For Belinda it wasn't just ambition

 For Belinda it wasn’t just ambition

I believe that Harper is partly responsible for the immense failure
that was the last budget vote. No one can deny Belinda’s ambition but
Harper made a strategic political mistake that was a major factor in
Belinda’s decision.

From the Globe and Mail.

That coalition was
one of the reasons Ms. Stronach cited for her departure. But those
close to her also say that Mr. Harper’s treatment of her played a
larger role.

Ms. Stronach, and the many followers who helped her to a second-place
showing at the party’s leadership convention last year, felt frozen out
of decision-making. It is a complaint that many others in the party,
including some Ontario Tories, also express.
“This is all of his making. He, from the outset, treated her with
absolute disdain,” said a friend of Ms. Stronach. “Keep your friends
close and your enemies closer. And it wasn’t just her: It was everybody
around her.”

Some Tories note that the most successful Conservative leader in the
recent past, Brian Mulroney, made a religion out of keeping his MPs
happy. Former prime minister Jean Chr├ętien also managed, at some cost,
to keep Paul Martin in his cabinet for a decade despite the enmity
between the two camps.

One Tory said Mr. Harper was probably right about Ms. Stronach’s
ambitions. But he failed to cajole her enough to keep her happy.
“He doesn’t even try to jolly her along and make her feel important,
because he ultimately sees she’s not going to be with him any way.”

  1. #1 by Darryl on May 20, 2005 - 6:04 pm

    I don’t know if this lets Belinda off the hook, but a relational breakdown is always two-sided. I think you’re right – Harper is at least partly responsible for that breakdown.

  2. #2 by Darryl on May 20, 2005 - 7:10 pm

    This also breaks down with Chretien and Martin, who were on bad terms for years. Martin still didn’t bolt. I know it’s different but there are other options besides defecting. (Never thought I’d be using Martin’s fight with Chretien as an example of the high road!)

    We don’t know the inside story, but I suspect Harper was in a difficult spot. He has to keep a tight reign on his social conservatives, and to be fair he probably has to ask his more progressive members to stay disciplined too. If he let Stronach run wild, he would be accused of having no control. He’s gone the other way, and is being accused of being too controlling.

    I’ll look foward to those memoirs.

    (I still think you should give credence to the theory that sitting beside Stockwell Day finally got to her.)

  3. #3 by Leighton Tebay on May 20, 2005 - 8:14 pm


    Chretien never froze Martin out of all major decisions nor did he ever say he was never going to lead the party. I’m not trying to justify anything Belinda did. I am trying to point out that there are serious weaknesses in Harper’s political leadership.

  4. #4 by Darryl on May 21, 2005 - 4:38 am

    LT, you’re trying to tell me things got dirtier with Harper and Stronach than they did with Chretien and Martin? I think that’s a skewed version of history (read Kinsella today to see the animosity!)

    I do agree that there are serious weaknesses in Harper’s political leadership.

  5. #5 by Leighton Tebay on May 21, 2005 - 7:30 am


    I think there was a lot of animosity but Chretien was smart enough to recognize you need to let politicians be politicians. For the sake of the party you don’t let your insecurities get the best of you. Mulroney understood this even though he bussed in delegates to take out Joe Clark.

    In short I’m not saying one situation was dirtier than the other, just that guys like Chretien and Mulroney handled themselves better Harper.

  6. #6 by Darryl on April 11, 2007 - 4:13 pm

    Can’t wait for you to post on today’s news that Belinda is leaving politics!

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