His is a cautionary tale.
Two years ago, Bill Casey objected to his government’s budget—something to do with an obscure agreement with some obscure East Coast province or another. He voted against that budget in the House of Commons and was subsequently told to go sit on the other side of the House where his poor example would be less likely to influence the sorts of impressionable government backbenchers who might be tempted by the notion of free will.
Stubborn to the end, Casey ran for reelection this past fall. So shamed by their duly elected representative’s refusal to put Parliamentary tradition and partisan allegiance ahead of personal conviction, the people of Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley publicly admonished the partyless Casey with 5,000 more votes than he’d received as a Conservative in 2006. And so scolded, Casey quickly announced he would soon retire from federal politics, resigned to returning to his obscure East Coast province to live out his life as a mere folk hero. Or possibly run for premier.
For sure, the Newfoundland Four—Siobhan Coady, Scott Andrews, Judy Foote and Scott Simms; three of them rookies, the other just very short—may be full of righteous indignation now. They may think they are doing what they should.
But, rest assured, the good people of this country take their three-line whip votes and caucus loyalty very seriously. And no attempt to undermine the historical foundations of our democracy goes unnoticed.