Puppet MPs - Macleans.ca

Puppet MPs


The CBC finds a couple of defeated Conservative candidates doing the work of MPs.

One of them, Cecil Clarke, ran for the Conservatives in Nova Scotia’s Sydney-Victoria riding, losing to Liberal Mark Eyking by fewer than 1,000 votes. Now he’s a federally paid consultant, travelling the province meeting with businesses and individuals. He’ll get $135,000 a year for three years.

“There’s a whole host of issues that have to be dealt with …,” Clarke told CBC News. “I would say, you know, that I’ve had a very positive relationship with the government of Canada.” Clarke’s task of listening to people and letting them know what the federal government has to offer sounds a lot to Eyking what an MP should be doing.

“We hear about puppet governments,” said Eyking. “Now we’re going to have a puppet MP.”


Puppet MPs

  1. Interesting- isn’t this how local representation in a proportional representation system would work? We’d vote, then once the election was over, the winning party would send our riding a rep? 

    • If it is then I can already see a problem. See I know that my local MPP will have no say in the proceedings of government because a: he’s not a member of the elected government and b: we’re Northern Ontario, 86 seats shy of having a say at Queen’s Park. I still vote for him because he’s done more to create awareness for our cause and needs, despite his affiliations. That’s more than I can say for anyone else.

      I don’t see that happening if MPs become a top down rep.

    • Not in most real-world PR systems, I don’t think. 

      Usually, PR systems are mixed.  So, you have local reps who are actually LOCAL reps still, and then other seats in the legislature are filled based on the popular vote totals of the various parties.

      The mixed member proportional system that went to a vote in Ontario recently worked this way:

      “In this system, a voter casts two votes: one for a candidate (or “local
      member”) and one for a political party. The local member is elected in
      an FPTP-style election and represents the electoral district
      , while the
      political party vote determines, in conjunction with the number of
      elected local members belonging to each party, how many list members
      a party receives. A list member is a candidate on an ordered list that a
      party issues before the election; if the MMP formula determines that a
      party can have more seats than it won locally, it receives a “top up”
      number of list seats. Under this new system, the Legislature would have
      129 seats: 90 local members (70% of the Legislature) and 39 list members
      (30% of the Legislature).”(emphasis added)

      • And if you made it an Open List MMP system, you can have your say on which of the Party candidates are elected as well.  Sure, the party will create the list, but your vote can move someone up that list–if you choose to exercise that option.

        • Sigh.

          I so wish we could get ourselves moved to some form of PR.

        • I have a suspicion that an STV system essentially collapses the elements that you and LKO are discussing into a single ballot, and still allows individual ridings to exist and nominate their own candidate.  Ie, the best of ALL worlds, if you can believe it.  Do you concur?  If not, where have I gone wrong.

          Btw, I’m far from convinced that the existing nomination process is 100% purely local – I sense a significant HQ influence, so I’m not sure why there is so much more angst attached to the MMP (or variations) systems.

          • I do not concur, for the sole reason that people do not get what they vote for.  They get, usually, one that isn’t the most hated–but even there not always.  With Open List MMP, you get what you voted for–at least if you voted for a national party.  And while you are very right that hardly anyone votes for the candidate anymore, that is a sign of the problem, IMO.  Giving unfettered power to the guys at the top is not my personal idea of democracy.

          • Ummm, this confuses me somewhat. Is there a paper or something that you can point me to that talks about this issue?

            My understanding of STV was that, for example, Calgary:

            – would still have 8 seats
            – which should have netted the CPC 5 or 6 seats, the NDP 1, the LPC 1 and maybe the Greens 1 (but probably not)

            But here is the key:
            – presumably many/most CPC supporters would have marked Harper, Kenney and Ablonczy ~1, 2 and 3
            – then (presumably) those CPC voters would have marked the remaining 5 CPC candidates as their 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 choices
            – and of those last 5 spots hopefully many/most CPC supporters would have marked Rob Anders as their 8th choice.

            Amongst NDP, LPC and Green supporters there might be more intermingling of their top picks.

            But as best I can tell Calgary would have sent the ‘obvious’ top 3 or 4 CPC candidates, one or two other CPC candidates, NOT Rob Anders to Ottawa. Joining them would be a Visitor and a Commie, candidates who were at least acceptable to those voters, if not actually their top choice.

            So sure, still not perfect, but better than today.

  2. The CPC did something similar during the stimulus project too; had MP’s with cheques holding press conferences or public ceremonies, not with the elected opposition MP present, but with their nominated candidate standing there beside the cheque grinning like santy claus. Slowly drip by drip theses guys are undermining the foundations of our social contract with representative govt. I’m gradually[ reluctantly – i liked chretien] coming to the conclusion our last two or three PMs have been very bad news for the future of accountability and acceptable political morality in this country.
    Maybe we need a unafiliated tea party movement in this country.  

  3. Eyking won, and he’s complaining his opponent has a job now too because it’s, practically, more important than his? Loser.

    • He’s complaining because the government is paying the loser to do the job anyway.

      • The government is using our hard earned tax dollars.

    • So we’re paying for two representatives for the same riding? 

      • Yes, except only the sucker who actually won needs to worry about being accountable to his constituents, or doing any of the important non-constituency work of an MP.  The loser gets to spend all of his days campaigning to replace the winner.

        • NICELY put.

        • Naaaaailed it!

          If there is anything ‘representative’ remaining in our representative democracy this is one sure way to kick that to the curb. It *feels* like a subversion of the ‘grand national process’.

  4. As the system evolves to relieve us of all the burdens of democracy I’d like to let it be known that I’d be available to act as a puppet voter for $125K per year.

    • Agreed….where do I sign up for that gig?

    • For the record, I’ll do it for just $100K.

      • Ah, the race to the bottom continues ..

        • Ah, the race to the bottom continues ..

          Yeah, yeah….just name your price!!   ;-)

          • Yeah, yeah….just name your price!!
            That’s what they said to Cecil Clarke.

  5. How many more of these failed CPC candidates have consultant/shadow MP jobs with the Feds? Wonder what the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation has to say about this?

    • I wonder if this violates the lobbying rules? 

  6. How is this legal? 

    You lose the election, but your party wins and then as the government, hires you to spend your time pretending you didn’t lose the election?!?!?!  So, Eyking wins, and has to spend his time being an MP like a sucker, whereas Clarke loses, and gets basically the same money from the taxpayer to spend his days campaigning, but with no actual democratic accountability to worry about???

    Again, how is this legal???

    • How would it be illegal?

      • I’m not sure about the technicalities, and maybe it shouldn’t even be illegal.

        However, the whole notion of the governing party essentially saying to one of their defeated candidates “Sorry you lost out on being elected to a six-figure job representing the people of your riding, but tell you what, would you like to take this OTHER six figure job as a ‘consultant’ for us, which will allow you to do all of the politicing of an MP for your riding without any of the pesky ‘responsibilities’ or ‘accountability’” is, at the very least, odd.

        • Little bit, sure. And the voters can make it known how they feel about that, if they actually have an opinion, but Jobs For The Boys is such an old tradition that it’s hard to work up much outrage no matter who’s doing it.

          • Jobs For the Boys is one (awful) thing. 

            Jobs For the Boys that seem specifically designed to let a losing candidate spend the next three years campaigning for office on the public’s dime?!?!?!  That seems as though it ought to be a bridge too far even for the most cynical among us.  If it’s hard to work up outrage over the government apparently using taxpayer money to pay six figures a year for a losing candidate to head right back out on to the hustings after their failed election bid then perhaps nothing at all can be considered outrageous anymore.

          • It’s the conservative government channeling government money into their re-election campaign. This is the kind of thing that got the Liberals into trouble. Power corrupts.

  7. Emma Goldman ~ If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal 

  8. And I’m sure the people who decried Adscam will defend this to their last breath. This is transferring money to the Conservative Party of Canada, putting political operatives on the Canadian government payroll.

  9. I have a suspicion that an STV system essentially collapses the elements
    that you and LKO are discussing into a single ballot, and still allows
    individual ridings to exist and nominate their own candidate.
    Nice visit here, thanks for sharing it.