Archive for the ‘floor crossing’ Category

Why Did the Loyalist Cross the Floor?

January 11th, 2012
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Why would a ten year NDP loyalist, who ran in the last federal election with no expectations of winning, suddenly discover she’s a Liberal ten months after actually winning? That’s the question that everyone is asking after Lise St-Denis, MP for St-Maurice-Champlain Quebec crossed the floor to the liberals this

Sadly almost the entire Canadian media are too willing to accept her incongruous explanation that St-Denis offered for her crossing:

The Liberal Party has a great deal of experience in decision-making,” she said. The party has a “more open, comprehensive, global view” than the New Democrats. As far as Quebec goes, she concluded, the Liberals “can do a better job defending Quebec’s place in Confederation than other parties.”

So, after ten years as a loyal NDP member, she suddenly realized she’s actually a Liberal? This is, in fact, Kelly McParland’s take on it (linked above), that “once she got that seat in the Commons and saw how things worked, a new reality dawned. The NDP, she saw, wasn’t ready for prime time.” Maybe.

However, there’s another, more cynical explanation that none of the media seems to see. St-Denis’ riding of St-Maurice Champlain is not just some riding she worked hard to get the nomination in, fighting the good fight. It is former Prime Minister Jean Cretien’s old riding, a Liberal stronghold. St-Denis, by her own admission, “never believed (she) would be elected.”

If you are going to be an opposition back-bencher in a minority Parliament, it matters little whether you sit with the second place party or the third – you get the same crappy office in the same crappy wing of Parliament Hill, you get no driver and the same pay. Liberal or NDP, it makes no matter.

But, if you are a first time MP, and you figure that you got elected because Quebec voters “voted for Jack Layton. Jack Layton is dead,” then you have to figure your chances of being re-elected are slim.

That should be fine. After all Lise St-Denis was never intending to be an MP and have a political career, she was just a loyal NDPer running so the NDP could claim her riding when filing out Elections Canada forms. So why cross the floor again?

Well maybe, now that St-Denis is ten months in, she has figured out that she needs to win just one more election, get her six years in, and she has herself one of those gold-plated MP pensions. And maybe she figures she has a markedly better chance of winning as an incumbent Liberal than as an incumbent NDPer.

Lise St-Denis is perhaps a canary in the coal mine for the NDP, a warning that things are not as rosy as the numbers make them appear. But not because the Liberal’s suddenly has up winnable policy, but because when her own self-interest was on the line, she chose the Liberals. It’s a warning for Canadian’s as well.

They may be working for you in principle, but not in fact.

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A Good Day for Canadian Democracy

October 15th, 2008
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I’ve written before that I support the concept of floor crossing, think it’s an important safeguard against “the tyranny of the party“. I have, however, also stated before that the way to deal with floor crossers is not to ban the practise, but “voters who will punish floor crossers.”

It bears repeating, if Scott Bryson and Belinda Stronach had gone down to defeat in the last election, David Emerson and Wajid Khan would never have crossed this time (Garth Turner might have anyway).

This Parliament we had the three above mentioned floor crossers, plus unelected Michael Fortier taking a senate seat and sitting in cabinet, a move that didn’t sit well with voters at the time. And what happened during last nights election?

Wajid Khan

The riding [Streetsville] was considered a bellwether for the country because of Khan’s well-publicized decision to leave the Liberals and join the Conservatives gave the Tories their only seat in Mississauga. If he could have held the seat, observers said, it might have been an indication Stephen Harper’s party could win a majority.

But Khan couldn’t hold on to it.

Garth Turner

Apparently I am too much. Too much for a successful career in Canadian politics, anyway. As you may have heard, last night I lost my seat in Parliament in the first elections in the world to be held in the immediate wake of the financial and economic mess enveloping us.

Michael Fortier

Michael Fortier gambled his Senate job against a seat in the House of Commons but he did not hold the winning cards in Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Bloc Québécois incumbent Meili Faille, 36, who lives in the riding off the western tip of Montreal Island, trumped the Conservative star candidate, just as she beat other high-profile opponents in the last two general elections.

As for David Emerson, the heat over his floor crossing never subsided in his BC riding, and he chose to not even run. That makes a perfect four for four (444?) of candidates who crossed the floor or were appointed undemocratically. Any candidate who choses to cross the floor in the next Parliamentary session will have to think twice, will know that facing the consequences of their decision means more than some unpleasant editorials and a few blog postings.

Congratulations to voters in each of those ridings, who did the right thing, and proved that we don’t need bad laws to save our democracy from itself.

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