Garth Turner was booted from the Ontario Tory Caucus today, and by extension, he’s been suspended from the Conservative National Caucus.
I’d always wondered how Garth found the appropriate balance between blogging and caucus confidentiality. I suppose he never did and its been cited as the reason why he’s been kicked from Tory ranks (suspended at this point).
Stephen Harper’s office explains that this was an Ontario Caucus decision and that he was just as surprised as everyone else (well… as surprised as one could be about Turner the Maverick being suspended).
In my opinion, its bad news for the Conservatives (losing an MP in a minority government always is), it’s news that the Conservatives don’t need and it was self-inflicted… at least as far as it was their decision.
However, some might say that Turner made the decision himself by choosing to breach caucus confidentiality as far as he did.
There are three outcomes to this as far as I can see:
1) Garth will fold and comply with his colleagues and stop being like a reporter in caucus.
2) Garth will sit as an independent MP.
3) Garth may become the first sitting Green MP.
Knowing Garth’s personality, #2 is most likely, and #3 is speculation.
UPDATE: Question Period is particularly spirited today with Liberals in high spirits and the Prime Minister fighting back hard rallying his party. The gallery is fuller than usual.
UPDATE: Something I said in the comments that should be repeated here: “if the allegations of the breaches of caucus confidentiality are true… I often felt that Garth never took off his reporter/columnist hat when he needed to put on his Conservative MP hat. Being an party MP is a balance between being a great representative for your constituents, and being a team player for your party.”
UPDATE: Garth to be on CFRA at 5pm. Government to give big update at 5pm on Mike Duffy Live.
FLASHBACK: Paul Wells: (on Carolyn Parrish) “And now we come to day’s most richly entertaining lesson. No prime minister can tolerate a display of open contempt from somebody who is supposed to be a member of his team. The proper response to such behaviour is dismissal. Paul Martin reached that inevitable conclusion today.” h/t (Comparisons such as these are hardly perfect but it’s interesting to look back at hisory to try and figure out what the media’s mood will be on this)
UPDATE: Garth blogs:
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.
So, constituents first, party second. Fine. But one has to measure violating party trust in the context of infoming constituents. Were Garth’s alleged violations of caucus confidentiality required for bringing his consituents up to speed on critical issues, or was it more about gossip?
UPDATE: At his 5pm press conference, Turner says that he was booted from caucus for what he believes were policy differences not because of a breach of caucus confidentiality.