Monday, September 24, 2007

It Gets More Dysfunctional

John Tory and I are having what you could call a bit of a dysfunctional relationship at the moment.

I am a Progressive Conservative supporter who supports the mixed member proportional (MMP) referendum - one of three conservative bloggers who do - thanks for the plug, Greg! This has put me somewhat at odds with Mr. Tory, who has, via the National Post, voiced some concerns with the referendum.

That's fair. It's an important change in our electoral system, and differing opinions are to be expected.

One of Mr. Tory's counter recommendations for electoral reform goes as follows [CBC, PC leader calls for more free votes, fewer hours for MPPs]:
The Progressive Conservative leader said he wants to allow more free votes within a party so MPPs can vote their conscience.

...

"If we don't fix the system in which I profoundly believe, I think we run of the risk of alienation of the public from politicians and the political process," Tory told reporters Wednesday.

While I think this policy is long overdue, it seems to contradict this sentiment [Ottawa Citizen, Tory faces dissent over school funding]:

"However, you have my word that should [a bill to extend funding to faith-based education] come before the legislature, as it stands today, with the majority of my riding opposed, I will vote against it."

Mr. [Bill] Murdoch[, the Progressive Conservative incumbent in Bruce Grey Owen Sound], who had previously supported Mr. Tory on the issue, said he sent a letter to Mr. Tory asking for either a referendum or a free vote.

Answering questions after a campaign speech in Guelph, The Conservative leader would not speculate whether there would be a free vote if his party is elected and called Mr. Murdoch a "maverick."

"Bill Murdoch is Bill Murdoch. When you look up 'maverick' in the dictionary, you find his picture there in colour," he said.

In a legislature that allows free votes on matters of conscience, there is no such thing as a maverick. A maverick would then be someone who does not vote their conscience but instead follows a policy which the representative, in representing their riding, does not believe in.

Regardless of Mr. Murdoch's political history, it seems that this issue is highly contentious to the point where even incumbent candidates are questioning policy during an election.

If nothing else, this is a glowing example of why a legislature built on proportionality is the best all around.

1 comment:

Wilf Day said...

Are you sure the National Post didn't take this quote out of context: "I certainly haven't run into anybody who thinks it would be better to have MPPs, or any other kinds of politicians, who are appointed by party bosses and accountable to no constituents."

I would say just the same thing, while explaining that parties in New Zealand hold six regional conventions to nominate list candidates, and then fold the six lists into one.

The Ontario PC Party has nine regional Vice-Presidents, but the nine regions are described in the party constitution as being defined by the executive from time to time. Nine is a good number for Ontario, which has three times New Zealand's population. Can you tell us the specifics of the PC Party's nine regions?