Halton M.P. Garth Turner and I have been having a little feud over on his blog, the Turner Report. Things were getting heated - I called him 'disloyal' and he threw a few words like 'absurd' and 'dysfunctional' in my direction. Well, the fur was flying, and then he finally asked me to take it outside (the blog, that is). He goaded me with his phone number and even suggested I call collect.
It's easy to hide behind a computer and criticize, but to actually make a phone call and talk to the real person requires a bit more courage. I thought about it for a while, and then decided to take him up on the offer. After all, how often does an M.P. beg me to call? (Usually, I'm the one chasing them, and in the case of my own M.P., I've pretty much given up because she either ignores me or sends form letters. Thanks, Karen. I've got them all memorized. No need to bother anymore.)
Now, back to Garth. He's been characterized by the 'radical right' as we've been called, as everything from a maverick to Harper's worst nightmare. I remember Garth back when he wrote terrific financial columns for the Sun I believe, so I knew that he couldn't be a total write-off.
He answered the phone very politely and thanked me for calling. Then he proceeded to give me his perspective on life as an M.P., and his frustrations trying to deliver his constituents' ideas to the higher-ups. He explained that a public forum seemed like a reasonable alternative.
While listening to Garth explain his side of the story, I went from wanting to lynch the guy to wishing that I lived in his riding so I could vote for him! This is an M.P. who does actually care, and believe me, he wants the best for the party too. Winning the Toronto area vote is key and voters there will need to feel that they are being heard.
So if anyone out there is still upset with Garth, I suggest you give him a call. There are always two sides to every story and Garth will give you his with a candor you won't likely hear from many politicians.