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BC Politics

Please Advise! What Is Elenore Sturko Thinking?

Dr. Steve isn’t a mind reader, but he has some ideas about the party-jumping MLA.

Steve Burgess 12 Jun 2024The Tyee

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Read his previous articles.

[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

I’m confused. Surrey MLA Elenore Sturko is a lesbian who has been outspoken in her support of LGBTQ+ rights. But last week she defected from BC United to the Conservative Party of BC led by John Rustad. This came shortly after a B.C. Conservative candidate dropped out following the revelation of social media messages referring to homosexuals as “degenerates.” Rustad himself used his first legislature speech as party leader to attack SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) school programs, seeming to compare them to the harm done by the residential school system.

How does Sturko justify this move?


Proud Surrey Voter

Dear PSV,

There’s a word for what Sturko did. The word is politics. Expediency is another good word — those two go together like bagels and lox, or beans and flatulence. Politics and principles, on the other hand, mix like houseflies and swatters.

Political expediency is not always a bad thing. Expediency goes hand in hand with accommodation. You win some, you lose some; you don’t lead an armed mob to the Capitol building. That’s why Dr. Steve has little patience with those on the left who persist in attacking outlaw Republicans like Liz Cheney over policy differences.

Yes, the differences are significant. But when you are facing a threat to democracy itself, you link arms with people on the other side who understand that preserving the system and the Constitution takes precedence. You can’t win legislative policy battles after they burn down Parliament.

There are other forms of expediency, however. There’s deal-making expediency, and there’s Marco Rubio expediency; J.D. Vance expediency. This is more properly termed “grovelling,” “toadying,” “craven, lickspittle abasement,” “selling one’s soul to a demented, felonious, foul-smelling fuck-up in hopes of gaining some tawdry terrestrial profit before one’s eternal banishment to the shrieking realms of exquisite torment.”

That’s different.

Which one is Sturko practising? I expect the Surrey South MLA believes she is being pragmatic. There is in politics an understandable belief that one cannot do good without first gaining victory. And the polls are indicating the B.C. Conservatives are the best vehicle for a cruise to power.

And although Dr. Steve does not know the inner workings of Sturko’s mind, he can take an educated guess at her thoughts. She is betting that the sudden mainstream prominence of the provincial Conservatives must surely lead to moderation. Seeing a realistic shot at government, they will clean up their act, put away the tiki torches and “F*** Trudeau” flags and become reasonable grown-ups.

Many a marriage, personal and political, has been based on this belief. “Yes, I saw his picture under the headline ‘Dating-Site Devil Dupes Dozens,’ and yes, he asked to borrow the car to go buy milk and then sold it for a handful of crypto magic beans, and yes, the police recently asked when I began selling automatic weapons from my garage. But I can change him!”

Republicans did this with Trump. They thought they could control him. Now they have been reduced to an army of grubby orcs, marching under the Eye of Sauron. There have been other notable examples of the “We can tame him” strategy — it goes back a long way, and it’s not a happy history. You think you’re the dog, but you’re just the tail. And you end up being the gatekeeper for a whole lot of ugly shit.

When you join a new marching band, it’s a good idea to check the flag first.  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics, BC Politics

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