Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
OPINION Ugly politics
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 23 Aug 2006, p. 6

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No matter how you feel about Garth Turner, the recent attempt-- by a faction of Conservative party members who oppose same-sex marriage-- to oust the outspoken Halton MP exposes a disturbingly ugly side of Canadian politics. Like an episode of Survivor, some party members Turner described as members of the "righteous right" were apparently prepared to cut him loose despite the fact he had delivered the Conservative Party of Canada a much-needed seat in Ottawa last January. Last week came news from Turner that a move was afoot to challenge his party's candidacy for the local riding next month. Fortunately for him, the leading candidate to oppose him has since publicly stated that there isn't enough time to mount a successful challenge. Exactly seven months ago today Turner helped the Conservatives defeat Liberal incumbent Gary Carr in a tight race. It's indeed possible that Turner's name recognition and past experience in Ottawa was the determining factor in his nomination by the riding association in 2005. So what has changed? Turner suspects that his stance on the current law regarding same-sex marriage is at the core of the attempted overthrow from within his own party. Prior to last January's election, he publicly stated his support of a traditional definition of marriage, adding that he could not see overturning the recent legalization of same-sex marriage without "a very good reason." Harper's pre-election promise to overturn same-sex marriage by putting it to another vote may explain why Turner is suddenly considered expendable by those who most want to put an end to same-sex marriage. Turner's position on same-sex marriage is likely not the only thing that's been eating away at some party faithful as he's created controversy for his party by opposing Harper's ban of the media from military funeral services for Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and, more recently, criticized the use of taxpayers' money to rescue dual-citizenship Canadians from Lebanon. He has been consistent in speaking his mind-- even when it goes against the party line. Still, Turner was the Tories' candidate of choice and received 44 per cent support from riding voters. Although the MP accurately predicted his approach would, at times, not be popular within his own party, it's unlikely even he could have seen a challenge coming so soon.

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23 Aug 2006
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Turner, Garth
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OPINION Ugly politics