Rathgeber’s “Inescapable” Decision To Leave CPC | by Elizabeth Yu

It’s been a tumultuous few days on the Blue seas.

Wednesday night at 8:18 pm, Brent Rathgeber, MP of Edmonton – St.Albert, publicly
announced his resignation from the Conservative Party of Canada via Twitter:

Four short minutes later Brent tweeted again, citing his reasons for resigning:

Early Thursday morning Rathgeber posted on his personal blog to further elaborate upon his
“inescapable” decision to leave. He claimed that the gutting of his transparency bill,
which called for public disclosure of expenses on any public servant salaries of
$188,000 or more, was the “last straw that broke the camel’s back.” This bill had been
amended by the Conservatives, raising the minimum salary necessary for disclosure to
a massive $444,000. Rathgeber states that the lack of support for his financial
transparency bill was a direct reflection of the Government’s “lack of support for
transparency and open government generally.”

This single bill, however, was not the only reason Rathgeber had found to leave the
CPC. His discomfort has festered for over a year, and he fears that the Reform/
Conservative movement that he had originally joined has “morphed into what we once
mocked.” Rathgeber calls committee hearings a “charade” and states that “The
decisions on amendments were made by unelected staffers weeks before the
Committee hearings even commenced. Compliant MPs just do what they are told by
PMO [Prime Minister Office] staffers” and that this is all done “opaquely and routinely
without supervision.” All of this cries loudly of a degradation in the quality of democracy in Ottawa.

Despite all of this, Rathgeber reinforces his continued respect and support for Stephen
Harper but now with heightened reservations. He hopes to be able to better represent
the values of the Conservative party outside of it, as an independent, since he can “no longer
recognize much of the party that I joined.” But in the wake of the Mike Duffy and Nigel
Wright expense scandal, I wonder how the party that Rathgeber no longer recognizes
will fare. It is certain that these murky waters of opacity will be difficult to navigate, but
hopefully the voice of this MP will galvanize Harper’s Government into becoming a more
accountable and transparent one. 

On Thursday, Rathgeber spoke to the CBC: “I’m doing what I need to do for myself and for my constituents, I don’t think that I can continue to represent them when I am told how to vote, told what to speak.” Based on the responses on his blog and twitter, Rathgeber is being both strongly commended and criticized, some praising him for his moral integrity and others asking him to step down and run in a by-election. What do you think, YEG and St. Albert?Did Brent Rathgeber fairly represent you, his electorate, in Ottawa?

Leave a comment below or tweet at us @wandereronline.

Photograph courtesy of haddensavix on Flickr

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