1.08.2007

"political opportunism and rampant self-interest"

When Stephen Harper appointed then-Liberal MP Wajid Khan his adviser on Middle East foreign policy, I smelled a rat. Some readers thought I was being too cynical. But I don't trust Stephen Harper, and this time my American cynicism served me very well.

Because, as we all know, Wajid Khan, who was elected to his Mississauga riding as a Liberal, is now a Conservative.

I agree with my Mississauga neighbours who wrote these letters to the Toronto Star:
MP Wajid Khan's defection to the federal Conservatives smacks of political opportunism and rampant self-interest. As a resident of the Mississauga-Streetsville riding, to me it is shameful to see our elected MP circumvent the democratic process in this community and ignore voter decisions.

It is highly unlikely that Khan would have been elected in the previous election had he chosen to run under the Conservative banner. Since the 1993 federal election, Mississauga has been staunchly Liberal and if Khan didn't feel "strange" about joining a new party, then he should have taken that risk in the previous election. Perhaps his stated "admiration for Stephen Harper" wasn't fully developed at that time or, more to the point, he didn't want to risk losing his seat in Parliament.

I find it interesting that Khan explains his defection by mentioning principles of free enterprise and family values that are important to him personally, while neglecting to mention the needs of his constituents – many of whom are re-energized by St├ęphane Dion's leadership victory and focus on the environment.

Clearly, Khan's primary focus is not on the Conservatives, Liberals or the residents of Mississauga-Streetsville. His focus rests on the interests and benefits of one person – himself. -- Matt Gierasimcic, Mississauga

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As a Canadian who has chosen to make the beautifully diverse riding of Mississauga-Streetsville his home for more than 15 years, I feel betrayed by MP Wajid Khan's switch to the Conservative party. Khan's past election victories are due entirely to the fact that he was a Liberal candidate and had nothing to do with him personally.

I can state with confidence that my family, friends and neighbours are disgusted with Stephen Harper's government's global stance, whether it be in regard to the environment or world peace. It is therefore especially disturbing when Khan praises "Canada's role in the world" under PM Harper. Khan has clearly grown out of touch with his riding and his crossing of the floor flies in the face of the thousands of votes that were cast in his favour as a Liberal MP. -- Mohamed El Rashidy, Mississauga

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If Wajid Khan wishes to join the Conservative Party, it is his choice. However, it was not the choice of his constituents. Our election system is set out so that we vote for the political party we want in our riding, not particularly the individual. If he wants to be Conservative, he should resign and run again in the next election as a member of the Conservative party.

He was "hired" by the majority of voters in the Mississauga-Streetsville riding who voted Liberal. By defecting to another party, Khan is now misrepresenting his riding and has breeched the trust of his constituency. This defection has shifted the balance of power in the House of Commons. If such defections are allowed, in theory, a handful of MPs with their own agendas can switch political parties and create a majority government that was not voted for by the majority of the public. If this happens, Canada will no longer have a democracy. -- Alexander Galant, Mississauga
I'd also like a moment with my Toronto friends who sneeringly refer to "the 905s" (the suburban area code) as a supposed rat's nest of conservatives. Wrong!

But there's good news in Khan's defection: the balance of power now belongs to the NDP.

Your thoughts?

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