Monthly Archives: February 2010

Last best hope for democracy in Canada: An appointed Senate

“Consider what happens now when you elect someone to go to Ottawa.

No sooner have they spent their first term in office than they’re emailing home to explain why they voted for something their constituents didn’t want.

The reason, of course, is party discipline. They’re “whipped,” i.e., told to vote with their party or else leave caucus. Most stay and do what they’re told. Without the party, it’s very difficult to get re-elected.”

February 22, 2010–last-best-hope-for-democracy-in-canada-an-appointed-senate

See also the British proposal to elect the members of the House of Lords.

Senator Elaine McCoy

{{GA_Article.Images.Alttext$}} Michael De Adder/

Stephen Harper has for several years now claimed that his proposed reforms for the Canadian Senate are about bringing accountability and democracy to the much-maligned second chamber.

With his most recent prorogation of Parliament, however, it is clear that for all his rhetoric, his reforms are less about a thoughtful reinvigoration of our political institutions and more about maintaining political power. Continue reading

Suppose the House lights were never turned back on …

“Today, no voter’s mind is changed by what is said in Parliament, partly because free and informed debate no longer occurs in Parliament and partly because party discipline and the concentration of power in the Prime Minister’s Office precludes members from speaking honestly. Parliament, in short, is little more than an unedifying charade.”

Don’t forget the comments.

What public function does Parliament serve? Give up?

Ian Hunter

From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Feb. 09, 2010 6:48PM EST Last updated on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010 9:36AM EST

As prorogued parliamentarians twiddle their thumbs, the time is right for voters to ask themselves: Do we need Parliament? Continue reading

Judge overturns Tory nomination of MP Rob Anders

Note the following comment on this article:

“This is fascinating. Not sure what the legal basis of this decision was, but this is a great victory for democracy in Canada. Each of the Conservative, Liberal and NDP parties are (under their constitutions allowed) to appoint who they want as candidates in any riding. This is how Michael Ignatieff won his seat in Parliament.

The parties have forgotten that Parliamentary democracy is not about the Party but about Parliament. Parliament is made up of MPs which are elected to represent their individual ridings. MPs are not elected to “do the bidding” of the party in power. MPs are elected to represent the constituents in the riding.

Many years ago, MPs started out as Independents – they were beholden to their riding. As Scott Brown put it in his recent victory in the Massachusetts Senate Election, when asked how he would feel in Ted Kennedy’s seat, he said:

“With due respect, it’s not the Teddy Kennedy’s seat. It’s not the Democrat’s seat. It’s the people’s seat!”

The seat in Parliament belongs to the people in that riding. It does not belong to the member and it does not belong to the party. There is a disturbing trend of MPs “crossing the floor”. MPs who “cross the floor” seem to thing that, the seat belongs to them. Wrong. “It’s the people’s seat.”

A party that comes in and overrides the wishes of local riding associations is exhibiting a contempt for the people in the riding.

If parties are allowed to swoop in and decree who is the candidate in the riding, there is no point in having a Parliament at all.

As it stands now, MPs are required to vote the party line. If they don’t they will thrown out of the party. Remember Bill Casey!

Next election – vote for an independent.

Independents are the only candidates who represent the interests of the riding!”


CALGARY Canadian Press Published on Friday, Mar. 16, 2007 2:15PM EDT Last updated on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2009 10:20PM EDT

An Alberta judge has overturned the controversial Tory acclamation of Calgary MP Rob Anders and ordered a new nomination meeting.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Jed Hawco issued a court order instructing the Conservative Party of Canada to restart the nomination process in Calgary West.

Eleven disgruntled Tories have been fighting Anders’ unchallenged nomination since last summer, claiming the party did not widely advertise important dates or adequately search for qualified candidates.

Robert Hawkes, lawyer for the anti-Anders group, says the ruling is a “good thing” for all Conservative party members.

But because of a potentially imminent federal election, it’s unclear whether there will be enough time for the Calgary constituency to hold another 30-day nomination process.

Mr. Anders has won the Calgary seat four times in a row — each with large majorities — but his time in office has been dogged by controversy. He once made headlines by dismissing former South African president Nelson Mandela as a terrorist and a communist.

Conservatives provide more protection for a pet MP

Don Martin: Conservatives provide more protection for a pet MP
Posted: February 09, 2010, 12:29 AM by Kelly McParland

He’s done it again.

An MP widely considered invisible at best, and horrible at worst, has been saved from local rejection after party headquarters denied his own riding directors the chance to shop for a better Conservative candidate.

For reasons the national office will not explain, the Conservatives have thrown blanket protection over Calgary West MP Rob Anders to enforce his apparently unalienable right to carry their banner into the next election.

Not only did the party shut down any risk of the incumbent suffering a pre-election dumping, but last weekend it seized control of local membership lists, the cash box and the power to call an annual general meeting, shutting down a volunteer association elected only last March by Conservatives at large.

Continue reading