Those of us in the Parliamentary Press Gallery wondered, in the wake of Garth Turner's departure from the Conservative caucus, if Turner would one day ask to be taken back or, if and when a tight vote might be coming up, the caucus might ask Garth (left) if there was a way he might come home. Well, I've only been in Ottawa now for a little more than 18 months, but even with my rookie radar I'd be willing to bet that with the following comments — taken from Turner's blog — Turner is pretty much putting any “return-to-Caucus” speculation to rest:
In my first private meeting with Harper he shocked me with his demeaning and insulting tone. My criticism of his hypocritical decision to put a floor-crossing Liberal in cabinet created the first crisis. My dismay at our lack of an effective climate change strategy in the failed green plan created the last. And in between I was appalled to discover that the legendary intolerance and narrow views of the Reform Party were at the heart of the new Conservative party, while the prairie populism, respect for the grassroots and empowerment that Preston Manning had stood for had vanished.
So, my libertarian, Progressive Conservative, democracy-loving ass was in the wrong caucus.
But no more. And now, as each day passes, it becomes more apparent that I will actually be a better MP for being an Indie.
Huge amounts of time are spent by party MPs each week sitting in party meetings devoid of policy debate. Countless more hours are devoted to filling chairs in committee rooms, where the outcome of almost every meeting has been pre-determined by the government. And the rest of Ottawa time is largely spent sitting in QP where Tory MPs are expected to clap, but dare not ask tough questions, if any.
If most voters dropped in and spent a day with these guys, they’d be floored. Only now am I realizing how much wasted time passes for important, as I find many extra hours to talk to constituents, deal with their issues and do some independent work on those things that matter to me. I’m rediscovering what it means to be a member of Parliament, and what it must have been like before MPs were turned into high-priced support staff. I get to think. And I like it. A lot.