In many of the columns I write, I stress the need for good governance and have many reasons for doing so. The most important of which is to emphasize that it is Canadians who control the election of their Members of Parliament. Parliamentarians are elected to convey the concerns of constituents and represent their views on a vast array of issues. This is something that should transcend political affiliation.
Our parliamentary system depends on having strong and independent MPs. Yet, for many years, there has been an erosion of this, leading to significant challenges in ensuring there is good governance in Canada. In 2015, to help address this issue, legislation entitled The Reform Act was passed into law. Proposed by Conservative MP Michael Chong, the act dictates every official party is required to hold four votes in their first caucus meeting when parliament begins. These votes decide whether Caucus is given the power in re-admitting or expelling MPs to or from caucus, electing a caucus chair, launching a leadership review, and electing an interim leader. I support these measures, although it is unfortunate it is even needed.
At the end of last year, I posted a video that encouraged constituents of Liberal ridings to pressure their MP to vote in favour of The Reform Act. Disappointingly, yet unsurprisingly, all other caucuses voted down implementing these measures, cementing party loyalty at the cost of the constituents they are supposed to serve. The Liberal Party has gone to great lengths to remove and denounce those who speak against Justin Trudeau, no matter the circumstance. Even when individuals have acted honourably as Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott did in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Throwing others under the bus to cover-up his corruption, malfeasance, or otherwise poor judgement and leadership is Trudeau’s M.O., but should be able to be stopped by a caucus that is empowered to do their jobs. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the Liberal Party of today.
Grassroots democracy is needed because it gives Canadians a chance to speak up about what happens within our democratic system. Bringing Canadians to the table and having a respectful discussion is integral to the success of Canada. This is something Conservatives understand. As a diverse country, we are going to disagree on many things. Measures such as free votes on issues of conscience and guaranteeing no one is shamed in Parliament for standing up for their constituents plays a massive role in hearing and addressing the concerns of Canadians. Valuing inclusivity and respectful dialogue when discussing contentious issues is the way we are going to unite Canada.
As representatives of our respective ridings, MPs are accountable to Canadians for the functioning of the party we belong to because it impacts the way we address the issues facing Canadians. Conservative legislation such as The Reform Act is a tool that ensures constituents takes precedence over party.
The bottom line is this; members of parliament, including the Prime Minister, are responsible to Canadians. While some left-wing media outlets report on dissent and the freedom MPs have in the Conservative Party as a bad thing, it speaks to how our system needs to operate. Democracy means sometimes disagreeing but charting a path forward regardless.
As the Member of Parliament for Battle River-Crowfoot, I am proud to work for you and to be your voice in Ottawa. If you have any ideas or suggestions how democracy in Canada can be improved, please do not hesitate to contact me.