From the preliminary inquiry is that neither Mr. Harper nor Mr. Emerson contravened any of the specific Sections of the Members’ Code. I am satisfied that no special inducement was offered by Mr. Harper to convince Mr. Emerson to join his Cabinet and his party. In addition, there is no reason, and certainly no evidence, to contradict Mr. Emerson’s own claim that accepting Mr. Harper’s offer seemed, at least to him, a way to better serve his city, province and country. I therefore find no reason to pursue these matters further.
Hardly surprising, it was technically a weak case. Although, Harper's massive over-reaction now looks incredibly foolish, given the quick end to the inquiry. What is interesting is Shapiro concludes that, while no there is no formal breach of ethics, the appointment of Emerson leaves much to be desired:
This discomfort can be partly explained simply by partisan politics. It is always a matter of some delicacy to determine whether a request for a specific inquiry arises from a genuine concern for compliance with the Members’ Code as opposed to, for example, an attempt to gain partisan advantage.
In this case, however, I believe that partisan politics – in the very best sense of that phrase – is an insufficient explanation. “Crossing the floor” in the House of Commons is not at all unusual in Canadian parliamentary history. However, the closeness in time of Mr. Harper’s offer and Mr. Emerson’s acceptance of it to the general election heightened the issues – ethical and political – that always lay beneath a decision by a Member of Parliament to cross the floor and become affiliated with a political party other than the one under whose umbrella he or she campaigned and was elected. Fairly or unfairly, this particular instance seems to have given many citizens a “sense” that their vote – the cornerstone of our democratic system – was somehow devalued, if not betrayed.
Shapiro offers the Emerson protesters some validation, by rebuking the Conservative's standard spin, that this entire affair is mere partisanship. Shapiro gives support to the idea of voter disenfranchisement. Clearly, Shapiro makes a distinction between this floor crossing and previous ones, by outlining the close timeframe between vote and crossing. While Shapiro acknowledges that his office has no formal complaint against Emerson/Harper, he advises parliament to deal with the negativity that surrounds such manoeuvers.
On the surface, the media will spin this as a win for the Prime Minister. However, if you carefully read Shapiro's conclusions, you can read it as "yes it stinks, but it ain't my pile". I don't see this decision dampening any of furor over Emerson, Shapiro is sympathetic to the outrage.