In response to the March 12 editorial titled Who do politicians answer to?, in spite of what candidates say and would like to do as our Members of Parliament in Ottawa, they cannot. The votes in our parliament are “whipped”, that is the party leader decides and all the members must vote as instructed or face penalties – the removal of perks up to expulsion from the caucus to the backbench as an independent.
I quote from Reflections on My Life and Canada: Who We Are by Elizabeth May as she writes eloquently and more briefly that I.
“Parliament is not a bad place because of the members of parliament. It is a bad place because the large political parties have executed a complete takeover of MPs’ freedom of action and freedom of speech.” (p 168)
“What I did not understand until I was elected was that every vote is now a whipped vote… Every day on every vote, the instruction sheets from Conservative, NDP, Liberal, and Bloc Quebecois whips are placed on the desks of their respective MPs.” (p 177)
In this long lead-up to the October election, we have an opportunity to become more aware of the control of processes in our Canadian Parliament.