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Party, leader and person


 

The NDP deems Lise St. Denis’ defection an insult to democracy and challenges her to a duel by-election. Ian Capstick, while taking no issue with the general notion of floor-crossing, takes issue with Ms. St. Denis’ explanation.

I can see how a newly unexpectedly elected NDP MP could have rapidly evolving points of view and even how they might want to jump ship. But that’s not what you said today. No, instead:  “Les électeurs ont voté pour Jack Layton. Jack Layton est mort.” 

If that’s truly what you believe, then you shouldn’t sit in the House as anything other than an NDP MP or an independent – to do otherwise is illogical and worse, deeply offensive.


 

Party, leader and person

  1. I’m not sure Mr C is anymore logical either. What she said is quite logical and refreshingly honest – Jack’s gone – why am i still here?
     Surely one of two Tory mps got their seat courtesy of SH? I can recall liberal nobodies who simply rode on the coattails of Trudeau. I don’t know if either of those two events should automatically rule out a change of heart by an mp; as Rae said it’s not as if she jumped onto an escalator that’s going up right now.

    • But the logic for a person who openly rode a man and party’s coattails to then feel they are legitimate in leaving said party and still serve as an MP is simply baffling.

      If she truly felt she did none of the work or reasoning in getting herself elected, she should step down and prove her own worth in said role – to be morally and ethically consistent. That is the crux of the Capstick argument – St. Dennis’ reasoning and her actions diverge considerably, even if that is what our system allows.

      If she believes the voters elected her-in-leu-of-Jack, then St. Dennis should prove that she should serve free of such influence.

      • She didn’t say she rode the parties coattails – she said it was Jack.

        “If she truly felt she did none of the work or reasoning in getting herself elected, she should step down and prove her own worth in said role – to be morally and ethically consistent.”

        But this is just about the case for most of the ndp’s young Quebec caucus, isn’t it? Should they all step down?

        “I think Rae had the best line, one that’s pretty hard to refute really. Still, it’s a pity these things happen, maybe we should have a law against it, maybe not. I was certainly pissed when Emerson betrayed his Vancouver riding.”

        But i did post this on the other blog, so i’m certainly ambivalent about floor crossings.

    • What she said is quite logical and refreshingly honest – Jack’s gone – why am i still here?

      Isn’t that the point though?  She’s not still “here”, she’s over THERE now.  If her reasoning is “the voters of my riding didn’t vote for me, they voted for the leader of party X” how exactly does that lead her to “…and so, that’s why I’m moving to Party Y”???

      If you truly believe that your constituents only supported you in the election because they liked the leader of the NDP, how is that possibly an argument in favour of moving to the Liberals???  That the voters in your riding voted for the national ticket and not the local one is an argument in favour of sticking with the national party, is it not?

      I don’t have a problem with floor crossing, but her RATIONALE is ludicrous. 

      You’re right that “Surely one or two Tory mps got their seat courtesy of SH”, sure.  And it would be equally ridiculous for one of THOSE MPS to publicly say “I know that the voters in my riding only voted for me because of Stephen Harper, and that’s why I’m abandoning the party that Stephen Harper built”.

      • I agree with your post, LKO.  I find the selective partisan outrage around floor-crossing to be generally vapid and tedious to witness.  Of course her rationale is ludicrous and falls to pieces on logical analysis.

        But I think part of it is that lots of people don’t tell the whole story or the whole truth (or the truth at all) when they are “exit interviewed”.  I’ve certainly noticed that in the workplace . . .

      • “Isn’t that the point though?  She’s not still “here”, she’s over THERE now.  If her reasoning is “the voters of my riding didn’t vote for me, they voted for the leader of party X” how exactly does that lead her to “…and so, that’s why I’m moving to Party Y”???”

        I think your missing the point, if what she said is true. She felt they voted for Jack the man, not the party necessarily. Ergo he being deceased she no longer feels bound to the party. It’s a bit weak as a rationale for moving to the liberals admittedly. But she did sorta flesh out her reason for going to them rather then sitting as an independent. I don’t find her rationale ludicrous; i doubt if it is entirely honest though. But all we know at the moment is that she sought the libs out, not the other way round…although that excuse is probably standard issue in politics. 

         “I know that the voters in my riding only voted for me because of Stephen Harper, and that’s why I’m abandoning the party that Stephen Harper built”.

        Well, yes, but SH isn’t dead – well not in that way anyway.

        • Well, yes, but SH isn’t dead
          Sure, but Jack being dead just makes the whole thing worse imho.  The universe has conspired to deprive these people of the person they voted for, and now St. Denis has added insult to injury by depriving them of the Party they voted for.

          If, as St Denis herself claims, the people of her riding really wanted Jack Layton, how does Jack Layton’s death justify St. Denis transforming their MP into someone LESS LIKE JACK LAYTON than before?

          If you went to the store to get chocolate ice cream and all they had was vanilla pudding you’d be disappointed, but still, yummy dessert!  Now, how would you feel if during the car ride home your MP magically transformed the vanilla pudding in your grocery bag into plain yogourt???

  2. What part of her comments is deeply offensive?

    • That’s an overly hyperbolic way of putting it, to be sure, but I think I’d be offended if I voted for a person just because they were member of Jack Layton’s Party; said MP then openly acknowledged that she thinks pretty much EVERYONE voted for her just because she was a member of Jack Layton’s party; and then she went on to announce that, that being the case, now that Jack’s dead she sees no reason not to abandon his party.

      The whole reason that floor-crossing is logically and democratically defensible is the notion that voters elect representatives, and don’t vote based on the national ticket.  At the very least it’s odd to acknowledge that the voters in your riding voted for the national campaign and not you, right before you abandon the party that ran that national campaign.  Usually, floor-crossers defend their move by arguing that the voters elected them, not a party, nor a party leader.  This is surely the first time that an MP has argued that the fact that voters didn’t actually want her as an MP is an acceptable rationale for her to also abandon the party that she ran under in the election.

      It would seem from her argument that the voters of St. Denis’ riding have gone from having an MP they didn’t really support from a party they did support to having an MP they don’t support from a party that they didn’t support.  They may not be “offended”, but I’d be shocked if many of them are happy.

  3. A thought experiment.  

    In the upcoming election in the U.S. Barack Obama is defeated, but many new Democratic congresspeople are elected for the first time in Vermont, a phenomenon attributed largely to Obama’s personal popularity in the state, and the coinciding historic collapse of the Republicans there.  Six months later, one of those newly elected Democrats announces “Look, I know that the voters of my riding only voted for me because of their respect and admiration for Barack Obama, but Barack Obama isn’t here anymore, and so that’s why I’m announcing today that I’m leaving the Democratic Party to join the Republicans”.

    Do you suppose that said Congressperson would ever be able to set foot in Vermont again?

    • I don`t think that will be a problem for Ms. St.-Denis since I believe one of her conditions in joining the Liberals was that she never have to set foot in Saint Maurice-Champlain.

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