The recent news that Prince Albert's conservative MP Brian Fitzpatrick has decided not to run in the next federal election is the biggest news the Saskatchewan conservative caucus has made since they were elected. As I have said before, for a province that holds twelve conservative members out of fourteen constituencies in Saskatchewan, it is a quiet Saskatchewan conservative caucus. You hardly hear from them at all as Prime Minister Stephen Harper has managed to keep the muzzle on them all.
Brian Fitzpatrick was the exception and his retirement has a lot to do with the fact that he was bold enough to speak out on behalf of Saskatchewan voters on the equalization issue and other issues. Fitzpatrick also shared accommodations with the former MP Larry Spencer, who was booted out of the conservative party in a swirl of controversy with the same grace Harper afforded Garth Turner,who also dared to speak his mind. Who knows maybe Harper thought they were two peas in a pod, but remember pods are pretty popular these days. Well, at least IPods are pretty popular.
The fact is, Fitzpatrick was a very good Member of Parliament. He also has one of the best staff teams an MP could hope for. They got the job done in the constituency when Fitzpatrick was in Ottawa while Parliament was in session. I have no doubt that Prince Albert will be well served by Brian Fitzpatrick and his staff as long as he continues to serve as the Member of Parliament for Prince Albert.
Brian Fitzpatrick can dance around this one all he wants, but the reality is he had no future in the conservative party anymore than did Belinda Stronach. The fact that Fitzpatrick said that the "tug" he felt to leave politics got stronger after the opposition Liberals chose a feisty new leader of their own tells you volumes. Fitzpatrick is afraid of no one and that includes Stéphane Dion. Brian Fitzpatrick is only trying to get out from under the heavy hand of Stephen Harper with a little dignity. If Fitzpatrick is quitting because of Stéhane Dion then Dion must be one heck of a threat to scare a man like Fitzpatrick into retirement. You have to ask, how many other conservative MP’s are shaking in their boots with the election of Stéphane Dion as the new leader of the liberal party. It’s quite humerous when you think of it, but I guess the conservatives aren’t laughing.
The bottom line is that Brian Fitzpatrick has nothing to appologize for, will be hard to replace and will be missed by Parliament and those he has served. Stephen Harper is losing some solid conservative MP’s and has exchanged them for former liberals in his quest to shore up his support in BC and in central Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper must focus on BC and central Canada and not be distracted by a handful of constituencies in Saskatchewan if he wants to form a majority government.
All the best Brian in your retirement when it comes and don’t forget the pension you qualified for. Many will argue you earned it and they won’t get any argument from me.