Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Local pest control in existential crisis

Pat O'Brien's appearance on CTV the other day was certainly fascinating — the apparent willingness of backbencher rats to abandon the Liberal ship would seem to indicate the rapid disintegration of the Party.

But that's just what they are, rats. So the Conservatives would be wise to be cautious about accepting, let alone recruiting, political opportunists like this to the party. From the London Free Press:

London-Fanshawe MP Pat O'Brien said yesterday he's close to defecting from the governing Liberals and may join the Conservatives who have been courting him and other backbenchers. "The Liberal party is starting to look like the NDP-light," O'Brien said in an interview. "I don't know if I can even vote for the Liberal party . . . How can I represent it?"
I must say that I love to hear these words and that I'm happy to accept O'Brien's repudiation of the Party based on the corruption allegations and the strong-arming of the same-sex marriage through the Liberal ranks. But he's a one-trick pony when it comes to not being a Liberal — he's always been happy to attend ritual Liberal ceremonies announcing handouts of taxpayer money to various special interest groups in London. If he's a Conservative, then what makes the Conservatives any different than the Liberals apart from opposition to same-sex marriage?

In fact, he has a longer history as a political opportunist. As a city councillor, he reflexively supported Susan Eagle's takedown of a local landlord to score cheap political points as a caring anti-racist, but he was only riding the story for his own political benefit. But his notions of abuse of justice and procedure are quite evident here:
On November 10, 1989, London councillor Pat O'Brien (a member of the city's race-relations committee) told the London Free Press that he was confident the city would find members of the Cambodian community willing to file a Human Rights complaint: "They have to be counselled, there has to be grounds for a complaint and they have to be shown how to do it — I don't think that's a problem."
In fairness, he did say that there has to be grounds for complaint, but he should have done a little research before jumping on the unelected extra-judicial tribunal bandwagon. It later transpired that
Eagle, in testimony at a subsequent event, admitted that she was trying to acquire the buildings on behalf of four United Churches in London, to turn them into a taxpayer-subsidized co-op.
Check out the whole sordid story here — if Pat O'Brien wants to support people like Eagle, even if he wasn't really thinking, he could never have my support.

1 Comment:

basil said...

Having seen O'Brien speak (or, more accurately, shoot off at the mouth) during the the last federal campaign, I was convinced the only reason that he was getting any votes at all (aside from people who naturally gravitate toward hubris) was because he is a member of The Party. I'm convinced that here in London, federally at least, they'd vote for David Berkowitz if he'd only wrap himself in red and white.

I didn't realize he evolved from a city hall creature - I should have guessed by the shameless arrogance and condescension. That explains The Party connection though, as he did seem like someone more comfortable being less kind to minorities and special interest groups than the Party's official platform would require.

Does this mean that a riding is opening up for Ann Marietoinette to run in, as Pat "talks the talk and walks the walk" right out of office? I suspect her restraint was, in no small part, due to the lack of an opening with Pat, Smoking Joe and Sue seemingly so well entrenched.