Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What To Do With Denis Lebel?

The Conservative Minister of Transport Denis Lebel once held membership in the Bloc Quebecois, so today's poll question; what should be done with him? Should he be disqualified from sitting in cabinet? Would you go so far as remove him from caucus? Or is it okay with you so long as he's not chosen to lead the party? He disclosed this information about his past prior to joining the Tories, so this was known to party officials. David McGuinty was in full throttle attack mode on Monday, questioning the Prime Minister's patriotism. Ironically, the Liberal Party is itself divided on whether or not the NDP leader's former Bloc membership is acceptable or destructive. Granted the Liberals once teamed up with the Bloc in an attempt to overthrow the government in 2008, so it is a little rich for the Liberals to attack the Tories for having a cabinet minister who once had a Bloc membership card as being unpatriotic.

I have no objections to Mr Lebel sitting as Transport Minister, though I never would have appointed him in the first place. He became a junior minister a year after being elected in a byelection in 2007, and was promoted to a bigger portfolio in 2011 after the Quebec Tory caucus was cut in half (the PM had only had 5 MPs to choose from with 4 of them being appointed). Had the Tories won more seats in the province, it is unlikely that Lebel would have been selected to his current post, but the PMO insisted on having as many Quebec cabinet ministers as possible and so here we are. It will be interesting to see which Liberals attack Lebel and defend Turmel.


  1. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/conservative-transport-minister-denis-lebel-confirms-former-ties-to-the-bloc/article2123568/
    "SRC reported that Mr. Lebel was a member of the Bloc from July 1993 to April 2001 and that he also donated hundreds of dollars to the party during the 1990s."

    Denis Lebel was first elected as a Conservative in 2007, six years after his Bloc membership lapsed. The situation is not the same in Ms. Turmel's case, whose membership in the Bloc and Quebec Solidaire were far more recent. As a matter of fact, her membership in Quebec Solidaire was still active when the story came out.

    However, there's a lesson here for us all: "judge not lest ye be judged." Rather than immediately pronouncing and denouncing opponents, one had better be damned sure that someone on "our side" is not in a similar situation. Rather than coming out with statements that may come back to bite them, Conservatives should focus on governing rather than on wagging their finger at opponents. Mind you, I'm not aware of Conservative MPs criticizing Turmel, except for reports that the PM expressed his "disappointment" when asked to react to the news.
    « "I think it's very disappointing," Harper said when asked about Turmel after the announcement. "I don't know that I have a lot to say but I do think Canadians will find this disappointing. I think Canadians expect that any political party that wants to govern the country be unequivocally committed to this country. I think that's the minimum Canadians expect." »

    -- Gabby in QC

  2. It seems that the Liberals just have to attack for the sake of it. They havn't got anythink else to present to us. They are like those yappy little dogs that bite at your ankles. A nusance but of little consequence.

    Rob West

  3. Good comment,Gabby. I was about to dig up the old saw about "people in glass houses",but you said it well.

    Whatever Mr.Lebel's former Party affiliations,I DO hope and trust he was elevated to a Cabinet position due to his intelligence and ability,NOT due to pandering to the tiny Quebec caucus. What is it now, four MP's from Quebec,and how many are in Cabinet?

  4. Rob West: "They havn't got anythink. Typo, I'm sure but oh so accurate.

  5. Louise, yeah it was a type, but I enjoyed your
    take on it ;)