3 min

Keeping the ability to cross the floor

The NDP private member’s bill that would force
a by-election after a floor crossing died after a vote in the Commons last
night, as well it should. Bitter comments from NDP MPs over the Liberals voting
it down because of Lise St-Denis aside, I do think that floor crossing does
have a place within our parliamentary system because it reinforces the fact
that we elect MPs to exercise their own judgment, and not simply because of
the party name attached to them. Whether this is a voter’s calculation in the
voting booth or not (just like people voting for a candidate as a proxy for the
leader), the fact is that like it or not, that is the way our system is
designed. I just find this to be one more example of people demanding MPs get
more independence from party discipline but only so long as they sing from those people's particular partisan songbook.

There are fears in the Liberal Party that
its current period of rebuilding will leave it open to takeovers from pro-life
groups, after the apparent resurgence of Liberals for Life in the
Toronto-Danforth nomination race. This isn’t the first time the party has had
to deal with this – back in the '70s, this was an issue that led to the changes
in the Elections Act that allowed the leader to sign off on nominations, which
in turn led to more centralized power in the leader’s office. This, of course, is
an issue that needs to be dealt with on a membership level, and it should
remind progressive Liberals that if they don’t want these pro-life groups
taking over the party – or at least regaining the voice now that it’s waning,
then they need to get involved at the riding level to ensure that the
candidates they nominate reflect their values.

You may have heard the baby issue
yesterday, where people freaked out entirely because an NDP MP was forced to
leave her baby outside of the House during a vote. People erroneously assumed
this was a breast-feeding issue (it wasn’t) and that this is somehow
reflective of the “old boys’ club” mentality where the environment is hostile
to young mothers (seriously, guys, Sheila Copps had her baby in the Commons
back in the '80s – it’s not an issue). The issue – according to both the
Speaker and other MPs who witnessed it – was that the MPs around her started
taking pictures of it (which is verboten in the House) and weren’t paying
attention to the vote. So the baby had to go because they couldn’t behave
themselves, and the Speaker reiterated that the baby can come back in the
future – provided that those MPs behave themselves.

Because Peter Van Loan is possibly the most
incapable House leader in Canadian history, he’s decided to invoke time
allocation yet again, this time on the new copyright reform bill, which saw scant
minutes of actual debate before he invoked it. Because it’s not like it’s
hugely divisive with the creative communities or anything like that. No, it too
needs to be rammed through, lest every single MP get to speak on it, and then
we’d *gasp!* have some 300 speeches on it! And we all know that debate is a
sign of weakness, and we couldn’t have that.

Despite the province’s continued skilled
labour shortage, Jason Kenney nixes the idea of letting Alberta control more of
its own immigration.

And Colin Horgan live-tweets his exploration of the new Crown in Canada app. My own verdict? Lame. Laaaaame.
When horses are this lame, you shoot them. 
It’s like they tried to make the Crown look stuffy and out of touch. Seriously, there was so much more
potential to do something with this that was squandered.

Bookmark and Share