Liberal MP for Mississauga-Streetsville Wajid Khan was appointed today as a special advisor to the Prime Minister on South Asia and the Middle East. Khan will travel to the region sometime during the next couple of weeks.
This, of course, is an interesting development. Given Khan’s tolerance of Joe Volpe’s pro-Israel stance, the Liberal party’s division on this Middle-East issues and their criticism of the Prime Minister for his unambiguous stance on the current Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, one might speculate that this may be only the first move in longer courtship between Khan and the Conservative government. Khan may act to give the “nuance” that the media seeks on the Prime Minister’s position on the Middle East.
Will Khan formally cross the floor? Will he be in South East Asia during a critical vote? With Stephen Harper and the PMO, decisions such as these do not occur by accident or coincidence.
The PMO denied a floor crossing when I contacted them. However, another contact says that the Conservatives and Khan have been considering each other quietly for a couple of months.
Media analysts have speculated that Harper needs to capture more ethnic communities if he aims to form a majority. The Prime Minister spoke before thousands of Indo-Canadians in Surrey this past weekend. This move by Harper to bring Khan onside may be just the first move in a calculated emigration of ethnic votes from the Liberal Party.
UPDATE: PMO release