Caveat lector: I do not know Leona Alleslev but her father, the late Major General (ret’d) Ian Alleslev was a sometimes boss, frequent mentor and even a friend, although he was always considerably senior in rank to me.
In what Mark Bonokoski, in the Toronto Sun, calls a bombshell, Leona Alleslev, Member of Parliament for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, a Toronto area riding, has crossed the floor to sit as a Conservative.
CBC News reports that she said in a speech in the House of Commons announcing her move that ““My attempts to raise my concerns with this government were met with silence … [and] … It’s my duty to stand and be counted. Our country is at risk. The government must be challenged openly and publicly.””
“To my Liberal colleagues,” she added “thank you. But my oath is to country, not party and my sacred obligation is to serve my constituents.”
Ms Alleslev is a graduate of the Royal Military College and served in the Canadian Forces ~ I never served with her, or, as far as I can recall, even met her ~ and was, later, employed by different defence contractors. She probably has some reasonably current knowledge about the nuts, guts and feathers of military procurement. She has not, as far as I have read, said what, specifically, forced her to leave the Liberal ranks although she did cite both economic and foreign policy concerns.
Social media is already awash with Liberals demanding that she resign her seat so the there can be a by-election … something they never said when e.g. Belinda Stronach crossed the floor in the other direction. In fact floor crossing is an old and even honourable tradition, especially when it is done for a principled reason, and while some people believe that a floor crosser should sit, for a while, at least, as an independent member, the custom is that members may cross the floor to another party and even serve, immediately, as ministers … as both Ms Stronach, in 2005, and David Emerson, just a year later, did.
I believe that Ms Alleslev did make a principled decision … her speech rang true, to me. She had policy concerns, the Liberal Party did not or could not reassure her, she could not, as a Liberal, criticize the party in public and she says she believes that the Conservatives have a good grasp of the problems and offer good solutions. If, as we should, unless given cause not to, we accept her words at face value then her decision to cross the floor and join the CPC is right and proper.