Tuesday, February 06, 2007

ANOTHER ANTI- PARTY DISCIPLINE RANT

The continuing stream of election speculation is inescapable, which I suppose is to be expected with a minority parliament.

Generally, I am all in favour of elections. They are fun to watch, and much more importantly they are one of the few opportunities for widespread citizen engagement in democracy. I find little sense in the argument that elections should be avoided on the basis of their cost of money and time to the taxpayer - it is a small price to pay for the benefits.

However, the assumption is that there are benefits. The benefit is the opportunity for the citizenry to proclaim their general will, to renew our public representatives by confirming the course they have laid out or approving a new direction. But how often is this necessary with a general election?

It would be necessary less often if our elected representatives were allowed the freedom to exercise their own independent abilities of reason and common sense without being shackled by party discipline. In the last several years of minority government we have witnessed a number of floor crossings - Garth Turner's merely being the latest. I believe this is indicative of the restlessness of our representatives. In situations of a minority parliament especially, if members were allowed a greater freedom to create and vote for the policies they truly believed would benefit the country and their constituents we might get more cohesive, creative and longer lasting parliaments. If MP's were allowed to be individuals and to exercise their independence and intelligence, and be held accountable for such, we might also get more independent and intelligent representatives.

But even one of the newest and most promising federal Liberal can't see past his partisanship. Says Gerrard Kennedy:

“A lot of what I’ve seen and experienced in the time I’ve been focused in the federal realm is . . . the Conservatives and the NDP working together, and I think that’s very unfortunate. I don’t think the public interest gets served that way.”
Of course not. Because it's not the Liberals calling the shots.

Posted by Matthew @ 4:19 PM