In a move that took both their former colleagues and their former-former colleagues by surprise, two MPs have left the so-called "Group of Eight" already dissenting Canadian Alliance MPs.
Jim Gouk, member for Kootenay-Boundary-Okanagan, and Dr. Jim Pankiw, member for Saskatoon-Humboldt, held a press conference Monday to announce their departure from the "Chuck Strahl Eight."
"Basically, we're sick and tired of Stockwell Day, but at the same time, we're also sick and tired of those other two [MPs Chuck Strahl and Art Hanger] getting all the attention," explained Gouk.
Dr. Pankiw concurred.
"To properly address our concerns--as well as the concerns of thousands of other men named Jim--we are forming the Jim Alliance party."
Gouk and Pankiw expressed their frustration over the treatment of men named Jim, both in and out of the commons.
"Just because our name is perceived as being generic, people tend to assume that we are also generic and unimportant," one of them said. "The media often won't even differentiate us at all. In all the stories on Day's leadership problems, they mentioned our name only once."
The Jim Alliance, currently being registered with Elections Canada as a federal party, is calling on eponymous MPs--three named Jim and three named James--to join.
Chuck Strahl, de facto leader of the six rebel Alliance members, was ambivalent about the formation of the Jim Alliance.
"As much as I am saddened by Jim [Pankiw] and Jim [Gouk]'s decisions to leave the rebel Alliance, I think that the new Jim Alliance could have some positive effects," said Strahl. "For example, there are still four holdout Jims in the Stockwell Alliance, and if they join the Jim Alliance, they could help discredit Day's leadership. Even better, there are two Jims in the Liberal party. Any day where the Liberals lose seats is a great day as far as I'm concerned," added Strahl.
Reaction was slow in coming from the Canadian Alliance, who seemed pre-occupied with the so-called "rebel Alliance." However, Stockwell Day voiced his concerns in a press conference on Tuesday.
"Damn it Jim, I'm a minister, not a miracle worker," exclaimed a visibly frustrated Day. "The right is already splintered enough without another party faction."
Day personally chastised Jim [Gouk or Pankiw--he did not specify].
"If you think it's tough being named Jim, you should try having a name like Stockwell Day. Not a day goes by when the press doesn't have some play on my name like "Day takes Stock" in a headline. Do you have any idea how irritating that is?"