I am resigning to spend more time with my kleenex

David Emerson decides it’s time to stop and smell the, er, well…

It was a persistent nosebleed – which struck during the Beijing Olympics and lasted nearly two weeks – that helped David Emerson make up his mind to quit federal politics, the departing Conservative Foreign Minister says.

“It made me realize that all of this travel and the stresses of the job were starting to take a toll,” the 63-year-old Vancouver-Kingsway MP said in an interview yesterday.

He said the affliction was caused by weakened capillaries in his nose – likely aggravated by arid conditions on flights or the August air in Beijing – rather than by high blood pressure, which tests have ruled out.

Really? You’re the foreign minister. You’re leaving politics because of a nosebleed?

Mr. Emerson, who endured heavy criticism in February, 2006, for defecting to the Harper Conservatives after winning election as a Liberal, said he informed the Prime Minister only last weekend of his decision to retire.

It’s unlikely Mr. Emerson would have won in Vancouver-Kingsway had he decided to run there…

And then this glimpse into the mindset of a Canadian politician, circa 2008:

Mr. Emerson, first elected as a Liberal with Paul Martin’s minority government in June, 2004, said he still has no regrets about crossing the floor – a move that sparked nasty protests in his riding.

He said his commitment was to Mr. Martin and this ended in January, 2006, when the defeated Liberal chief announced he was quitting as leader.

“I told Paul that if he stayed on as Leader that I would stay on [with the Liberals] and we’d have some fun in opposition,” he said.

“We’d have some fun.” He would have spent his days, that is, loudly trashing the government he now defends, with as much venom as he did before he joined it. He doesn’t actually mean a word of any of it, you understand — these things he says to the voters — the enraged attacks, the pious defenses, the solemn promises and the heartfelt invocations. It’s all just “fun.”

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