Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.


Monday, February 13, 2006

floor-crosser legislation

This has been alluded to in the discussion recently. It's worthwhile to explain why I still think it is a bad idea, despite that the audacity of the Emerson-Harper move still has me catching my breath.

The last thing the House of Commons needs is more power invested in the hands of the party exec. As is, individual members are straight-jacketed by party discipline and rarely able to act on conscience. Rather than 308 voices acting in agreement or disagreement, the HOC is reduced to four voices of varying strengths.

Party discipline serves a purpose. I'm not advocating the American free-for-all. However, in extraordinary circumstances, MPs need access to some escape route from the hegemony of the party.

Because of recent history, floor crossing has become synonymous with careerism. The fact is, such a move can be - and often has been - an act of purest principle. It is a way to protest a dangerous change in leadership, an unexpected policy position, etc. A forced by-election is an obvious deterrent from making such an on-conscience move. That's not necessarily because the member in question is wrong, or their move is illegitimate. It may just take time for them to make their point.

Ultimately, I file this with certain Proportional Representation proposals: seemingly democratic but essentially endorsements of elitism.

None of the above apply to David Emerson, of course. But a legislative overreaction would be harmful in the long run. We can content ourselves with knowing that Emerson's career is essentially over - it's just a matter of time.


Blogger Sholdice said...

I agree - down with the bureaucratic elites! PR is a vain attempt to empower to bourgeois office-holders.

Will Steve dare argue with me, or is he part of the problem, not the solution?

9:49 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Mark, your insincerity makes debating you a bit difficult. As such I'm unsure of what you dare me to debate you on. I'm not a fan of PR, but I'm also not a fan of ironic Marxist terminology. You know the way you phrased that if I agree I am part of the problem if I agree with you, so together we are the problem? Cheers to that.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Still, I'm maybe a bit more elite-accomodating than our rabble-rousing host here, but certainly can find a great deal of self-serving in PR proponents, even w/o that argument.

9:01 AM  

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