Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Politics: nothing personal, just business

The recent news that former Grit insider, Rocco Rossi, has defected to the Conservative side has prompted several partisan comments. Those Tories—federal and provincial—who formerly disliked the man and his politics now Rocco Rossi, left, is congratulated by Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak outside the Ontario Provincial Legislature on Tuesday after Hudak announced that Rossi will seek the nomination for the Ontario PC Party in the riding of Toronto's Eglinton-Lawrence. find both quite acceptable. And those Grits who were his political and personal buddies now call him names like “Benedict Baldy.”

I remember how I felt when senior Progressive Conservative and leadership hopeful, Scott Brison, crossed the floor of the federal House to join the governing Liberals. I saw the man as a traitor to his cause. I can hardly, therefore, be too condemning of those who harbour similar sentiments towards Rossi, who was a very senior insider in the Liberal Party. It does make me question, however, the hyper-partisanship of modern politics, where the polar extremes seem to be the preferred vantage points of so many political pundits.

Should we not try harder to separate the man from his politics? Would Canada not be better served if we elected the best candidates rather than the “right” candidate, the one representing political ideology we support? I worry when partisanship subsumes our hopes and aspirations for a better Canada, not just a Canada governed under our preferred political ideology.

Then there is the personal nature of the venting of former friends. “Benedict Baldy,” Really! Aren’t friends ever allowed to change their minds? Not when it comes to politics, apparently.

My party right or wrong is a dumb idea—anti-intellectual, in my humble opinion. And basing friendship on political affiliation is silly—some of my best friends are Liberals [smile], not many NDP friends, though.

No one shouldn’t be expected to stick to a single political party indefinitely. Once a party or political movement ceases to meet one’s personal goals and objectives, one owes it to oneself to move on. Blind loyalty to God, family and country is one thing—I heartily support this, but to a political cause?

I welcome Rocco Rossi to the right side, may he live long and get elected [sorry, Star Wars].


© 2011 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.


  1. It is, indeed, quite fascinating to see how quickly allegiances can change.


  2. These same hyper-partisans believe the political parties deserve to keep the $2.00 per vote subsidy they get.

    They do a diservice to their party and their country they claim they love.

  3. You are right that we should vote for the best candidate but it can be very difficult. I remember back in the late 60"s, early 70"s when Max Saltzman ran in our area. We liked him very much and wanted to vote for him but he was NDP. We wondered what to do. If we vote for Max, are we saying we want an NDP government? God forbid we should ever want that. We did eventually vote for Max and he was a wonderful MP but it was very hard.

  4. I don't like floor crossing. Rossi is not crossing any floor. He is joining the PC party to run as a candidate.

    The party members in his riding will determine if he qualifies as their candidate and then be available for the ballot against Colle.

    Just like Fantino, the voter and member in Vaughan decided accordingly.

    I don't have to like or endorse a candidate or MP from a riding I don't live in.

    It seems bizzare given how many people the Liberals have that have switched parties or crossed floors to be having a hissy fit.

    It makes them look desperate.

  5. I agree. And I think Rocco was always a red Tory, just look at his mayoral campaign. I'm a red Tory and am happy to have Rocco on board. In fact, we need more of him to make sure the party doesn't shift hard right, but stays moderate right, and to capture enough of the voting public to form government. Besides, if Kinsella dislikes him then he can't be that bad. I hope he wins the nomination.

  6. It's not an entirely fair comparison to equate Rossi with the likes of Stronach, etc. Stronach was elected under one party and crossed the floor mid-session. Rossi is not currently an elected member of any assembly, is changing his affliation, and will stand for election under that new banner. Neither is forbidden, but there is a big difference between the two.

  7. I have not looked at your blog history, so I can't say anything about your past positions on switching parties. However, where other politicians crossing of the floor, it seems that the Conservatives have been withering in their criticism and personal attacks (e.g., Stronach and Brison) moved, but full of praise when others switched to the Conservatives. Go figure. Based on your praise of Rossi abandoning his principles for a quick gain, it seems like you might have held the same position...

    What is good for the goose should be good for the gander, except IOKIYAC seems to apply.

  8. Hopefully he will be able to tell the PMO about all those secret talks and agenda iggy keeps talking about.
    How does he know if they are a secret?
    He has never run for a leadership role in any party and lost, and he is not a sitting MP so he is not crossing the floor. Funny how so many conservatives that lost a leadership run switched horses in a hissy fit. Basically, taking their ball and going home.
    I wonder if Keith Martin was elected because of his name and reputation as a Reformer, or all those voters became liberals. Next election will tell.

  9. I do not vote Liberal because they stand for nothing. Never have. Anyone who could be described as a Liberal Party insider is to me automatically suspect. Rocco Rossi has displayed on more than one occasion that he is a good fit in that party. Do you honestly believe that he has changed his views to the point that he is a good fit in a conservative party of any kind? Please... it is far more likely a mutually beneficial arrangement that provides out of work Rossi with a shot at government, and the provincial Conservatives with someone sleazy and duplicitous enough to actually get elected in the GTA. What about him makes you think he is the "best" candidate? His close ties with Kinsella should be enough to make any Conservatives skin crawl.
    this is Tim Hudak lying with the dogs and we all know where that leads. mark my words this will bite him on the arse.

  10. RC, my point isn't that a person isn't entitled to change their vote - obviously millions of Canadians flip back and forth between our respective parties every election. Has always happened, is what makes our system great, etc.

    I just don't like it when candidates do a 180 mid-stream, and expect the rest of us to just to be fine with it.

    I wasn't fine with David Emerson, and I wasn't fine with Belinda Stronach or Bob Rae either (go check).

    I believe voters/volunteers/staff are entitled to a period of reflection. Rae did that, over a two-year period, and his voters have re-elected him many times. David Emerson didn't, and he quit before voters could get their hands on him.

    The principal reason why folks are voting less and less - for your party and mine - is because they feel we are all totally self-interested. And that we don't care about them.

    Rocco's cynical move, from their perspective - not mine - is just another example of what is wrong with our politics.



  11. WK,

    I see your point and agree with you. I hadn't really thought about the distinction of a break between publicly serving one party and the change to the next, a la Bob Rae vs Scott Brison's and Belinda Stronach's flips.

    The quick-flip certainly's hard to take, while the change after a year or two out of office/public eye, while still hard to take, is somewhat more palatable.

  12. I forgot about Scott. I like him, but I disagreed with the speed of that conversion, too, and said so at the time (2004 or so?).

    Anyway. C'est la vie. It'll keep happening, unfortunately, whether you and approve or not.