Don Martin: Parliamentarians should heed cautionary tales of Alexander, Leitch
With one simple pledge not to seek re-election, Parliament’s two most infamous star-crossed MPs have finally completed a double-helix dive into obscurity.
Rarely were there brighter parliamentary futures than when surgeon Kellie Leitch, who announced her exit from politics this week, and diplomat Chris Alexander joined the Conservative ranks.
They were the shining lights who would carry the Conservative torch beyond the Harper era into the realm of natural governing party.
Dashing diplomat Chris Alexander ended up losing his seat in 2015 and, failing to get that message, defiantly ran for the Conservative leadership to end up with one per cent of the vote.
But the more egregious example of politically assisted dying is Kellie Leitch, who leaves politics to deliver a more valuable societal service in medicine.
Yet both share a commonality that goes beyond being the last-gasp cabinet ministers who proposed a snitch line for barbaric cultural practices to send the 2015 Harper campaign up in flames.
Their shared sin was excessive ambition, which turned them both into unrecognizable disconnects of their once credible selves.
Alexander immediately dug deep into partisan conflicts as a raging Harper sycophant, losing all traces of his once-legendary diplomatic touch to see everything as blue or bad.
Leitch did PMO genuflections with equally insincere gusto, seizing on any assignment to please her masters with feverish but usually false conviction.
That’s the essence of both and an important lesson for others. They rabidly embraced any position to get ahead. What they personally believed was a distant secondary consideration.
That manifested itself with implosive consequences when Kellie Leitch embraced a Canadian values campaign for immigrants in the mistaken belief that channeling Donald Trump xenophobia was her fast lane to victory.
In was a painfully forced policy which had fellow MPs rolling their eyes in disbelief that a Progressive Conservative would wrap herself in politics she would never have stomached five years earlier.
That’s the humbling lesson here for all parliamentarians – and there more than a few Gerald Butts-kissers in the Liberal cabinet who should be paying attention.
Be careful of taking stands for political gain over all other considerations. It always ends badly when you don’t believe in your heart what’s coming out of your mouth.
And what’s worse, you’ll look into the mirror after a squandered life in politics – and not recognize the face looking back.