Apropos of nothing - Macleans.ca
 

Apropos of nothing


 

A week ago, the NDP’s Don Davies introduced a private member’s bill that seeks to ban the practice of floor crossing.

“It is the duty of every politician to respect the democratic rights of voters,” said Davies. “In Vancouver Kingsway, voters saw their democratic rights violated. My constituents saw their votes betrayed. I am proud to be bringing this Bill forward to ensure that this never happens again…

“If an M.P. wants to switch parties, they can do so. But my Bill would force them to put that question to the decision of voters – where it belongs.”


 

Apropos of nothing

  1. Funny, now that it's Liberals threatening to cross the floor, Wherry seems keen on stopping it.

    • I don't think so – the NDP do this every year. Probably because no one crosses over to their side.

      • Really? How many floor crossings and bi-elections will it take for Harper to gain a majority without having to go to an election? 11? You don't think this gets Wherry all upset?

        • Even Wherry is unlikely to believe that Harper could engineer a whopping 12 floor crossings. The only way a majority could be gained this way is with a few crossings, a sufficiently good selection of byelections that can switch sides, and some very good byelection results. Extremely unlikely.

      • And that may change very quickly under certain scenarios.

        But as someone said…that it is being speculated widely means its chance of being true are narrow

      • They introduce this bill every session long time. Not so much because no one crosses over to their side, more because they are often the source. You could call this the Rick Laliberte/Angela Vautour Act.

    • I can't understand where all this Wherry-bashing comes from. All he did was post info about an NDP motion.

      • I think the idea behind Wherry's blog is to be a Rorschach test for the rest of us. Wherry rarely, if ever, writes about what he thinks and just posts random stuff from Parliament. And then the rest of us respond to Wherry without actually knowing what his opinion is.

      • "I can't understand where all this Wherry-bashing comes from."

        I think the idea behind Wherry's blog is to be a Rorschach test for the rest of us. Wherry rarely, if ever, writes about what he thinks and just posts random stuff from Parliament. And then the rest of us respond to Wherry without actually knowing what his opinion is.

      • "I can't understand where all this Wherry-bashing comes from."

        I think the idea behind Wherry's blog is to be a Rorschach test for the rest of us. Wherry rarely, if ever, writes about what he thinks and just posts random stuff from Parliament. And then everyone responds to Wherry without actually knowing what his opinion is.

    • Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

      Flip the record. You are boring.

  2. Somebody should tell Davies that which party a candidate sits with should not determine how they represent their candidates.

    Of course.. somebody should tell all the MPs that.

    • Yes, and someone should also tell the party leaders too. Why do we even elect MPs at all, only for them to turn into bleating sheep?

  3. In a parliamentary democracy we elect members of Parliament, not parties. Those elected members are free to vote how they please and associate themselves with any party or no party according to their best judgement.

    If people don't want their member to cross, then they should vote for someone else in whose judgement they have more confidence.

    • I would agree if the conventions of parliament would allow for more free votes. As it stands now, an MP is only a number to be counted in a party. As such, there party membership is extremely important to the electors.

  4. Obviously this private member's bill is purely symbolic and has zero chance of going anywhere.

    Love it or hate it, floor-crossing is part of our Parliamentary system.

  5. I would have a problem with floor-crossing if there's a quid pro quo, however. The situation when Stronach crossed to Martin's cabinet looked suspiciously like that.

  6. I would have a problem with it if there's a quid pro quo, however. The situation when Stronach crossed to Martin's cabinet looked suspiciously like that.

    • It only looked suspiciously like that if you hadn't been following politics at the time. If you had, you would have seen that Stronach had on multiple occasions taken stands against the Harper mantra, and that even before crossing the floor had been arguing that the time was not right for the disruption of an election because Martin was essentially caving on many of the requests conservatives were asking for, lowering taxes and reducing the size of government.

      Stronach's crossing, if you follow the progression of her opinion since her first election, was pretty natural. Did she take advantage of it and the times for a cabinet seat? Probably. Would she have crossed without that? Eventually, I'm pretty sure.

      Emerson, however was almost a pure quid pro quo.

      And you know, I don't even have any problem with that other than the hypocrisy of those on the Harper side who howled so loudly when Stronach crossed.

    • It only looked suspiciously like that if you hadn't been following politics at the time. If you had, you would have seen that Stronach had on multiple occasions taken stands against the Harper mantra, and that even before crossing the floor had been arguing that the time was not right for the disruption of an election because Martin was essentially caving on many of the requests conservatives were asking for, lowering taxes and reducing the size of government.

      Stronach's crossing, if you follow the progression of her opinion since her first election, was pretty natural. Did she take advantage of it and the times for a cabinet seat? Probably. Would she have crossed without that? Eventually, I'm pretty sure.

      Emerson, however was almost a pure quid pro quo, crossing the floor and taking up support of people and ideas that he was deriding not a week before.

      And you know, I don't even have any problem with that other than the hypocrisy of those on the Harper side who howled so loudly when Stronach crossed.

      • I guess I see a difference between "this guy is a star candidate and he'd make a great Minister of International Trade, so let's see if we can persuade him to join us" and "let's see if we can convince that MP to cross so our government survives the vote. Maybe if we offer her a cabinet position she'll go for it."

        The first is trying to attract a good candidate to fill a cabinet post for which they're naturally suited. The second is trying to buy a vote.

    • It only looked suspiciously like that if you hadn't been following politics at the time. If you had, you would have seen that Stronach had on multiple occasions taken stands against the Harper mantra, and that even before crossing the floor had been arguing that the time was not right for the disruption of an election because Martin was essentially caving on many of the requests conservatives were asking for, lowering taxes and reducing the size of government.

      Stronach's crossing, if you follow the progression of her opinion since her first election, was pretty natural. Did she take advantage of it and the times for a cabinet seat? Probably. Would she have crossed without that? Eventually, I'm pretty sure.

      Emerson, however was almost a pure quid pro quo, crossing the floor and taking up support of people and ideas that he was deriding not a week before.

      And you know, I don't even have any problem with that other than the hypocrisy of those on the Harper side who howled so loudly when Stronach crossed.

      • I guess I see a difference between "this guy is a star candidate and he'd make a great Minister of International Trade, so let's see if we can persuade him to join us" and "let's see if we can convince that MP to cross so our government survives the vote. Maybe if we offer her a cabinet position she'll go for it."

        The first is trying to attract a good candidate to fill a cabinet post for which they're naturally suited. The second is trying to buy a vote.

        If you're trying to say "well everyone does it", as Liberal apologists so often do, then you should use the Chuck Cadman affair as your example. That would be really egregious if the allegations against Harper are true.

        • I'm not arguing the parties role in this. Harper's party may certain have had a more real need for Emerson's talent than the Liberal's did for Stronach's. But Stronach's conversion was the far more natural — and why she got re-elected while Emerson had to retire.

        • I'm not arguing the parties role in this. Harper's party may certainly have had a more real need for Emerson's talent than the Liberal's did for Stronach's. But Stronach's conversion was the far more natural — and why she got re-elected while Emerson had to retire.

        • I'm not arguing the parties role in this – remember, I tend to think parties are antithetical to our system.

          So Harper's party may certainly have had a more real need for Emerson's talent than the Liberal's did for Stronach's. But Stronach's conversion was the far more natural — and why she got re-elected while Emerson had to retire.

        • I'm not arguing the parties role in this – remember, I tend to think parties are antithetical to our system.

          So Harper's party may certainly have had a more real need for Emerson's talent than the Liberal's did for Stronach's. But Stronach's conversion was the far more natural — and why she got re-elected while Emerson had to retire.

          So, getting back to my original point, Emerson's crossing really was far more of a quid pro quo affair, no matter how much the Harper's needed the quid, than Stronach's.

        • Buying votes? Then the quid pro quo turns to Cadman, which I doubt you'd care to discuss (other than blahblahCON talking point blahblahblah)…

      • Belinda's case wasn't quid pro quo — more like pro-gay-marriage , to vote for what she believed in, and indeed she won big as a Liberal, proving herself.

        Emerson and Khan are the most obvious recent quid pro quo floor crossings.

  7. A question for supporters of last year's ill-fated Lib-NDP-sort-of-Bloc Coalition: couldn't forming a coalition essentially be viewed as a collective floor-crossing by an entire caucus? And if so, isn't it inconsistent for Don Davies to say on the one hand, it's okay for an entire party to "cross over" in support of another without it being approved by voters, but not individual MPs?

    • No. The rules of parliament are such that any coalition requires the confidence of the house to govern (i.e., a majority of members). Voters understand, or ought to, that in the absence of a party receiving a majority, some form of coalition or mutual support is going to be necessary to make it work. That often takes the form of the party with plurality sufficiently altering their legislation to ensure confidence (which isn't seen as a violation of the voters' will).

      But there's nothing carved in stone about the party with a plurality governing if they cannot gain confidence, which is where coalitions can come in. In forming a coalition, the parties remain as corporate enterprises as before, but share cabinet positions, and obviously must each sufficiently alter their positions to make it work. Which is really no different than a party with a plurality shifting position to hold confidence. It's a potential variation of a minority parliament, and nothing more. We can't, and shouldn't, restrict either, as they are necessary for stable governance.

    • No. The rules of parliament are such that any coalition requires the confidence of the house to govern (i.e., a majority of members). Voters understand, or ought to, that in the absence of a party receiving a majority, some form of coalition or mutual support is going to be necessary to make it work. That often takes the form of the party with plurality sufficiently altering their legislation to ensure confidence (which isn't seen as a violation of the voters' will).

      But there's nothing carved in stone about the party with a plurality governing if they cannot gain confidence, which is where coalitions can come in. In forming a coalition, the parties remain as corporate enterprises as before, but share cabinet positions, and obviously must each sufficiently alter their positions to make it work. Which is really no different than a party with a plurality shifting position to hold confidence. It's a potential variation of a minority parliament, and nothing more. We can't, and shouldn't, restrict either, as they are necessary for stable governance.

      But that said, we ultimately send members to parliament – not parties. So I somewhat agree with your point. However, it's arguable that individuals are more open to acting in self interest when they cross the floor, and as such I can understand the position that it ought to be somehow controlled or limited. Also, the ability of members to cross the floor doesn't substantially contribute to stable government, so is less vital to our democracy.

      • Sorry to blab on so much, but one more nuance just occured to me.

        Members of the house ultimately decide the viability and fate of any minority government or coalition. Such arrangements only survive when a majority of members agree to it. That is our democratic safeguard.

        But there's no such oversight or check upon a member crossing the floor. The house has no say. Which makes it less democratic, in that particular light.

    • No. The rules of parliament are such that any coalition requires the confidence of the house to govern (i.e., a majority of members). Voters understand, or ought to, that in the absence of a party receiving a majority, some form of coalition or mutual support is going to be necessary to make it work. That often takes the form of the party with plurality sufficiently altering their legislation to ensure confidence (which isn't seen as a violation of the voters' will).

      But there's nothing carved in stone about the party with a plurality governing if they cannot gain confidence, which is where coalitions can come in. In forming a coalition, the parties remain corporate collectives as before, but share cabinet positions, and obviously must each sufficiently alter their positions to make it work. Which is really no different than a party with a plurality shifting position to hold confidence. It's a potential variation of a minority parliament, and nothing more. We can't, and shouldn't, restrict either, as they are necessary for stable governance.

      But that said, we ultimately send members to parliament – not parties. So I somewhat agree with your point. However, it's arguable that individuals are more open to acting in self interest when they cross the floor, and as such I can understand the position that it ought to be somehow controlled or limited. Also, the ability of members to cross the floor doesn't substantially contribute to stable government, so is less vital to our democracy.

  8. And yet, she faced reelection and won.

    • And this justifies a possible quid pro quo how?

      • I guess I'm saying that it's up to the voters to judge. Also, I presume you are referring to a cabinet post here, and therefore would have the same issue with Emerson.

      • I guess I'm saying that it's up to the voters to judge. Also, I presume you are referring to a cabinet post here, and therefore would have the same issue with Emerson.

  9. yeah that's likely, no wonder Aaron is posting about it (rolling eyes).

  10. I think this Bill deserves to pass but probably no chance.

    Few voters base their vote on the local candidate and focus much more on party/leader. I think MPs crossing the floor are betraying their riding's wishes and should not be allowed. If MPs want to change parties, another election should be held to see if constituents agree.

  11. Precisely. The new government was fairly thin on talent and Emerson provided depth and experience to a very inexperienced team. I'd say this was a win for Canada, regardless of the political aspects. Surely there is something to be said for having high calibre individuals in the Cabinet. And we all know that Emerson ended up paying a political price in the end.

  12. I'd actually like to see that bill pass — cross if you believe it to be the right thing to do, but face your electorate. Otherwise, you are indeed betraying your electorate.

  13. I've made this point before and I'll make this point again. If floor-crossing without an election is no good, then why is a coalition government without an election good?

    Would love to hear from those who seem to hold both views, especially if Mr. Wherry is one of them.

    • In a coalition government it is implied that the end result is not a different point of view, but a sort of "merging" of the two parties philosophies. The policies, per se, aren't changing completely they are just being mixed with another parties to come up with a compromise. In my view then, the MPs don't need a new mandate because they aren't really changing their philosophy just working together to actually ensure it's furthered more effectively.

      However, with a floor crossing there is a complete change in the policy that the MP's votes will support. They are supporting a completely different set of policies; arguably ones that they don't have a mandate from voters to support.

    • "Would love to hear from those who seem to hold both views"

      I don't hold both views but if I did I would have gone with Emerson's "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines."

    • "why is a coalition government without an election good?"

      We had an election and a majority of seats went to parties other than the Conservatives. The office of PM goes to whoever is able to form a government with majority support in parliament. That's democracy.

  14. Other than his known commitment to public service, I don't know what the quid pro quo was for Emerson. He was a pretty apolitical guy (Deputy Minister in BC, etc) before he got into politics at the request of PM Martin. I suspect he got into politics because he thought he'd get into Cabinet. When Martin resigned, he probably didn't think twice when the new PM asked him to continue his ministerial responsibilities. He was an MP and he was being asked to serve his constituents as a Cabinet minister. I never saw Emerson as a lifer politician. He was just someone who thought he could contribute as a Cabinet minister. The facts show he did a pretty good job in the Cabinets of two different PMs. Not a bad record. It's not the usual story of a perty hack getting hie/her reward by being appointed to Cabinet., but then he was an uncommonly able guy whose abilities were needed, especially by Harper. One thing for sure. Emerson was pretty clumsy when it came to partisanship. That was not his forte.

  15. Other than his known commitment to public service, I don't know what the quid pro quo was for Emerson. He was a pretty apolitical guy (Deputy Minister in BC, etc) before he got into politics at the request of PM Martin. I suspect he got into politics because he thought he'd get into Cabinet. When Martin resigned, he probably didn't think twice when the new PM asked him to continue his ministerial responsibilities. He was an MP and he was being asked to serve his constituents as a Cabinet minister. I never saw Emerson as a lifer politician. He was just someone who thought he could contribute as a Cabinet minister. The facts show he did a pretty good job in the Cabinets of two different PMs. Not a bad record. It's not the usual story of a perty hack getting his/her reward by being appointed to Cabinet., but then he was an uncommonly able guy whose abilities were needed, especially by Harper. One thing for sure. Emerson was pretty clumsy when it came to partisanship. That was not his forte.

  16. Apropos of nothing is an appropriate title considering how many comments Intense Debate seems to be consigning to nothingness lately.

  17. This bill is dead in the water. If you can't cross the floor "officially", then they will do it "unofficially". Namely, there is nothing stopping anyone from voting with the government every time. Or voting against the government every time. I don't see how an MP could be tossed from parliament because of his voting pattern.

    Is Don Davies not smart enough to realize this?

  18. Good point, but I think cognitive dissonance is one of Wherry's specialties. It doesn't matter if two positions contradict, as long as they both oppose the government.

  19. Some people claim that MPs are elected as individuals and not as party members. This is false. When we vote in Canada, the name of the party is clearly written on the ballot. People in Vancouver-Kingsway did not vote for "David Emerson", they voted for "David Emerson – Liberal Party of Canada" and then Emerson committed electoral rape of the people who voted for him. There is nothing wrong with MPs switching parties – as long as that switch is ratified by their constituents in a snap byelection and as long as the cost of the byelection is paid for by the party that wants the MP to switch sides..

    In other words, if Tories want Ruby Dhalla to cross over to them, she has to resign and run as a Tory in a byelection and the $500,000 it costs Elections canada to stage the byelection should be paid for by the Conservative Party of Canada! What's not to like?

    Once upon a time, the Reform Party (remember them? that party that Harper was first elected with?) stoof for all kinds of democratic reforms like people being able to recall their MP, referenda, more free votes in parliament etc… whatever happened to all that???

  20. I agree. Intense Debate has been rather dire for the past week or two. I especially hate where it says there are 8 replies, or whatever, but it only shows 3.

  21. The stuff he posts is not random. There is a pattern, and it is easy to see. And he always writes a few words, at least.

  22. I agree. Intense Debate has been rather dire for the past week or two. I especially hate when it says there are 8 replies, or whatever, but it only shows 3.

    • Agreed. ID has been a dog's breakfast lately. Sometimes takes the pages almost 10 seconds to actually load the IntenseDebate comments.

  23. Actually, I thought adding the party names only started during the last election? Or is my cold medication destroying my memory?

  24. Yup. ID has great features, but it seems to twist itself in knots too much. Either losing comments, or requiring one to reload pages and/or scrub browsers in the course of trying to follow a busy thread. Maybe they are victims of their own success, and simply need a more powerful server-thingy-engine-whatever to handle the volume.

  25. I think it's the meds. I have been voting for fringe parties for years and they always have name of local candidate and then party affiliation. Otherwise, I/we would not know who the communist/libertarian/animal-environment candidates are.

  26. I think it's the meds. I have been voting for fringe parties for years and they always have name of local candidate and then party affiliation. Otherwise, I/we would not know who the communist/libertarian/ animal-environment candidates are.

  27. No.. it's been there previously. I know because I always giggle at the candidate who runs for the Communist party in my riding every election.

  28. No.. it's been there previously. I know because I always giggle and cheer on the candidate who runs for the Communist party in my riding every election, even as I vote for someone else.

    Good on him for trying, I say.

  29. You know, I see a negative one rating on my above post right now. Would love to see those who disagree with me reply with some actual points. Thanks.

  30. Are you in Alberta, Thwim? Communists in alberta is certainly giggle worthy.

    I am in Guelph/Southern Ont and there are two communist parties in my riding. One is Marxist, I think, and the other is Communist. I get a good laugh when I see the two parties competing for the minimal communist votes available here.

    Monty Python's Life of Brian – "Excuse me. Are you the Judean People's Front? Fcuk off! We're the People's Front of Judea" – always comes to mind.

  31. No, I think you've still got it wrong. The ballot simply states is the banner under which the candidate is currently running. But, as you coalition lovers continue to remind us, it's MP's who are elected to Parliament, and it's MP's who essentially make decisions as to what party they sit with, and who forms government. That's how our system works. As for how democratic, fair, or just it is, that's another story, of course. Just wondering why some of the same people think that one act is democratic, while the other isn't.

  32. Yeah. It's even more giggle worthy when you realize that I'm in Deepak Obhrai's riding. Last election, we would have had to have everybody who voted for somebody other than Mr. Obhrai to all agree to vote for the same candidate, AND have half of the conservative voters stay home just to make it a race.

  33. Oh, and there's another question I'd like to ask. Instead of legislation banning unelected floor-crossings, so to speak, why not just institute general recall legislation that would have voters yank anyone who acts against constituents, including floor-crossers?

    For example, would McGuinty have lied about his first elected campaign platform if there was recall legislation in Ontario? Would Emerson have crossed the floor if there was recall legislation federally? I think the most likely answer is no. It would serve as the kind of check and balance people want without stepping on traditional Parliamentary rule, no?

  34. Not only that, it would serve to forcibly remind members that they serve the constituents first, not the party whim.

    Needless to say,I'm quite in favor.

  35. Not only that, it would serve to forcibly remind members that they serve the constituents first, not the party whim.

    Plus, it would make parachuting candidates in not so tempting for the party.

    Needless to say,I'm quite in favor.

  36. Sure let's have recall legislation. that way we can recall all those Tory MPs who ran promising a balanced budget and who instead gave us a $60 billion deficit!

    BTW: If some people think MPs should be free to electorally rape their voters by crossing the floor – why not pass a law barring the printing of party names on ballots and make it clear that officially parties do not exist and that we just elect 308 independents who can do as they please..

  37. Don't forget, when you recall someone, you have to replace them in a by-election. And is there any federal party that would not have resorted to deficit spending during this crisis? No.

    Oh, and for the record, I'm not in favour of MP's doing as they please. I don't think they should cross the floor right after an election, just as I don't think they should support undemocratic coalitions right after the election.

    However, my point is that there seem to be people who support one but not the other, even though they both are founded on the same general principle, which is that MP's are the primary decisions-makers in our parliamentary system of government – once elected.

  38. Every vote in Parliament is free – each MP can vote whichever way they want as long as they're willing to give up the possibility of a cabinet post.

  39. Thinking more on this.. what would be the mechanism to get it started. A petition? What percentage of the electorate? With our current system, it could make some ridings completely unwinnable. Even if you have >50% of the electorate vote to recall a candidate, the vote to replace them could just wind up being split the same way and have the same candidate get in on 30% of the vote.

    Unless there's something in place that once recalled, you can't run again. Even then though, you could have someone run and the riding just be against a certain party's values, but not decided enough on any alternative candidate to give them a plurality.

    Perhaps the costs for a recall/by-election are to be borne by the party of the candidate who was recalled? This would put a strong disincentive in place for the party to demand that an MP vote against his/her constituent's wishes.

  40. While I like the idea of reminding people that they're voting for their MPs, not for a party, it wouldn't fly. If nothing else, people use the party positions as shorthand for what a candidate stands for. Requiring even more work out of those who go to the polls merely increases the personal disincentive to vote.

  41. and the input into a caucus and the resources of a party.

    Part of my point is that since (as I understand it) most Canadians vote based on party and the party's leader — shouldn't we then be respecting that basis for their decision? Your right in that's not how the system is meant to function, but if we continue to treat the system based on its intention and not on the actual Canadian's intent behind a vote we are doomed to a malfunctioning system.

  42. I particularly resent the fact that it seems to know which comments you really value, or worked at, before consigning them to perdition. Course i might be paranoid.

  43. The logical consequence of what you're advocating is a system in which the country elects a dictator for 4-5 year terms, and the dictator's level of control is determined by how many ridings he wins.

    There is value to having 308 people deciding how they're going to vote on each given issue. That they let themselves get whipped into voting the party line regardless of their own views is an argument for electing MP's with more courage and less self-interest, not for changing the system.

  44. The logical consequence of what you're advocating is a system in which the country elects a dictator for 4-5 year terms, and the dictator's level of control is determined by how many ridings he wins (i.e. greater than 50%gives him complete control, less than 50% means the other three co-dictators each get a vote proportional to their ridings).

    There is value to having 308 people deciding how they're going to vote on each given issue. That they let themselves get whipped into voting the party line regardless of their own views is an argument for electing MP's with more courage and less self-interest, not for changing the system.

  45. The logical consequence of what you're advocating is a system in which the country elects a dictator for 4-5 year terms, and the dictator's level of control is determined by how many ridings he wins (i.e. greater than 50% gives him complete control, less than 50% means the other three co-dictators each get a vote proportional to their ridings).

    There is value to having 308 people deciding how they're going to vote on each given issue. That they let themselves get whipped into voting the party line regardless of their own views is an argument for electing MP's with more courage and less self-interest, not for changing the system.

  46. I don't recall [ pun unintended ] all the details. But wasn't recall attempted in BC. Wasn't it a bit of a disaster? One of the unintended consequences was that it helped to create a mechanisim for those who lost in their ridings to almost immediately start recalls on the flimsiest of pretexts. Seems to me to be another one of those ideas [ like frequent referendums ] that seem good, until you put them into practise. Not that i necessarily oppose making our MPs more accountable. But it is a representative democracy, not a direct one.

  47. I expected hair-splitting rationalizations in response, and I finally got one.

    a) What about MP's who belong to parties that specifically promise not to form coalitions with anyone else? I mean, that's what happened last time, didn't it? That's what we're talking about.

    b) What about MP's who cross the floor based on policies they agree with? For example, Emerson could have said that he talked to Harper and was convinced that he wouldn't stray from Liberals policies much at all, right? And, in fact, it's pretty much what's happened, despite all the hooting and hollering from ideologues on the left.

  48. For crying out loud Macleans. That's close to half my comments gone today! Oh well this one'll probably go too.

  49. "Would love to hear from those who seem to hold both views"

    I don't hold both views but if I did I would have gone with Emerson's "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines."

  50. Good points.

    a) Are you suggesting that every time a part renegs on a promise they should seek a new mandate from the electorate? (If so we would sure have a lot of elections!) I don't think forming a coalition government is different from changing any other policy promise.

    b) I agree that MPs should be free to vote differently than their party and this bill doesn't stop that. MPs would still be free to leave a party and sit as an independent. The bottom line is Emerson had two choices if he disagreed with Liberal policy – sit as an independent and vote for Conservative bills, or join the CPC, get a cabinet post, and pocket a nice pay raise. It seems to me that his decision wasn't just about policy… This bill removes other factors besides votes.

    Of course, that ignores the importance of caucuses. But I don't know if that influences the essential argument.

  51. So, in a nutshell, the standard by which individual MPs make decisions after being elected is set arbitrarily by — you. Not by MP's themselves. That's interesting.

  52. Maybe if we had recall legislation, we could also recall Tory MPs who voted to recognize Quebec as a nation in TOTAL contravention of everything the Reform/Canadian Alliance ever stood for?

  53. It's democracy for parties that vowed not to form unelected coalitions to form elected coalitions? And judging by how high Harper's polling numbers were during the threat of an unelected coalition government, looks like Canadian voters – you know, those voters that form the basis of a democracy – agree, too.

    Never quite understood why some people are so eager to force this coalition on us. It's something more akin to unelected governments like Cuba than what Canadians know and love. In fact, we've only had one coalition government in our history, and that was because of a World War.

    An floor-crossing MP people yell and scream about, but an undemocratically selected prime minister, cabinet, and government they're perfectly fine with – as long as it's left-wing. Fascinating.

  54. While we're getting all Three Oh Eight about parliament, maybe someone can update me: Yesterday I got a constituency mailing from someone named Gary Goodyear. Is he the new MP for Winnipeg Centre? Or did I accidentally move to Cambridge Ontario without noticing?

    FYI … According to Gary the leaders of the other parties are "Gun Criminals."

  55. According to Gary the leaders of the other parties are "Gun Criminals."

    That sounds odd. Can you post the full quote here? Thanks.