Garth Turner: Trouble in Capitol City?

When Garth Turner crossed the floor, following a short stint as an Independent MP, to join the Liberal Caucus, the opposition Liberals greeted him with open arms, showing him off as an example of an ex-Conservative MP seeing the light (so to speak).

Is the honeymoon over?

In an odd blog on May 22nd, Turner talked about stories circulating that there were caucus problems and that he had been “dressed down” by Stephane Dion.

I’ve read all about it on blogs, which now are trying to analyze whether or not (a) I engineered this mess in order to be thrown out and start the NOTA (none-of-the-above) party, or if (b) Bob Rae forces are leaking caucus info in order to cut my legs off since I have been helping the leader on communications issues, or if (c) Iggy forces encouraged me to be manly and provocative just to tick off the feminazis in the Lib caucus, leading to my dressing down by Dion, leading in turn to an Ignatieff hormonal attack on the leader, or if (d) certain caucus members are sending a message, via the W-lady, that I no longer have the protection of caucus confidentiality, in the hope of scuttling the controversial carbon plan, or if (e) my private bits have been too close to my gas tank, thereby weakening my intellect.

And ended by saying:

Well, this is far too deep for me, of course. And I guess I’ll find out next Wednesday morning what my fate is.

Then a denial:

My call finshed, I felt by Berry vibrate in its holster. It was an email from Mike Duffy. “U still a Lib?” it said, “Urgent response needed. Tks duff.” Then another popped up, from Esther. “CTV, STAR OTHERS CALLING, ASK IF YOU ARE KICKED OUT. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?” Then from Aaron Wherry, of Macleans, “is your status as a member of liberal caucus genuinely in doubt? or is this all silly, baseless conjecture?”

And on it went, as a rumour swept the nation’s capital that Stephane Dion has, indeed, cashed me in. Ironically, of course, this had all started on Duffy’s show, when professional weasel Jane Taber, acting on a courageous anonymous tip, spoke of Stephane Dion allegedly criticizing me in caucus. “Apparently so,” I emailed back, answering his question, “no thanks to gossips.”

For brief moments, though, I was newsworthy. For a clutch of glorious hours, Conservatives felt elation coursing through their veins. Forget the economy, Mad Max, Cadman, election cheating, income trusts or that deficit thingy. After all, this is what politics is all about – elected people beating up on each other. Voters? What voters?

But, it would soon be dashed. The next email came from a poohbah in the leader’s office, which was also apparently fielding calls from reporters. “This,” it said simply, “is bullshit of the highest order.”

Then another blog that comes across as a butt-kissing tribute to his party leader, Stephane Dion.

Moments after I finished my presentation to a hall full of people on the US-BC border one night last week, a guy stood up and shocked me. “It is so encouraging,” he said, “so refreshing, to hear you come here and speak so highly of Stephane Dion.”

And why the hell would I not?

I suppose we’ll never know what played out until someone writes their political memoirs. Ain’t politics wonderful?


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