How Would An Independent Represent His/Her Constituents?
As people become more and more interested in Independent candidates we are hearing this question more and more. We are interested in having this question answered by a number of Independent Candidates. What follows is an answer from: John Richardson, Independent Candidate for Toronto Danforth. We ask that other Independents send their thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Once elected an MP interacts with both Parliament and with members of the riding. In Parliament an MP will vote on legislation and (in an ideal situation) propose legislation. The MP should also be the “local link” between the individual and the Government of Canada.
All Independents agree that the purpose of Independents is to be responsive to the riding and NOT to the party. A riding is made of large numbers of people with differing (often conflicting) interests and members of different political parties. So, what is an Independent to do, when differing parts of the riding want different things. What is an independent to do, if to help one member of the riding would be to hurt another. What, in this context (conflicting interests), does it mean to be responsive to the riding?
I suggest that “responsiveness to the riding” means (at least) two things.
First – Sound and Independent Judgment – This means to use one’s best judgment on whatever the issues are. Nobody can know what issues may arise over a period of four years. Few could have seen the financial crisis we are in today. Hence, the question is NOT how would an MP vote on any specific issue. Rather the question is:
what are the fundamental values that would shape the judgment that an Independent would bring to a vote on any issue. Examples might include general thoughts about:
– public health
– social services, etc
Second – Respect For All Members Of The Riding – Respect includes “listening”. An Independent should have a commitment to “listening” to the concerns and priorities of all individuals and groups. That said, “listening” and “respect” is not the same thing as voting in a specific way or advocating any particular policy. It is the job of an Independent to hear a wide range of concerns and priorities and factor those in to decisions that the Independent will make.
Respect means that – Everybody in the riding is entitled to be heard!
In short an Independent is:
Independent of political parties and Independent of any special interest groups in the riding. An Independent is committed to respecting all points of view and then using his/her best judgment to vote for those policies that would best help the riding as a whole!
See an interview with John Richardson Independent Candidate.