NDP MP Heather McPherson open to joining Trudeau cabinet

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robbie_dee
NDP MP Heather McPherson open to joining Trudeau cabinet

She says she won't cross the floor, although it does sound like she has more in common with Trudeau than Singh on at least one issue.

David Thurton, "'Give me a call': Lone NDP Alberta MP open to joining Liberal cabinet - but won't cross floor." CBC, November 1, 2019.

Quote:

As Justin Trudeau searches for ways to include Alberta and Saskatchewan in his new minority government, one person he might want to phone is the NDP's newly elected Edmonton MP.  

Heather McPherson, the lone progressive Alberta MP in a blue sea of Conservatives, has a message for the Liberals, who were mostly shut out of Western Canada. The Edmonton-Strathcona MP said she's open helping the Liberal government as it attempts to fill a void after voters rejected Liberal MPs at the ballot box in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

"I think it's important that we look at how we can represent Alberta," McPherson said. "If the prime minister is interested in having somebody from Alberta that is a New Democrat, then he's always able to give me a call."

***

Unlike Singh, McPherson does not oppose the construction of the pipeline and says fossil fuels will still play a role in Canada's energy future.

"It's important to remember is that this pipeline is already there," McPherson said. "The pipeline has been approved and it's going forward, and that's great for Albertans, it's great for Albertans' jobs."

voice of the damned

Not sure I see much difference between joining the cabinet(even while still remaining a New Democrat) and crossing the floor.

Serious question...

Under the current circumstances, is it possible for a New Democrat to sit in cabinet, help the Liberal government make policy on her portfolio, but otherwise criticize the government in her role as an opposition MP?

KarlL

voice of the damned wrote:

Not sure I see much difference between joining the cabinet(even while still remaining a New Democrat) and crossing the floor.

Serious question...

Under the current circumstances, is it possible for a New Democrat to sit in cabinet, help the Liberal government make policy on her portfolio, but otherwise criticize the government in her role as an opposition MP?

 

I don't see how that would be feasible.  There is a principle of cabinet solidarity, in which decisions are seen to be made collectively and defended collectively. Additionally, lots of cabinet decisions engage more than one portfolio - almost always Finance and Treasury Board and frequently Justice as well. 

There are also other areas of collaboration between "line" departments.  Say, for example, you were Health Minister and wanted to do something on tobacco, you might have to engage Finance, Justice, Public Security (enforcement, border issues) and perhaps Agriculture and Indigenous & Northern Affairs as well.  On the process side, any regulation or legislation would engage Justice and the Privy Council Office.

It doesn't seem possible to me to serve as a critic in the House of Commons and in media of those with whom you are working on files and with whom you take collective decisions.  

I do think it would be possible to sit in Cabinet and remain an NDP member and NDP Caucus member but there would be limits to information that you could share with your NDP colleagues because of Cabinet confidence.  It would have to be more like the role of Speaker, in which you suspend your partisan side for the duration of your tenure in Cabinet.  I would presume that the government would exempt Ms. McPherson from any responsibility to defend/speak to issues outside whatever portfolio she were assigned.  But for the reasons given above, even that might be challenging given how departmental responsibilities sometimes intersect.

 

voice of the damned

My guess would be you are correct with most of that.

If so, Ms. McPherson is now basically in a position of having publically offered herself for a job which would render her unable to properly perform her current job. Seems to me that might it a little difficult for her to continue in the current job, even if JT doesn't accept her offer. 

voice of the damned

FWIW, I grew up in the east-central section of Edmonton-Strathcona, which I believe was added to the larger riding at a later date, and went to university in the more westerly section. I suspect most of the NDP voters in my old neighbourhood and thereabouts would be okay with a Liberal or near-Liberal as their MP. Not sure what the university and Old Strathcona crowd would make of it.

NDPP

Mouseland rep offers to join cats.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

robbie_dee wrote:

She says she won't cross the floor, although it does sound like she has more in common with Trudeau than Singh on at least one issue.

David Thurton, "'Give me a call': Lone NDP Alberta MP open to joining Liberal cabinet - but won't cross floor." CBC, November 1, 2019.

Quote:

As Justin Trudeau searches for ways to include Alberta and Saskatchewan in his new minority government, one person he might want to phone is the NDP's newly elected Edmonton MP.  

Heather McPherson, the lone progressive Alberta MP in a blue sea of Conservatives, has a message for the Liberals, who were mostly shut out of Western Canada. The Edmonton-Strathcona MP said she's open helping the Liberal government as it attempts to fill a void after voters rejected Liberal MPs at the ballot box in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

"I think it's important that we look at how we can represent Alberta," McPherson said. "If the prime minister is interested in having somebody from Alberta that is a New Democrat, then he's always able to give me a call."

***

Unlike Singh, McPherson does not oppose the construction of the pipeline and says fossil fuels will still play a role in Canada's energy future.

"It's important to remember is that this pipeline is already there," McPherson said. "The pipeline has been approved and it's going forward, and that's great for Albertans, it's great for Albertans' jobs."

Clearly, McPherson's choices here were the price for whatever support Notley finally did give her.  This is about Notley still not giving up on trying to force the NDP to back the damn pipeline.

KarlL

voice of the damned wrote:

My guess would be you are correct with most of that.

If so, Ms. McPherson is now basically in a position of having publically offered herself for a job which would render her unable to properly perform her current job. Seems to me that might it a little difficult for her to continue in the current job, even if JT doesn't accept her offer. 

Ms. McPherson may feel that there is a higher calling of Alberta having some representation in Cabinet (not that I think that this is going to happen).  It is not as though she could not perform constituency functions on behalf of the residents of Edmonton-Strathcona.  That part is perfectly doable while sitting in Cabinet (as all other Cabinet Ministers do so other than the Senate Leader).  The part that she would have to give up would be the more partisan role of being an opposition critic.

KarlL

Ken Burch wrote:

Clearly, McPherson's choices here were the price for whatever support Notley finally did give her.  This is about Notley still not giving up on trying to force the NDP to back the damn pipeline.

Or it's possible that she might actually support the pipeline.  It wouldn't stun me that an Alberta MP would have that view, even if that MP happens to be NDP.

robbie_dee

Ken Burch wrote:

Clearly, McPherson's choices here were the price for whatever support Notley finally did give her.  This is about Notley still not giving up on trying to force the NDP to back the damn pipeline.

Well, to be fair you could also say this is about Horgan not giving up on trying to force the federal NDP to refuse to back the damn pipeline, he was just more successful at it. It is unfortunate how effectively this one issue split the NDP. While McPherson managed to win her seat by bucking party policy my understanding is that this was an issue (albeit not the only issue) that may have cost the NDP some of its seats in Saskatchewan. It would be more the pity if the pipeline issue did end up forcing McPherson out of caucus (although I am by no means suggesting it would, she has been clear about her party allegiance notwithstanding the message "between the lines" of the story above).

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Like everywhere on the planet it is all about the oil oligarchy's wants and desires. When Jack Layton flew over the tar sands during the 2008 campaign I was okay with saying no new projects, although shut the place down was the best environmental policy. I have a confession to make, even in 2008 I believed we were in a climate emergency. It saddens me deeply you see the BC NDP and the Alberta NDP governing in the best interests of the oil and gas oligarchy and ignoring all the fine reports and visions and green deal ideas that they are supposed to be championing on behalf of the people. The tax handouts by those two governments to domestic and foreign shell companies to extract carbon could be far better used to fund a hundred different projects with better local outcomes for more residents of more places. We need sustainable economies not more boom and bust extraction cycles. I hope they put her in cabinet as a junior minister in charge of getting the pipeline built. That way we will see if her fellow NDP MP's will allow her to attend their caucus meetings. The Bloc is having a field day because it gets to be consistent in saying no to all pipelines and sends a clear message to its voters that the NDP or Greens are not the only environmentalist in parliament.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Does anybody here think it's possible that if McPherson were to be expelled from caucus, she might stand down and force a by-election, running as an independent just to cost the NDP the riding?  

Debater

Here's what Heather M has now posted on Twitter:

Let me be clear. I’m never going to sit in a Liberal Cabinet. If Liberals want to know Albertans’ priorities, standing up for Alberta is what I was elected to do. I’m proud to do that in Ottawa and at home.

With @theJagmeetSingh we’re going to deliver for all Canadians. #cdnpoli

https://twitter.com/HeatherMNow/status/1190287475039539200

robbie_dee

But she's wearing RED in her twitter profile pic. More messages between the lines hmm... ;)

Mighty Middle

On CBC Power & Politics the Globe & Mail Alberta Correspondent said Heather McPherson spent more time talking up Rachel Notley during the election, and barely mentioned Jagmeet Singh. In fact, Singh never once stepped foot in Alberta during this past election campaign. 

Sean in Ottawa

McPherson never suggested betraying the NDP. She always made it clear that her role would be part of an NDP-Liberal arrangement that would need to resolve the issues needed for a New Democrat to participate. She was merely stateing that a non Conservative was elected in Alberta and that the Liberals can work with the NDP AND include representation of Alberta at the same time.

Not sure what the fuss here is all about.

brookmere

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Not sure what the fuss here is all about.

Looks like someone made a fuss to get her to do a 180 on that cabinet position.

voice of the damned

brookmere wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Not sure what the fuss here is all about.

Looks like someone made a fuss to get her to do a 180 on that cabinet position.

Well, in fairness, the article never directly quoted her as saying she was interested in a cabinet position. The writer only paraphrased her as saying that...

When asked by CBC News, McPherson said she would be open to taking on a cabinet role.

"Yeah, I think it's important that we look at how we can represent Alberta," McPherson said. "If the prime minister is interested in having somebody from Alberta that is a New Democrat, then he's always able to give me a call."

I guess we should be charitable and assume that the writer meant "When asked by CBC News if she would be open to a cabinet position...", but it's kind of odd that he didn't clarify that.

Unionist

brookmere wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Not sure what the fuss here is all about.

Looks like someone made a fuss to get her to do a 180 on that cabinet position.

Oh, I would say personal ambition probably accomplished 179 degrees of that turn. If she is distinguishable from any other Liberal right now (and I'd require evidence of that), she won't be five minutes after entering cabinet.

Sean in Ottawa

Unionist wrote:

brookmere wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Not sure what the fuss here is all about.

Looks like someone made a fuss to get her to do a 180 on that cabinet position.

Oh, I would say personal ambition probably accomplished 179 degrees of that turn. If she is distinguishable from any other Liberal right now (and I'd require evidence of that), she won't be five minutes after entering cabinet.

Completely and utterly unfair.

All she had to do is offer to jump ship and the Liberals would have accepted her and the seat and given her a prime cabinet job.

She clearly has stated -- obviously insisted -- that the record sho that she is not interested.

You are smearing her.

She is promoting that the Liberals can solve their problem working with New Democrats whoa re staying New Democrats and that the deal would be made with the NDP leadership.

She was clear on all of this and the rest is reporting from the CBC and people here smearing an MP who is doing no more than try to increase NDP influence over the government which is their primary job right now since they were elected to make a difference.

Badriya

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Unionist wrote:

brookmere wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Not sure what the fuss here is all about.

Looks like someone made a fuss to get her to do a 180 on that cabinet position.

Oh, I would say personal ambition probably accomplished 179 degrees of that turn. If she is distinguishable from any other Liberal right now (and I'd require evidence of that), she won't be five minutes after entering cabinet.

Completely and utterly unfair.

All she had to do is offer to jump ship and the Liberals would have accepted her and the seat and given her a prime cabinet job.

She clearly has stated -- obviously insisted -- that the record sho that she is not interested.

You are smearing her.

She is promoting that the Liberals can solve their problem working with New Democrats whoa re staying New Democrats and that the deal would be made with the NDP leadership.

She was clear on all of this and the rest is reporting from the CBC and people here smearing an MP who is doing no more than try to increase NDP influence over the government which is their primary job right now since they were elected to make a difference.

Thanks for this, Sean.  

brookmere

 "If the prime minister is interested in having somebody from Alberta that is a New Democrat, then he's always able to give me a call."

That's a direct quote and I haven't seen any claim that it wasn't accurate. If anyone thinks that wasn't about a cabinet post feel free to offer another interpretation.

Sean in Ottawa

brookmere wrote:

 "If the prime minister is interested in having somebody from Alberta that is a New Democrat, then he's always able to give me a call."

That's a direct quote and I haven't seen any claim that it wasn't accurate. If anyone thinks that wasn't about a cabinet post feel free to offer another interpretation.

Emphasis added for those that seem to miss it.

Unionist

I support Svend Robinson. Not this opportunistic ambitious McPherson. Why the fuck should I need to hire an interpreter to figure out what she means by her perfectly obvious pandering to the oil monopolies and to Justin Trudeau?

Svend Robinson wrote:

Yes, Heather, let's be clear. Reality check. You were elected on the federal @NDP platform. Our leader is @theJagmeetSingh not @RachelNotley. We fight #TMX and respect UNDRIP. And where is 40% 'progressive' vote in  Alberta?

How can anyone defend this character? Unless she's new, and confused, and still amenable to being persuaded to, you know, like, support progressive causes, protect the planet?

Sean in Ottawa - give me a break.

 

voice of the damned

Svend Robinson tweeted:

And where is 40% 'progressive' vote in  Alberta?

Depends how you define "progressive vote". Is it defined by the intention of the voters? Or is it defined by which party they vote for?

For example, if I hate the Conservatives because I think they're the most right-wing party, so I vote Liberal because in my riding the Liberals have the best chance of defeating the Conservatives, is that a progressive vote? Most of us here would not consider the Liberals progressive, but I'm not sure if the voter can't be considered progressive, if his or her main reason for voting Liberal was because in his view the only alternative(in terms of outcome) was what he considered to be a right-wing dystopia.

And if you define it simply by which party ultimately received the vote, and you don't consider the Liberals progressive, then yes, the progressive vote in Alberta is much less than 40%. But by that standard(ie. the NDP and possibly the BQ are the only progressive parties of any significance), the Canadian electorate is overwhelmingly NOT progressive.

And FWIW, regardless of which ideological label you think fits best for each vote/voter/party, I think it would be pretty absurd for an MP from one party to offer to help out a government led by a rival party: the dirty little secret of politics is that if you think your party's policies are good, then you DON'T want a rival party to adopt them, at least not in a way that would allow them to take the credit.

Unionist

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

brookmere wrote:

 "If the prime minister is interested in having somebody from Alberta that is a New Democrat, then he's always able to give me a call."

That's a direct quote and I haven't seen any claim that it wasn't accurate. If anyone thinks that wasn't about a cabinet post feel free to offer another interpretation.

Emphasis added for those that seem to miss it.

It was about a cabinet post. I haven't heard another interpretation. The backlash sent her reeling a bit. But the offer was clear and unambiguous.

Unionist

voice of the damned wrote:

Svend Robinson tweeted:

And where is 40% 'progressive' vote in  Alberta?

Depends how you define "progressive vote". Is it defined by the intention of the voters? Or is it defined by which party they vote for?

For example, if I hate the Conservatives because I think they're the most right-wing party, so I vote Liberal because in my riding the Liberals have the best chance of defeating the Conservatives, is that a progressive vote? Most of us here would not consider the Liberals progressive, but I'm not sure if the voter can't be considered progressive, if his or her main reason for voting Liberal was because in his view the only alternative(in terms of outcome) was what he considered to be a right-wing dystopia.

And if you define it simply by which party ultimately received the vote, and you don't consider the Liberals progressive, then yes, the progressive vote in Alberta is much less than 40%. But by that standard(ie. the NDP and possibly the BQ are the only progressive parties of any significance), the Canadian electorate is overwhelmingly NOT progressive.

And FWIW, regardless of which ideological label you think fits best for each vote/voter/party, I think it would be pretty absurd for an MP from one party to offer to help out a government led by a rival party: the dirty little secret of politics is that if you think your party's policies are good, then you DON'T want a rival party to adopt them, at least not in a way that would allow them to take the credit.

Not really sure what Svend meant by the 40% comment. But I think his reminder to Heather McPherson was crystal clear:

Svend Robinson wrote:

We fight #TMX and respect UNDRIP.

Of course, I'm not 100% sure if any Alberta politician of any stripe opposes TMX? I stand to be enlightened.

voice of the damned

Of course, I'm not 100% sure if any Alberta politician of any stripe opposes TMX? I stand to be enlightened.

Among those who are elected? I wouldn't think so. Probably among the Greens, federally and provincially, but I don't follow them too closely.