Friday, March 03, 2006

Emerson: Legal Action On The Horizon

There has been much discussion concerning the possibility of legal action against Emerson. Saturday's planned protest in Emerson's riding is likely to be a large one. What is particularly interesting is the legal angle that is now part of the equation:
Vancouver activist Mike Magee, who organized an online petition at, said the ad hoc group now has two lawyers working on preparing a civil case.

Magee said Friday that many people in the riding who voted for Emerson because he was opposed to the Conservatives have put their names forward for a court challenge of the defection.

Lawyers will be present at today's meeting to explain what is involved in being part of any potential court challenge, he said.

"They feel there is enough evidence nationally to launch something. We are just working on the formalities of lining up plaintiffs," Magee said.

A court challenge looks a virtual certainty at this point. How can Emerson survive a legal case, as well as a ethics inquiry? I had the sense the national media was tiring of the Emerson story, but these latest developments have re-energized the entire debate. Unless Emerson resigns, this matter will distract the government for a long time and further taint the "ethical" Prime Minister.

The ethics inquiry is bound to offer some new information that is potentially damaging. A legal case presents an entirely different set of talking points, not to mention emboldening the disenfranchised of Vancouver-Kingsway. Harper's flippant statement, that he was well aware of the consequences when he recruited Emerson, looks more delusional with each day. This issue is here to stay.


PoliticsNB said...

I'm amazed that this story has actually continued to have the legs it has. I figured it would quiet down until Paliament was back in session, but it's cooled only slightly, as far as grabbing major headlines.. Emerson and Harper, are liable to find it only ramps up more when they return to the hill. The powers that be, strongly under-estimated the backlash from the liberal supporters in this riding.
It will be interesting to see how many people they can actually get out to the streets today.


Steve V said...


I pretty sure when all the dust settles, Emerson will regret his decision to not resign right away.

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

A pox on both their houses, say I.

There are two issues which interest me here.

We need to clean up Parliament so that corruption and breach of faith exacts a penalty on the MP who commits those deeds and if needs be the party represented by that MP. If having an Ethics Commissioner with an independent mandate, a clearly defined mandate, and powers to enforce his or her rulings, is an effective way to guard the guards, then good, go ahead and form one.

(By the way, I would like the Ethics Commissioner to have the power to bench an offending MP for less serious misdeeds, so that the MP cannot vote for a defined period).

The second issues is a political one, and is Harper’s call. His refusal to cooperate with the current Ethics Commissioner, despite having won power by proclaiming himself Mr Clean fighting Mr Corrupt, sends out loud signals to many: does this man have a double standard? Does he regard himself as above the rules and laws?

We have seen how the imperial presidency is busily dragging America back into the dark ages. Are we in for an imperial prime ministership under Mr Clean?

One way to show that he believes he is not above the law is for Harper to cooperate with the Ethics Commissioner on the Emerson walkabout.

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