I am completely against any floor crossing prevention legislation. In fact, there should be a resolution that to have such legislation as being out of order.
Sometimes I wonder if NDP members and supporters really understand how a parliamentary democracy actually works.
Wait, I don't think they do at all, whatsoever.
We could go through pages and pages of historical records on the parliamentary website to show all the MPs who've switched caucuses since 1867.
There is no need for the MP to sit as an independent or step down and run in a byelection. That would mean, when the Conservative Party was created, dozens of former Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative MPs would have to have run in a byelection, rather than just run in the next election. There are numerous examples. How much would that have cost?
And voters already have a chance to decide if they agree in regular elections, keeping in mind it is a person's name on the ballot in large print with the party affiliation in small print. We legally elect people to become a Member of Parliament and sit amongst a caucus, not party, otherwise, only the party name would be printed on the ballot.
I am also against recall. In fact, I believe it's a dangerous notion where a small minority of people (or whatever the percentage is, I've heard 5%, 10%) can petition to recall an MP. So really, a third-party organization or lobby group can organize themselves and get people to sign a petition to have a vote to remove the MP. There are many other mechanisms already in place to do that--media, public, and party pressure to name a few, let alone the next election itself. If an MP (or Senator for that matter) really screwed up, like say convicted of a criminal act, there should be a resolution in place that they must step down immediately and a byelection would ensue.
Anyway, it is a fundamental aspect of our democracy that an MP can change party affiliation, create a new caucus (remember the Democratic Representative Caucus (DRC)?), or become an independent if he or she feels the caucus they are a part of no longer represents their views or is ineffective.
Why do Dippers want to prevent that? Voters have the right to switch allegiences between elections, MPs must have that freedom to be able to decide how to best represent his or her constituents, not just for those who voted for him or her. My guess is that it is rooted in the fact that they simply fear the Liberals and are afraid of their MPs jumping ship to a party that has historically been in power.
Just like this one.
And what to the NDP have to say?
"But the NDP made it perfectly clear they were not going to let St-Denis' defection go unchallenged.
Commenting at a press conference convened shortly after the floor-crossing announcement, NDP Quebec Caucus Chair Guy Caron was blunt in his party's response."Recruiting elected members from other parties is clearly the old way of politics," Caron said, characterizing the recent votes for his party as a signal Canadians "have had enough of cynicism, cronyism, separatism and partisanship."Changing political affiliation is a blatant lack of respect for democracy that encourages cynicism toward politicians," he continued, before issuing the Grits a challenge."If the Liberals think it's what the voters of the riding want, we challenge them to run Madam St-Denis in a byelection," he said.