Belinda Stronach, the Member of Parliament for Newmarket-Aurora is hanging up her Parliamentary ID card and going back to the family business. The family business, Magna International is quite possibly going to buy all of Chrysler from Daimler, so the business is going to be busy and as a former CEO of Magna, she’s needed back to live over the store, so to speak.
Stronach’s political arc has been interesting. Originally a member of the neo-con Canadian Reform Alliance Party under Preston Manning, she ran for office and was elected as a Conservative federal MP for Newmarket-Aurora, a suburb of Toronto.
About a year later, the Liberals under Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Martin, got her to change party affiliation and cross the floor. In exchange for selling her political convictions, she was made Minister for Human Resources and Skills Development, then minister responsible for Democratic Renewal.
Unfortunately for Belinda Stronach, the Liberals were tossed out of government in 2006 and Stronach became a regular MP. There was a change of focus from wielding insane amounts of power and authority as a Cabinet minister, to the mundane committee and constituency office plodding that faces the other 280 or so regular members of parliament who are not in cabinet. All reports indicated she was a fair to good Minister and a fair to good MP. Competent and skilled, but nothing stellar or cellar, which is fine.
Where things got stupid was in the media coverage of Stronach. I wrote in a previous article that if Belinda had been a man, the crossing the floor furore would have been consigned to a Page 23, below the fold five-line story. But no, Belinda Stronach is a woman, therefore subject to all kinds of bullshite scrutiny.
She changed her hair color a couple of times and it was front-page news across the country, as well as her wardrobe choices. Then there were the boyfriend things. One liaison was with a fellow Conservative, Peter MacKay. When Stronach crossed the floor, she kicked MacKay out to the curb on blue box day and in a moment of candor, MacKay remarked that he was upset and hurt by it.
Later, there were whispered suspicions that she was involved with a married hockey player, Tie Domi and was the ‘other woman’ in his marital woes. True or not, who cares, but the media was all over it like a dope smoker on a bag of Doritos.
I actually found her a touch refreshing, as she is intelligent and has serious business acumen, as well as being easy on the eyes. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being good looking.
The part that I liked most of all, was the disquiet she brought out in the media as a bunch of sexist boors in the Old Boys Press Club. Here was an accomplished person, in the prime of life, in the public eye, who was not staying at home on Friday nights working on needlepoint anti-macassars. If the boys can go out and chase some, why can’t the girls? This bothered the media to no end.
With a very good potential that Magna will bid for Chrysler and quite possibly win, she can now go from back-bench opposition MP, to head of one of the Big Three car makers.
Paper-pushing vote drone, or Captain of Industry? The phrase ‘tough call’ does not come to mind.