chong. He is a perfect example of just how damaging centralizing power at PMO can be. He is an exemplar of why we elect authentic people of character and competence...at least on occasion.

Garth Turner did not quit the Harper government. He was ousted from the Conservative Caucus and stripped of his party membership and forbidden to run as a CPC candidate. He also voted against the Harper Quebec nation motion but that was not all he was being punished for, at least for far as we have been led to believe.

Garth Turner has posted some very personal commentary on his past year as an MP in his Blog. It also shows the character and conviction of an individual politician. Here is another independent, intelligent thinker who has a real respect for representative democracy. He clearly understands the import and impact of when citizens elected him they were granting Turner their individual and aggregated consent to be governed. Those were foundational precepts of the breakway Reform and Alliance Parties and are now ignored as CPC political power gets centralized in the Harper PMO.

Turner has vowed to run again. Not in any spirit of spite or revenge. He has higher reasons. Visit his Blog and see what he has to say and let him (and me) know what you think of his comments. He is worthy of respect and support, especially for his integrity.