Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Still cross over crossing?

Kate mentions a very very very very very important technical point that everyone has seemed to have overlooked in regards to "crossing the floor".

When the Conservative Party was created only a couple years ago, didn't dozens of Canadian Alliance and a few Progressive Conservative MPs "cross the floor"? And what about when Deb Grey and the Democratic Representative Caucus came back into the Alliance fold after Harper was elected? How many freakin' by-elections would that have been?

We have to remember that in the House of Commons, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A POLITICAL PARTY. They're grouped by CAUCUSES. This is an important aspect of our parliamentary system.

And what about when Robert Borden formed the Unionist coalition with the Liberals and Conservatives back in 1917? There were all sorts of parties/caucuses back then:

144 Unionist
69 Opposition (Laurier Liberal)
11 Liberal (Unionist)
5 Liberal
4 Conservative
1 Nationalist Liberal
1 Progressive
2 United Farmers
1 United Farmers of Ontario
1 United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

So just because someone crosses, doesn't mean it's unethical, but it does depend on the circumstances. The system allows it for a reason and has allowed it since 1867. We don't need a law preventing it from happening. Do they have such a law in Britain and Australia?

But you see, in the U.S., because they have free votes on everything, no one cares if a congressman switches parties. In fact, it rarely happens at all.

The only part of this that I don't like is whether someone was offered something in return for switching. While I actually don't believe it reflects badly on those offering, but on the person who accepts.

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