Wajid Khan out of caucus

Following this story in the Globe and Mail which broke a few hours ago, this press release just landed in my email inbox:

OTTAWA – Today, Member of Parliament Wajid Khan announced he is stepping aside from Conservative caucus. The decision was made following media reports that he may be charged under the Elections Act over matters dating back to the 2004 election, when he ran as a candidate for the Liberal Party.

“Although I have not yet been served with court documents, Given the circumstances, I am withdrawing from the Conservative caucus to sit as an independent MP. I have also offered the Prime Minister my resignation as his Special Advisor for Middle Eastern and South Asian Affairs.”

Wajid Khan MP
Mississauga Streetsville

Jason Kenney interview

This week I had the chance to sit down and have a chat with Jason Kenney, the new Secretary of State for Multiculturalism. Kenney has been working multicultural outreach for the Prime Minister for quite some time and it was good to see Mr. Harper make it official last week.

In the interview we chat about the difference between the Liberal and Conservative approach to multicultural outreach, the Wajid Khan defection and more.

CBC: please correct the record

Yesterday I wrote:

I am now reporting that Wajid Khan will join the Conservative ranks tomorrow as a backbench MP. Doing so protects Khan from cynicism of the press and opposition of making such a political move for career advancement, or for monetary considerations. Khan joins the Tories without taking a position in either cabinet or as a Parliamentary secretary.

Today, the CBC writes:

On Thursday, Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor fuelled speculation about the defection by posting a report that Khan would join the Tories in the cabinet or as a parliamentary secretary.

I appreciate the nod from the CBC, but I hope that they correct the record.

UPDATE: CBC has changed the text, but it is still wrong:

On Thursday, Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor fuelled speculation about the defection by posting a report that Khan would join the Tories possibly as a parliamentary secretary. He has not accepted a cabinet position.

I never mused on the possibility of a parliamentary secretary job for Khan. In fact, I ruled that possibility right out (along with stating that Khan wouldn’t join cabinet either)

UPDATE: CBC has deleted the entire paragraph.

BREAKING NEWS — Khan crosses floor — EXCLUSIVE

I am now reporting that Wajid Khan will join the Conservative ranks tomorrow as a backbench MP. Doing so protects Khan from cynicism of the press and opposition of making such a political move for career advancement, or for monetary considerations. Khan joins the Tories without taking a position in either cabinet or as a Parliamentary secretary.

This move has been a long time coming and I expected to report on this just after the Liberal leadership convention as such a move would have been wise political strategy to deflate the post-convention bounce in the polls that benefitted the Liberal party.

Khan is expected to make a formal announcement tomorrow and will likely describe that he is switching parties because of the “values” that the Prime Minister represents.

UPDATE: Liberals are reportedly doing their best tonight to lobby Khan to keep him from leaving their caucus.

OTHER THOUGHTS: Khan should have to face nomination in his own riding with the local Conservative EDA before he should attain the label of “incumbent” in the next election. Khan switching to the Conservatives nets no discernible gain for Khan (from backbench MP to backbench MP) and it should net no discernible gain for him in the future (such as having his nomination grandfathered, as the Liberals do). Before Belinda Stronach faced the voters in Newmarket-Aurora, were the Liberal members of that riding given the opportunity to challenge her nomination before the next election? Let’s hope that Khan will have to stand for nomination for the party before he faces the voters.

UPDATE Jan 5, 9am: Dion draws a line in the sand. Susan Delacourt reports on the Liberal leader’s new ultimatum for Wajid Khan.

If this story is subsequently reported on television, radio, in a newspaper, or on an MSM website, please give proper citation to this blog.

Rumours and fact

Yesterday, I reported at 1:30pm that no cabmin would lose their job and that cabinet would grow. Craig Oliver broke the news in the MSM about 8.5 hours later on CTV nightly newscast.

I’ve been tapping many contacts and will confidently predict that one of my minor predictions yesterday was actually wrong. Yesterday, I predicted that there wouldn’t be any growth from Alberta in cabinet.

Today, I can confidently predict that we will see Alberta get more representation in cabinet.

The Toronto Star is reporting that Wajid Khan is going to be appointed to cabinet this morning. My friends at CTV say that they won’t touch that speculation. Good for CTV, I’ve just heard that Wajid Khan will not be joining Harper’s cabinet this morning.

UPDATE 10:22am: Ontario MP Guergis in cabinet.

UPDATE 10:22am: Quebec MP Paradis in cabinet.

UPDATE 10:23am: Saskatchewan MP Ritz in cabinet.

UPDATE 10:26am: Jaffer arrived with Guergis. Speculation: Is Jaffer the the new Alberta representation?

UDPATE 10:30am: Confirmed by Ambrose. She’s out of the environment portfolio.

UPDATE: New jobs: Ambrose (intergovernmental affairs?), Baird (environment?), Solberg, Kenney (in cabinet), Toews (treasury board?), Finley, Van Loan, Jay Hill (in cabinet).

Official news: Nicholson goes to Justice and Attorney General, Lebreton gets Sec. of State (seniors), Solberg goes to Human Resources and Social Development, Toews goes to Treasury Board, Finley goes to Citizenship and Immigration, Ambrose goes to Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Privy Council, Van Loan goes to House Leader, Baird goes to Environment, Hill gets Sec. of State, Guergis gets Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Sport, Kenney gets Sec of State for Multiculturalism, Paradis gets Sec of State for Agriculture, Ritz gets Sec of State for Small Business and Tourism.