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From the Z-Files:

Web posted on February 22, 2001

The Z-Files
To Brenda or not to Brenda, that is the question that Mike Harris and Jean Chrétien seem to ask themselves.

Two weeks ago we saw Brenda Elliott return to the Mike Harris cabinet, after a 4 year absence. Last week we saw Brenda Chamberlain leave the inner circle of the Jean Chrétien government after serving in it for so long she was the Chair of the Ontario Caucus.

Harris ousted Elliott because she was an embarrassment to him and his government (see my last article for references). Chrétien sent Mrs. Chamberlain packing because of her outspoken support of Paul Martin's behind the scenes leadership hopes.

As much as I dislike the party and government that Mrs. Chamberlain is involved with, I think that firing someone simply because of their opinions goes against everything that we, as a democratic country, believe in.

I started this article with a paraphrase from the great Shakespeare classic "Hamlet" because I think this issue about sending the Brenda's packing is akin to Hamlet's relationship with Horacio. An apparent supporter in the beginning, then, through a series of events, an enemy (bad choice of words, but it fits).

Mrs. Elliott was the critic?s best choice for Environment Minister. She appeared to be very good and competent in her abilities, marketing skills, and environmental record (owning Canada's first environmentally friendly store). She then started to do, and say, things that eventually caused Mr. Harris to remove her from his cabinet.

Then you have Mrs. Chamberlain, someone who is well-liked and respected in the constituency. She is well-known to respond to constituents' concerns in a timely manner. It's also well-known that she would prefer to see Paul Martin as the Prime Minister of Canada. She even was in the local paper last year stating this openly. A big surprise, as Mr. Chrétien had already stated he was going to stick around for the next election. A bigger surprise because she was committing political suicide. You don't bad mouth your leader while he?s still going strong. A big risk that didn't pay off.

The big difference between what happened to Hamlet is that neither Mrs. Elliott nor Mrs. Chamberlain poisoned their leader.

I was actually sorry to see Mrs. Chamberlain removed from the inner circle. I think that she was one of those who just thought speaking her mind, expressing her freedom of speech if you will, would serve her best. We'll have to see if she is as lucky as Mrs. Elliott, and is returned to the inner circle before Mr. Chrétien leaves politics (again).

Respectfully submitted by William Zebedee, community activist, small business owner
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