Free Votes Are Nice But…Who Do Those MPs Represent?
Ah, the gun registry.
I agree with FarAndWide completely on this. The NDP are planning to allow a free vote of all their members on the issue, even though the party advises savng the regsitry. Free votes are nice in principle, and if we had a truly representative parliament where the people in Ottawa actually represented the distribution of opinions in Canada then whatever those MPs decide in a free vote should be what democracy ordered.
However, we do not have a truly representative parliament. Each NDP member in Ottawa has a much bigger responsibility than just representing their riding. The NDP are horrendously underrepresented in parliament with 12% of the seats even though they got over 18% of the vote. They should have around 18 more MPs than they do if our voting system was fair and somewhat proportional. So each vote those MPs cast is also for all those voters who cast a vote for their party last election and had it wasted because they weren’t in the running in that riding. Everyone hates controlling parties which whip on every issue but the truth is what people care about are the issues and the results of parliament. They don’t care whether you stood up for some misguided principle of parliamentary freedom that assumes the people in parliament actually represent a reasonable cross section of the views of voters.
If an efficient, effective tool is going to be removed that the police chiefs all agree is essential, that emergency room doctor’s say is essential, that psychologists worried about suicides agree is esential; and one that members of your own party want to keep because they believe that its a good idea to know where all the weapons are; then you should support keeping that tool.
If some of your members from rural ridings don’t like it, understood, they need to negotiate with their party. They need to get a concession on some other issue later on. Because those rural members need to keep in mind that 857,726 NDP voters (13,834,29 total votes x 6.2% total votes wasted on losing NDP candidates) didn’t get what they wanted last time, and you are representing them anyways, whether you like it or not. Think of those voters as your supporters too. What do they want? Do they live in rural ridings too?
Do they want the NDP to help the Harper government achieve its greatest advance for “conservative values”, for fear over reason, for emotion over sensible logic? Does the NDP want to move the country forward, or do they want to prove a point? They need to put this position in the context of the entire Conservative program and whether this government can be trusted with anything. The answer, they cannot. They disrespect parliament, disrepsect reasone, science and the arts and they disrespect the plight of any Canadians who aren’t their base. The Conservatives deserve no support from the NDP any longer, regardless of the issue. If you are going to do something on principle at this point, after all they’ve done, for God’s sakes, oppose them on principle!
Oppose them on everything, every, single, thing. Don’t give them the cover of seeming like reasonable people you can work with. You can’t work with them and letting them succeed on one of their greatest desires, something almost all progressives are against, isn’t going to help you in the next election and it isn’t going to help the country by making it more likely a progressive party or coalition forms the next government.