Sunday, May 22, 2005

Stronach's Short Attention Span: Keeping Her Face in the Media

Belinda Stronach, the MP for Newmarket-Aurora who recently changed party allegiances from the Conservatives to the Liberals, has either a short attention span or is merely in it to keep her face in the media.

It all came to light when she was trying to become the federal Conservatives' first leader after the merger of the Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties. However, she realized, after the failed bid, that her leadership aspirations would have to be put on hold and her interests would have go some where else.

But let’s back ourselves up a bit before Belinda's political career got of the ground. Let’s start with her role at Magna International. Her daddy, Frank Stronach, barely gave her control over Aurora's Magna Autoparts. She bragged that she had risen Magna's profile and earnings. She became one of Canada's most influential businesswomen. Then she moved towards raising money for the new expansion of Newmarket's Southlake Regional Health Centre's expansion honourary fundraising chairperson. Her time at the top of Magna? About 5 years. Southlake Honourary Chairperson fundraising? 2-3 years maximum.

The hospital's fundraising campaign was barely rapped up when she got the political bite and got the Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties to merge under her mediation. Then the rest is history, she tries and places second to Stephen Harper for the new Conservative Party's leadership. Next, she gets elected by the constituents of the Newmarket-Aurora riding. After being elected, Belinda receives the International Trade critic's portfolio and then, just before the budget vote last Thursday, hops to a new challenge as Human Resources Minister and becomes a Liberal.

However, she was happy when Harper gave her the "International Trade" critic's portfolio in Harper's "shadow cabinet". But she obviously realized that the idea of a "shadow cabinet" really didn't mean much except to guarantee her speaking time. Thus, around a year later she snuck into 24 Sussex Drive to have dinner with Paul Martin over a deal to help her join the Liberals and gain some power in the cabinet. Martin, who's government was hanging by a thread, tripped over himself in order to get Stronach's vote onside in order to maintain power as well.

So there we are, all up to date. It seems Belinda Stronach's attention span has shortened or her need to be in the media spotlight has taken hold. How is this so? Consider that Stronach was at Magna for maybe 5 years, got the political bug then time between jobs shortened even more as her interests seem to have changed more quickly. Of course with every new job change (e.g. political party mediator, Conservative leadership candidate, MP, International trade critic, Human Resources Minister, etc.) there is a press conference where Belinda's smiling face shows up.

The question is, how long will Stronach be in this new job before she seeks even more press coverage and/or seeks something more interesting?

Watch out Paul Martin, Stronach might be gunning for the leadership of the Liberals over the next six months as her attention continues to shift from one thing to another. Or then again, maybe she might have had her fill of politics and go ask father, Frank Stronach, to let her have a chance in the horse racing industry. In which case the voters, after being screwed by Belinda not once (switching from Conservatives to Liberals) as well as a by-election in order to replace her, but twice after a by-election is held. This will only tarnish the once trustworthy Stronach name.

Bright Stronach name? Frank Stronach brought huge economic investment to Aurora in the late nineties when he decided the Town of Aurora should be home to the new Magna World headquarters and associated Research and Development, executive housing, golf course and much more. This development, on top of Stronach's existing horse farm, has been a kickstart to commercial and industrial development in the already burgeoning Aurora area. Magna and the Stronachs have been major supporters of quite a few local amateur sports teams by sponsoring both events and teams. Also, Magna provides soccer fields for free to the Aurora Youth Soccer Club and also uses this space to host the annual Magna Hoedown which supports local charitable organizations. Add to this the Southlake Regional Health Centre's fundraising campaign, the Stronach name has been pretty shined up in the Newmarket-Aurora area.

However, all this may change if Belinda decides to quit politics because of her seemingly changing interests. Then the Newmarket-Aurora area may become distrustful towards the Stronach name. Only time and Belinda will tell what the state of the Stronach name will be in the future. It all depends on Belinda's need for more press coverage or her attention span on looking for something new and interesting to do.

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