Do you support Michael Chong's Reform Act? - Macleans.ca
 

Do you support Michael Chong’s Reform Act?

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* Read Paul Wells on the Reform Act here.


 
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Do you support Michael Chong’s Reform Act?

  1. More Michael Chongs in the House of Commons…and fewer Paul Calandras, please !

    • How would we ever know all the news if Calandra wouldn’t tell us?

      • ha ha ! good one.

  2. Yes. –especially if Paul Wells can do a short sequel to “The Longer…”

  3. A Member of Parliament should be slave to neither party or constituent, instead owing you his or her enlightened judgment after consulting with all points of view. That’s my take on how Edmund Burke would speak on the issue today.

    • Ergo, you support the Reform Act, as it is intended to restore a degree of autonomy to MPs that has been lost to their Party, making them slaves to their Party’s leader. It certainly does not make them slaves to their constituents.

  4. Edmund Burke, Speech to the Electors of Bristol

    3 Nov. 1774Works 1:446–48

    I am sorry I cannot conclude without saying a word on a topic touched upon by my worthy colleague. I wish that topic had been passed by at a time when I have so little leisure to discuss it. But since he has thought proper to throw it out, I owe you a clear explanation of my poor sentiments on that subject.

    He tells you that “the topic of instructions has occasioned much altercation and uneasiness in this city;” and he expresses himself (if I understand him rightly) in favour of the coercive authority of such instructions.

    Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

    My worthy colleague says, his will ought to be subservient to yours. If that be all, the thing is innocent. If government were a matter of will upon any side, yours, without question, ought to be superior. But government and legislation are matters of reason and judgment, and not of inclination; and what sort of reason is that, in which the determination precedes the discussion; in which one set of men deliberate, and another decide; and where those who form the conclusion are perhaps three hundred miles distant from those who hear the arguments?

    To deliver an opinion, is the right of all men; that of constituents is a weighty and respectable opinion, which a representative ought always to rejoice to hear; and which he ought always most seriously to consider. But authoritative instructions; mandates issued, which the member is bound blindly and implicitly to obey, to vote, and to argue for, though contrary to the clearest conviction of his judgment and conscience,–these are things utterly unknown to the laws of this land, and which arise from a fundamental mistake of the whole order and tenor of our constitution.

    Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament. If the local constituent should have an interest, or should form an hasty opinion, evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the member for that place ought to be as far, as any other, from any endeavour to give it effect. I beg pardon for saying so much on this subject. I have been unwillingly drawn into it; but I shall ever use a respectful frankness of communication with you. Your faithful friend, your devoted servant, I shall be to the end of my life: a flatterer you do not wish for.

    • Isn’t it remarkable how many self-styled “Conservatives” today utterly reject this most conservative of viewpoints? It’s almost as if they were unprincipled power-hungry charlatans who have wrapped themselves in lies to get where they are (not that our friends on the left are any better–the NDP actually claims that Partisan-proportional representation is “democratic reform”, which it would be if “demos” meant “Party”, but I’m pretty sure that’s not correct.)

      • How is proportional representation any less democratic than the current system we have?

        • Party proportional representation isn’t democratic in any way. PR empowers party at the expense of citizens, voters, the people, the demos in democracy.

          PR misses essential facts of democracy, among them that by surrendering to a mere party manifesto, the “any group of men” referenced by Burke, your representative surrenders his or her duty of exercise their enlightened judgment on our behalf.

          PR disenfranchises whole communities and regions by ensuring their vote does not count if other communities, other regions, other political, cultural, social, and linguistic minorities of belief, faith or opinion are suppressed if majorities elsewhere, outside of their community, are large enough to silence them; PR is a gift to discord, to repression, to separatism of those so-aggrieved and denied their democratic rights by party proportional representation.

          These are issues never addressed or simply dismissed as unimportant by those who benefit most from PR, the movement, the intolerant, the political party looking inward only.

  5. I like the spirit of this bill but it is wholly unworkable. If the ridings have defacto power over their candidate nomination process it renders the Party helpless against poor candidates. What if someone with a criminal history wants to run, can the Party not say no? What if there is a huge shortage of females wanting to run for a party, can the party not appoint women to certain ridings? What if there isn’t enough diversity? What if unions swamp a conservative nomination race (as they did against Rob Anders in Calgary and went to the Supreme Court), would Harper have to have a Harper-basher on his team for an entire campaign??

    The media loves this bill because it will create more drama for them to cover on the front page. But it doesn’t equal better governance, just more conflict.

    • “What if someone with a criminal history wants to run, can the Party not
      say no? What if there is a huge shortage of females wanting to run for a
      party, can the party not appoint women to certain ridings? What if
      there isn’t enough diversity?”

      Why would any of these things be more important than the right of a local riding association (the most accessible and malleable level, vis-a-vis the constituents) to decide who will best represent the constituents of its riding? This is supposed to be a democracy, but you’re worried about the party, HQ’d in Ottawa or lord knows where, not being able to dictate who runs in each riding? Is this a troll?

    • Seriously? You think it’s unions that swamped the *Calgary* West riding? That’s why half the riding association *executive* quit when word came down that Anders was the anointed one?

  6. The Reform Bill eh.

    For those of us schooled in British history the Reform Bills that immediately spring to mind are the bills that became acts in1832, 1867 and 1884-1885.

    According to the preambles to the1832 and subsequent bills the intent was to “take effective measures for correcting divers abuses that have long prevailed in the choice of members to serve in the House of Commons”

    Among the many reforms was the outlawing of the practice of parliamentary candidates being chosen by committees controlled by the local nobility and gentry.

    These were the so-called “pocket” boroughs in which nominating committees were “in the pocket” of a wealthy patron or patrons.

    Today the role previously played by the local nobility and gentry has been taken over by our political lords and masters who rig nominating committees to be “in the pocket” of the national parties.

    I would love to see an end to our modern day “pocket” constituencies but I’m not holding out much hope that this will happen.

    Good luck Michael with your bill.

  7. We are supposed to have a democracy NOT an elected dictatorship.

  8. Weasel way to frame the poll! How about: No- it is weak, doesn’t address the real problem, and takes power away from members.

  9. I can’t help but think of what Catherine the Great wrote to one of the French Philosophers: (I’m paraphrasing) You write on paper which is less sensitive than skin, which is what I write on.

    It isn’t only about the interaction between governed & government (which is different than between ruled & ruler), but what each of us does with our time.

    It will be interesting to see what letters show up in the December 16 National Post, because of the topic chosen by the Letters editor.