Why One Liberal MP Joined Andrew Scheer's Ranks - 2019-03-28
On September 17, 2018, Parliament's first day back from summer break, Leona Alleslev, the Liberal MP from Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill, rose in the House of Commons to announce her defection from the governing Liberal Party of Canada. "The government must be challenged openly and publicly. But for me to publicly criticize the government as a Liberal would undermine the government and, according to my code of conduct, be dishonourable," she said. "After careful and deliberate consideration, I must withdraw from the government benches to take my seat among the ranks of my Conservative colleagues."
New to politics when she was first elected in 2015, Alleslev is a hard-nosed and plain-spoken air force veteran. Before her dramatic exit, her time in office had been somewhat unexceptional, save for her early career appointment as parliamentary secretary to public-services and procurement minister Judy Foote—a notable promotion for a rookie MP. Still, she was, until she switched sides, little known outside of political and military circles.
The media immediately scoured her social media for signs of dissent but turned up nothing—no instances of serious disagreement with the party, no off-the-cuff clashes with Liberal colleagues, no pretension of sticking it to the man for the sake of her constituents. Rather, by all appearances, Alleslev had fallen in line with the party. Throughout her tenure, she offered reassurances that team Trudeau was on the right track. In July, two months before switching sides, she fawned over the prime minister, foreign-affairs minister Chrystia Freeland, and defence minister Harjit Sajjan in a private email, calling them "truly awesome." Nine days later, she praised Trudeau's leadership at a fundraising event.