Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Garth Turner Speaks Out About His Suspension

In what has to be a record-breaking website redesign (except for the fact that his title bar still reads 'Hon. Garth Turner, P.C., M.P') Garth Turner has totally revamped his site (see this cached version of the old site) and has posted a video in response to his being turfed earlier today from the Conservative Party. You have to admit - he's probably the most savvy internets tubes MP that Canada has.

In a post titled 'Holy Smokes!', Turner writes:

Well, this has turned out to be one interesting day. This blog has been melted down a few times over the last couple of hours with Canadians logging on because, I would presume, they'd like to see why it is I have been removed from the Conservative bosom.

Well, knock yourself out. All my words are here. Judge for yourself.

I have said here many times, and consistently since I was elected this last time, that I work for the voters - the people, the taxpayers. After that I heed my party and the political establishment. All are important, of course, but the people come first.

And people, seems to me, want political leaders and MPs who look at every opinion, chew over ever idea, kick every notion, and then decide what's best. The older I get and the mose people I run into, the more I understand this is not a black-and-white world. Despite the yelling in Question Period. Despite the events of today in the caucus room.

So, being kicked out of the Conservative Party is unfortunate, and I'll be going back to my riding soon to explain things to those voters who wanted a Tory to represent them. But no party - in fact, none of us - has a lock on perfection. The irony is that I've been a Conservative longer than most people who call themselves that these days, and my beliefs have not changed. I did not leave my party, or my convictions, at the caucus room door.

Now, I'll be the best MP I can. Count on it.

Turner seems to have morphed himself into Canada's version of CNN's Lou 'War on the Middle Class' Dobbs with his new flashy 'Middle Class Canadians' banner. It seems he's only seeking e-mail feedback now while having closed his comments section.

As CBC's Don Newman quipped today, 'In that Conservative caucus it's a bit like that TV show Survivor and Garth Turner just got voted off the island.'

Asked by CTV's Dan 'I used to be a weatherman - look at me now!' Matheson about the reasons for his ouster, Turner said he's 'in the dark' because he's just been doing what he's done all along but then went on to say that concerns were expressed to him in the Ontario caucus today (which came as a complete surprise to him, he claimed) about his opinions on the Tory's so-called green plan and his lobbying for income-splitting and that 'it had nothing to do with caucus confidentiality' from what he could gather because no one mentioned anything about that.

He added that, contrary to what MP Rahim Jaffer had announced, the vote in the Ontario caucus was not 'unanimous' and called that an 'interesting fiction' (but we already knew that Jaffer is a big fan of fiction). Turner was not present at the federal Tory caucus meeting. Asked if Harper 'pulled the trigger' on him, Turner didn't answer directly and only talked about the big tent idea of allowing free speech within political parties and re-emphasized several times that he works for his constituents, not the party.

A transcript of Turner's press conference is forthcoming. I'm just typing it up.

Update: I've posted the transcript separately for anyone who might want to link to it as a standalone post.

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