To whom should an M.P. be most accountable?
We have a Parliamentary system in this country, in which you elect an M.P. who may or may not belong to a political party. The majority of M.P.'s elected from a particular party forms the next government, and their leader becomes the next Prime Minister. Seems simple.
But in fact, it is quite complex, because the electorate is struggling with the task of attempting to integrate the values of the candidate with those of the party and the leader. Quite often there is a disconnect.
The fundamental question however, is how does that M.P. see their ultimate responsibility and call to accountability? Is it to the constituents or the party and leader?
To me this is a crucial issue, because it so dramatically affects an M.P.'s voting behaviour and their whole mission statement regarding how they approach politics.
For example, there is no question that Garth Turner feels that his primary responsibility is to his riding constituents. My own M.P. is as far away from that view as is possible. As Liberal party whip, she feels she can only vote according to party lines, and has never conducted any sort of survey regarding free vote issues (to the best of my knowledge).
All the others probably fall somewhere in between.
So here I am, essentially a disenfranchised Conservative supporter in the Ontario heartland. I have no voice in Ottawa, save for the generosity of nearby Tory M.P.'s who are kind enough to field my concerns.
Next time you vote, ask the candidate where their ultimate allegiance lies. The answer might influence your decision at the polls.