Even though the Halton MP is Garth non grata among his Conservative Party caucus colleagues, Garth is still a card-carrying member of the party and self-identifies as a conservative. Therefore, garth.ca is a welcome blog in our grassroots blogging organization (he was never even removed from our aggregator or blogroll).
Half the members on the blogroll probably aren’t card-carrying of the Conservative Party but we all are conservative and support a conservative party or the conservative movement. And, in essence, that’s what Blogging Tories is and always will be, a community of small c conservatives. If Blogging Tories had existed during the Alliance/PC days, we would have aggregated blogs from both members of both parties since they were two conservative parties.
Garth deserves a lot of credit for advancing online political communications in this country, a hobby that I share and love. Let’s be clear, Garth wasn’t ejected from caucus because of his blog, it was what he said on his blog. In truth, it was like being fired from a job for cause. Garth’s discourse is, however, well within the boundries of thoughful debate and while he was a bit too much of a loose cannon for the Conservative Party MP caucus, he’s certainly entitled to his opinion here so long as he’s a conservative independent or member of a small c conservative party.
After Garth arrived home in Halton on Tuesday night I received an email from him about this post which addressed Garth’s wish to eliminate any ambiguity which may arise from it. Here’s an excerpt from an email that I sent back:
Garth, I do hope that you work to meet the conditions of reinstatement within the Conservative caucus. Being a team player means compromise (but not of your values). I believe that you could have better lobbied for your issues behind closed doors than via shaming of the team via your blog. I suppose that I’m at an advantage compared to you in that I don’t have the temptation of closed caucus meetings to entice my blog spirit. I’m free to give my opinions on issues and events without the worry that I’d compromise trust in that respect. I supposed if I were privy to private caucus discussions, I’d always be shuffling the worry of whether a concept was either public knowledge, insider knowledge, or private caucus knowledge. [The last of the three] being what gets reporters promoted (and MPs suspended)…
With all of that said, I do respect and admire the innovations that you have made with respect to online political communications in Canada, however, I do believe that your fighting for constituents could have been done with better agility than your confrontational approach.
As a conservative, I believe that you have much to still contribute to both the conservative movement and the Conservative party. Let’s hope that your battle with the Conservative caucus can be like any good fight between two guys; after the punches are thrown, beers and laughs can be had when the terms of mutual friendship are understood.
So, to Garth, you’re welcome here in the Blogging Tories caucus so long as you stick with your conservative principles as an independent MP or as a member of any conservative party caucus. We ought to be discussing income splitting and conservative approaches to the environment. However, if your blog becomes a soapbox at the expense of the conservative movement as it is propelled by a conservative party that advocates for conservatives issues (ie. if your anti-Harper sentiment comes at the expense of advancing conservatism), you’re out of the Blogging Tories caucus too!
But, as you are now, you’re a welcome member of Blogging Tories and we are enriched by your advancement of conservative issues.