Harper or me: Dion tells Liberal
|Liberal MP and advisor to the Conservative
PMO Wajid Khan.
[PoliticsWatch updated 4:45 p.m. January 4, 2006]
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said Thursday he will no longer allow a
Liberal MP to continue his role working as a special advisor on the
Middle East and Afghanistan for the Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"You cannot have a foot in the government and a foot in the
opposition," Dion told reporters at a press conference in
"You need to choose. I hope he will stay with us."
Liberal MP Wajid Khan created some controversy in his party's
caucus over the summer when he agreed to work as a special advisor
to the prime minister.
Some Liberal MPs publicly criticized Interim Liberal Leader Bill
Graham's decision to allow the Toronto-area MP to essentially
work in both parties.
At the time, Liberal MP Maria Minna wrote a letter to all
caucus members describing Khan's selection as "sick"
"We cannot have the special advisor to a Conservative Prime Minister sitting in the room as members of the national Liberal caucus debate contentious issues,"
"How can I express myself on Lebanon when somebody preparing a report for Stephen Harper is listening in on what I have to say?"
Khan, a former pilot in the Pakistan air force, later gave up his
associate critic post and announced he would not be attending caucus
Dion said Thursday he would not have allowed Khan to accept the post
as Graham did during the summer.
"I think it was not a very wise move to do that," he said.
"It's unclear. Are you in the government? Are you in the opposition?
You may collaborate with the government, but you are not part of the team of the government."
Interest in Khan peaked on Thursday after he would not categorically
deny questions from the Toronto Star about whether he was crossing
the floor to join the Tory caucus.
"I will not comment on speculations and rumours," Khan told the
Gaining one MP would change the political dynamic in the minority
Parliament where the government theoretically could need 154 votes
to pass legislation.
Currently, the Tories with 124 seats would need the support of the
NDP with its 29 seats and one of two independents to survive a
If a Liberal were to join the Tories then the government could
survive simply by having an alliance with the NDP.
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