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A Conservative MP with respect for Parliament sighting.

Michael Chong is the Conservative MP for Wellington-Halton-Hills, and served in Prime Minister Harper’s Cabinet in 2006 as Intergovernmental Affairs Minister. He resigned in protest over the “Quebec is a nation” motion put forth by Harper in the House at that time.

He had an interview with CBC’s Sunday Edition, and I found this part of the interview the most interesting of all:


Do you think that flowing from Mr. Speaker Milliken’s ruling this week, that parliament does have sovereign power over the issuance of the declaration of these documents? Do you think that has greater repercussions as far as ordinary MP’s are concerned…. that perhaps, that this might inspire them if you will to take back the powers that they have lost?


I completely agree with speaker Milliken’s ruling. He has confirmed parliaments right to see uncensored versions of documents, but he has also indicated that this is to be balanced against the executive branches concern for operational security, for the safety of our troops in the field.


But he said that parliament is the determiner of that.


Correct. So I think he acknowledged the governments concerns while at the same time reaffirming our century’s old tradition of parliament and parliaments right to hold the government to account and the parliament’s right to see the documents it so demands.


You have said— and it just went right over me- and I want to go back to it, you said that our parliamentary democracy is probably the worst in the world of parliamentary democracies.


Yeah, I said its one of the weakest…


…weakest yes.


…if not the weakest in the western world. I think it’s the weakest because, the executive branch, beginning with Pierre Trudeau has successively subsumed the legislative branch of government, and it’s done so with statute and it’s done through convention.

Rather forthcoming, I’d say. He agrees with the Speaker’s ruling; that it is Parliament’s right to hold the government to account and to view what documents it demands to see, and even though he takes a shot at Trudeau, he implicitly states that the current Harper government is also responsible for our parliamentary democracy being “one of the worst in the world” in his view.

There should be more Conservative MP’s like Michael Chong out there. I wonder if there are any other Conservative MP’s that hold private views the same as Mr Chong’s public views, and if they will be brave enough to risk Harper’s wrath for saying it as Chong has done.

The audio link to Chong’s interview with CBC can be listened to here.


12 comments to A Conservative MP with respect for Parliament sighting.

  • WJM

    Prentice was elected in 2004 as a Conservative.

  • TofKW

    The Invisible Hand – I clearly wrote Elsie Wayne supported the unite the right movement, but she was retiring and did not run in 2004. If she did she probably would have been the 9th MP. I was listing those MPs who moved on in the new party – and there were only 8 of 15.

    You want a fun assignment, go tally the popular vote percentages in the ’93, ’97 and ’00 elections of the combined Reform/Alliance and PC parties. In 1993 the combined vote was 35% (18.6-R / 16.1-PC), when supposedly the public didn’t like conservatives much. The numbers get much better for the united right after that, until 2004.

    Even at his best showing (37.6% in 2008) Harper has lost a number of conservative votes. Where did they go? Easy – they went with the former leader, president, and 2nd place leadership contender + a good number of MPs and card carrying members (including myself) by saying NO to the new CPofC.

    BTW – the ex-PCers that remain are their mostly because they really don’t like the Grits much (which I fully understand) and would rather try to make a difference with the western populists. I wish Mr Chong all the best in that regard, a good man in a group of mostly rotten apples.

    PS – are you saying Wikipedia is wrong (it isn’t because I remember Mr Borotsik) …and this wasn’t an essay, it’s a blog thread.

  • slg

    Proof that you don’t have to hate someone that you disagree with. I don’t agree with some of Chong’s views, but I respect him as a person.

    But in Toryland you have two choices – hate and attack. Respect is not in their vocabulary.

  • Omar

    A possible floor crosser a la Scott Brison? That would be sooo nice to see.

  • I had the privilege of meeting Michael Chong when he was a Minister. Truly a wonderful Canadian.

  • TofKW

    It should be noted that Mr Chong is a former PCer (one of the handful that decided to switch after the take-over) and is one of the few CPofC MPs that I hold any respect for. Not surprisingly, he’s in Herr Harper’s bad books.

    • @TofKW: There’s a small typo in your post. You wrote “one of the handful that decided to switch” when what you actually meant was “one of the almost everyone who decided to stay“.

      • TofKW

        @The Invisible Hand,

        I erred in writing ‘handful’, but likewise you grossly overestimate the numbers by stating ‘almost everyone’.

        There were 15 PC MPs during the 2003 takeover:

        Joe Clark – refused to join CPofC, sat as a PC until 2004 election and quit politics.

        André Bachand – refused to join, sat as a PC until 2004 election and quit.

        John Herron – refused to join, joined Liberals for 2004 election (lost).

        Scott Brison – refused to join, joined Liberals for 2004 election (won).

        Rex Barnes – became mayor of Grand Falls – Windsor after 2004.

        Rick Borotsik – joined the CPofC but made no secret of his opposition to Stephen Harper and the new party’s social conservatism. Did not run in 2004 and publicly endorsed the Liberals.

        Elsie Wayne – endorsed unite the right movement but was retiring after 2004.

        Additionally other high profile PCers like party president Bruck Easton did not join, and of course David Orchard was most vocal in his objections to the deal.

        Sitting PC MPs who became CPofC MPs: (8) – Peter MacKay, Jim Prentice, Bill Casey, Norman Doyle, Loyola Hearn, Gerald Keddy, Gary Schellenberger, & Greg Thompson.

        Given the numbers, I’d say we’re both wrong and this was closer to a draw. However you must admit this is hardly the all-encompassing merger the Reform/Alliance hoped for.

        • @TofKW: Elsie Wayne definitely counts as someone who stuck with the CPC; she was still active in the party as of their 2005 policy convention. So does Rex Barnes; he even ran for them in 2004. (And regarding Borotsik, you really shouldn’t plagiarize from Wikipedia.)

          But furthermore, I was referring to the overall population of PCers during the merger (and specifically to the 90% of delegates who voted for it), not just sitting MPs at the time. Michael Chong was not in the latter category, and he’s the “one of a handful” you were specifically talking about.

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