In interview with Tom Cark, Bruce Hyer says he is enjoying independence, he’ll never go back to a party that whips votes and he has sympathizers.
Well, I certainly do know Tom that since I decided to become an Independent not only can I say what I want, think what I want, vote the way I want, but I’m finding myself already more effective. I’ve got more questions in Question Period. I’ve got more statements. I get to give more speeches. I get to be my own person and more importantly, I get to stand up for my constituents as well as my conscience …
You know it’s quite interesting Tom that many of the caucus members, I’m not going to identify them individually, but well over a third of the caucus members have expressed considerable sympathy for why I did it and kind of agree with me. And interestingly, many of those are the young Quebecois MP’s who believe more in democracy than they do in party discipline.
Without names or corroborating evidence, it’s difficult to know what to make of Mr. Hyer’s claim of support. Quebec, though, would seem to demonstrate how the party system and the focus we place on the party leader serve to get candidates elected. To look at it one way: Of the 1.6 million Quebeckers who voted for the NDP in the last election, how many would’ve voted for the New Democrat candidate if that candidate had been running for a different party?
Of course, Quebec in the 2011 election is an extreme example. But the general idea still holds. Our elections are contests of potential prime ministers and their parties. Is that because voters want it to be so or because they see it to be so in Ottawa? Do voters want party and leader to be what matters or do they simply understand our politics that way because of how subservient the average MP is? Which came first: the system or the public’s understanding of the system?
As for Mr. Hyer’s claim to be more active, I count 12 interventions in his first three weeks of independence versus three interventions in his last three weeks as an NDP MP. Perhaps he’s adopting Elizabeth May’s approach to the House.