Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Right Idea, Bad Way of Going About It

Bruce Hyer, the now-Independent MP for Thunder Bay--Superior North but was originally elected as a Dipper, is filing a motion to do away with the practice of national leaders being able to sign nomination papers for candidates, or refuse to sign them.

Hyer's idea is that party leaders can essentially force MPs to toe the party line in the House by refusing to sign nomination papers in the next election for them. The NDP have a particular penchant for doing that kind of thing (think Bev Dejarlais), but it is something that has happened in all parties. It is a very serious problem and Hyer makes a lot of sense going after it, as that is a big reason why our MPs don't bother expressing their individuality or their constituent's wishes half the time in the House.

The issue, however, is that Hyer's motion will do away with the entire process, and that just doesn't make sense. I'm one of the biggest advocates for open, competitive nominations, and I don't like the idea of the leader having a veto over those nominations, except that it is actually needed.

We can use a fairly reasonable example. If an MP in the House goes directly against a party whip on a crucial vote, like say an MP voting with the government which then allows that legislation to pass, the party leadership has every right to say that they no longer want that individual associating with the party, and they're not allowed to run as a candidate again for the party. But if that MP then runs and wins a nomination contest, what should the leadership do, back down and allow a rogue MP that can't be relied upon to work with the caucus to run again? Maybe it is the democratic will of the riding association that voted him back in, but the leadership of a party has concerns that reach across a national party, and that MP disrupts the landscape.

In other words, it is pretty stupid to roll over and allow back in caucus someone who can't be relied upon, and especially someone who can't be held back by anything because, hey, he has his riding association's backing and he'll keep winning the nomination. The leadership needs the ability to say no.

Of course there should be limits on this power, and maybe it should be voted upon by the entire leadership of a party to be done. But it has to exist in some form, because we are not the United States, we're a parliamentarian system, and a caucus leader simply cannot have rogue MPs flying about. Simple as that.

1 comment:

  1. Allow a person's candidacy to be vetoed by 50%+1 of all other candidates in said election. Similar rule for getting kicked out of caucus, only this time, secret ballot.