Has the Conservative Party lost its way?

Opposition leaders grill PM Stephen Harper over what he knew of his office's involvement in the Senate spending scandal

Alberta MP Brent Rathgeber quit the Conservative caucus Wednesday night, saying that his party is no longer true to its roots.

"I thought we were somehow different, a band of Ottawa outsiders riding into town to clean the place up, promoting open government and accountability." Rathgeber wrote in a blog entry Thursday morning. "I barely recognize ourselves, and worse I fear that we have morphed into what we once mocked."

According to the Globe and Mail, Rathgeber had proposed a private member's bill that would disclose the salaries of bureaucrats making more than about $188,000 a year. A Conservative-dominated committee changed the bill, raising the bar to $444,000, which would have excluded all but a handful of public servants.

That's when Rathgeber resigned.

"I can only compromise so much before I begin to not recognize myself. I no longer recognize much of the party that I joined and whose principles (at least on paper), I still believe in," he wrote.

Rathgeber will now sit as an independent in the House of Commons.

It's strikingly similar to a Maclean's piece that ran last week, in which Stephen Harper of 2005 was shocked at his transition into Stephen Harper of 2013: "It sounds like we’ve strayed from the values we promoted before we were elected. Accountability. Integrity. Fiscal prudence."

So, what do you think? Has Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party lost its way?

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