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Delta-Richmond MP John Cummins. (The Canadian Press)
Delta-Richmond MP John Cummins. (The Canadian Press)

Rod Mickleburgh

John Cummins has every right to put his hook in the water Add to ...

Gosh, how time flies when you're having fun. Wasn't it just last week that Tory MP John Cummins was a respected political maverick?

Now, all of a sudden, according to many quarters, the same Mr. Cummins seems to have grown horns, or something worse.

Why? Because the long-time salmon fisherman MP from Delta has had the temerity to offer voters enhanced choice on the provincial landscape by taking over the reins of the hobbled BC Conservative Party, still stuck in the electoral barn after years of squabbling and neigh-saying.

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This, say the critics, increases Conservative credibility - not too difficult at either the best or worst of times - and threatens to split the so-called "free enterprise vote," thus making it easier for the NDP to slink into office by winning more seats than the Liberals.

Mind you, that well-worn term "free enterprise vote" has always confused me. Don't all parties, other than the Harpo-Marxist-Leninists, support the free enterprise system? Or have I somehow missed the NDP's secret, sinister desire to overthrow capitalism? First, we take Vanderhoof, then we take Prince George.

But seriously, folks, Liberals and their business supporters have chortled for years over the emergence of the Green Party and its siphoning of votes that might otherwise have gone to the NDP. They don't seem to like it much having competition on their side of the political spectrum.

Well, welcome to the messy business of democracy, where Libs and New Dems can gnash their teeth together that the electoral field is getting so goldarn crowded.

What's wrong with John Cummins wanting to spend some of his retirement years in B.C.'s volatile political trenches? Besides, he may fall flat on his face. Conservative ranks hardly inspire a rush of confidence.

Having cast ballots in the past for the likes of Mr. Peanut and Rhino candidate John Eh McDonald, I can also attest that voter intentions are often varied and unpredictable. They don't all fall into neat, well-defined categories.

Polls have shown that the second choice of Green supporters is not always the NDP. Nor was it that uncommon for past voters to favour the Reform Party federally and the NDP provincially.

One merely has to look at John Cummins himself. Who did he vote for in the last provincial election? The NDP. So it's the New Democrats, not the Liberals, who have taken the first hit. Down a vote already.

Happy fishing, John.

******

Yes, you did. No, I didn't. Yes, you will. No, I won't. The coalition sandbox squabbling goes on and on. It's enough to drive one to think.

I mean, give me a break. Stephen Harper and the other guys and Elizabeth May don't decide the makeup of the next government. The voters do. They are the ones who deal the hand the politicians have to play, not the other way around.

And so far, they have prevented Mr. Harper from doing exactly what he wants, by not giving him a majority. The opposition combined to defeat his government and force an election. They are allowed to do that.

Mr. Harper didn't seem to mind when his party joined the NDP and the Bloc to bring down the minority Liberal government of Paul Martin.

As always, of course, that was then, this is now. Sigh.

****

Stephen Harper may be trying, as politicians will, to play the public and/or the media like a violin. However, at the risk of being attacked by a trillion Tory tweeters, may I delicately suggest that, as a musician, Mr. Harper is no Elton John, either on the keyboards or in voice.

Still, kudos to the Conservative Leader for being willing to be enshrined forever on YouTube with his heartfelt but less-than-stellar version of John Lennon's Imagine, rendered in duet with Winnipeg's biggest 10-year-old Lady Gaga fan, Maria Aragon.

One can't help but wonder, though, just how much Mr. Harper embraces Mr. Lennon's lyrics, which seem to preach in favour of that dreaded c-word, 'coalition', or at least a place where "the world will be as one." Not to mention all that stuff about imagining a place with "no Heaven … no countries … no religion … no possessions … nothing to kill or die for." Those dreams are glaringly absent from the Conservative election platform, and from the other parties', too, for that matter.

Perhaps, Mr. Harper would have felt more comfortable with the Beatles' ballad against gun control. You know, "Happiness is an Unregistered Gun."

***

By the way, I'm reasonably certain that Christy Clark will not observe April Fool's Day by renaming renovated, re-roofed BC Place the Gordon Campbell Stadium, in honour of the ex-premier's donation of $400-million or so of public funds toward the grand project.

Follow on Twitter: @rodmickleburgh

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