Friday, January 05, 2007


So not a very good day for the credibility of Stéphane Dion.

(Speaking in Eastern time...)

At 9:35 a.m., the CBC reports that Dion has called Wajid Khan a "committed Liberal", that "in politics you hear many things (but Khan) will be part of the caucus" and, moreover, there was "no indication" that Khan would cross the floor.

At 9:55 a.m., an email comes around from the PMO that Harper is about to make an announcement.

At 10:13 a.m., CTV reports that Khan has crossed the floor.

What was Dion doing making such definitive statements? Did Khan pull the wool over this eyes or did he make a serious lapse in judgment.

In any event, not a good day for the Liberals. An MP who the leader gave an ultimatum and then assured the press that this MP would stay as a Liberal crosses the floor within 12 hours of these comments. At the same time, Harper's cabinet shuffle has been lauded in some press, receiving headlines which I think are a stretch but, in any event, are very good for the Tories, including the whopper: HARPER GOES GREEN in the National Post.


Brent said...

I think the parts of this story that I take away are as follows:

1. It was broken almost 24 hours earlier by a blogger, Stephen Taylor, who insisted on credits and links for all media who picked up on the story. And he got it. It was a good day for bloggers. (And Stephen tells me there are more irons in his blogging fire which we'll learn about in due course.)

2. The class with which it was done. This was no Belinda moment, and certainly there was no Grewal-type intrigue here. It was done the day after the shuffle, and there was no hint, or even media questions, of a reward.

3. It looks like Stéphane Dion is not just a victim here. He precipitated the defection by forcing Khan to choose. The optics for Dion, especially in light of his complete failure to see it coming just hours before it happened, are horrible.

4. Dion undoubtedly assigned some key Liberals to lobby Khan to stay. It will be interesting to see where the breakdown occurred, and who dropped the ball.

nbpolitico said...

Brent - with your analysis I agree 100%. Kudos for Stephen Taylor for being recognized by the press for his scoop. Though I think it is said that he had to remind them to cite him in his post and wonder if he would have gotten the credit he deserved if he hadn't explicitly asked for it.

nuna d. above said...

Floor crossing, like patronage, is only offensive to the party that does not benefit. Thank you for not being hysterical about it the way Cherniak has been.

Anonymous said...

The Khan guy is history. I know some of his constituents. They tell me he is politically dead. There is no hope in the hell that he can win next election. Bye bye Khan the Con.

burlivespipe said...

No political payoff? The guy's been flying high and free on our dime, as a secret spy for Harpor with apparently no responsibility to report to the Canadian public. Apparently his mission is on the lines of CSIS. I can see other key janglers on car lots everywhere wondering how they can turn their specific talents into a 'Bond, James Bond' kind of career. This was Harpor, reaching into the Libs for someone who -- as Tony Clement, the guy Kahn supported during the Cons leadership race -- wore blue underwear. No surprise, just a trade of Garth for Kahn.

JL said...

Obviously Harper told Khan to tell Dion he would remain a Liberal..and Dion, the fool, believed him.

Dion is a dead man walking. Perhaps another Liberal leadership convention? There's still time!

Anonymous said...

JL, another Liberal leadership convention and may be Khan will run. Baloney. It only shows Khan is a Con.

Anonymous said...

This is becoming silly and trivial. Dion isn't going away and you've put him just where he likes to be; underestimated.

nbpolitico said...

Anon at 335... I agree, this made for a bad day for Dion but is certainly not symptomatic of "the end". Stephen Harper had days like this back-to-back for days on end at times in 2002, 2003 and 2005 and now he's the Prime Minister of Canada.

Anonymous said...

What was Dion supposed to do? Almost all of caucus wanted Khan out but Graham did not want to rock the boat before the convention. In fact, when he accepted his advisor position, Khan "volunteered" to no longer participate in Liberal caucus meetings!!!(what a good Liberal eh?) Dion was 95 per cent sure that Khan was going to leap but had to make it look like he was trying to keep him on board. He was asked about leaks that Khan was switching sides, and some of you think he should have "predicted it" by saying "well, from what I hear he is taking off..there's a good chance of it so I will try to talk to him but looks like he's gone!" Then you would be saying "Dion did nothing to keep him on side!" One thing is for sure, most Lib MPs wanted Khan out if he insisted on remaining Harper's special advisor. Word is that Khan was trying to draw his resignation out to closer to a potential election for maximum effect..Dion did the smart thing by smoking him out as soon as possible.