Friday, July 20, 2007

Should MP's pay a price for quitting?

Licia Corbella has an interesting column in the Sun today, asking if MP's shouldn't face some kind of penalty for quitting and forcing a byelection - Costly Quitters.

She quotes Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch:

Any MP who doesn't serve out their whole term -- with the exception of those who are severely ill or have a family member who is very ill -- should be disqualified from running in the next two elections, should have none of that truncated-term added to their platinum MP pension plans and should have to pay back a percentage of the salary they received in their shortened term...



Thoughts?

Personally, I'd rather just see them go. I doubt they'd be very effective if they were just putting in time until the next election.

20 comments:

Cherniak_WTF said...

Personnally Licia would have more credibility if her article was not an excuse to bash Liberals....

Maybe she should expand a little and include floor-crossers.... nah too much intellectual effort to be honest there....

PGP said...

Interesting concept!
Make the assumption of the MP post a contract with responsibilities and penalties!

- Include loss of salary and benefits for failure to meet obligations of the position
- Include terms for dismissal for cause

I like it! Just think of the possibilities!!!!

One can dream .......

Brian in Calgary said...

I agree, pgp, it is an interesting concept. However, I would like there to be at least one exception - when a sitting MP quits to allow his/her seatless leader to get into the House of Commons in the resulting byelection.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

The one reason I would be in favour of some kind of penalty is the fact that supporters often put their blood, sweat and tears into an election, and it would be devastating to see someone quit that you worked so hard for.

The case of Lapierre is an example of a flighty Belinda-esque type of guy who can't settle down, but he is a great reporter.

SouthernOntarioan said...

There are pros and cons both ways if they were to institute a penalty.

We would be able to recoup some of the losses from a bi-election and might instill a bit more loyalty to the people who worked hard to have them elected. But otherwise some people may just stop showing up or stop trying to be an effective representative.

In my opinion, the system, however flawed, is fine the way it is, floor-crossing and all. Trying to fix one problem will likely lead to half a dozen more problems being created.

Perhaps a balance would be to allow a person to decide to give up their seat but only after 2 years into their mandate.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

But otherwise some people may just stop showing up or stop trying to be an effective representative.

That was my concern.

Kingston said...

Good luck fixing this one, Common sense say it should be as was suggested in the article about health reason etc, but the comment by southernontario is more like what will happen, they will not show up. Now as to floor crossing, that is the one time I think we should be shelling out for a bi-election, I figure after the first couple the floor crossing problem will go away or at least the person crossing the floor will have a darn good reason to be doing it.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Now as to floor crossing, that is the one time I think we should be shelling out for a bi-election,
Even with the case of Emerson? The ballots were hardly counted and it seemed he changed over...

Moebius said...

Banning floor crossing should be pretty easy and painless. Just say no.

Emerson, Brison, Stronach, GTurner, if they want to run for a party, then run for that frickin' party. If not, resign and run for another party in the next election!

Switching sides between elections is anti-democratic, and should not be allowed.

Brison and Stronach were both re-elected after they changed, so obviously there's no punishment for them.

Kingston said...

Totally in the any and all floor crossings.

Kingston said...

To follow up on that CWTF, if there had to be a bi election I will hazard a guess he would not of crossed. This all goes back to your working for the people who voted for you not the Cabinet position you want.

Mac said...

c_wtf, I'm sure Licia will have difficulty sleeping at night knowing you found her article to be too critical of Liberals for your liking. I'm sure if a journalist writes something which is similarly critical of Conservatives, you'll apply the same standards, right?

While I find the idea of holding politicians responsible for their actions appealing, this is one area where the wide variety of possible exceptions would render any attempt to introduce accountability unenforceable. Byelections are a necessary nuisance.

Crossing the floor is entrenched in our parliamentary system for a reason: to remind us that we vote for the individual MP, not the party. There is an accountability mechanism in place which is very effective. If you voted for an MP who subsequently changes parties and you're upset by that, next time don't vote for that MP. Simple. If enough constituents feel the same way, that MP becomes an ex-MP. Effective.

While many bloggers wax poetic about the perceived betrayal of changing parties, most of them change their tune when an MP crosses in their partisan favour.

I must confess I was shocked and dismayed when David Emerson walked across the floor almost immediately after the election. I've given the matter much thought since and I've concede the parliamentary system, including floor crossing, makes sense.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Crossing the floor is entrenched in our parliamentary system for a reason: to remind us that we vote for the individual MP, not the party. There is an accountability mechanism in place which is very effective...

Mac, very well said. Funny how it's mostly the NDP that rails against floor-crossing as a point of ethics.

Kingston said...

JJ. I am far from a supporter of the NDP, If a MP wants to cross the floor after being elected to support a party platform, fine, if we do not want to pay for a bi-election again, fine. They can sit as an independent. I do not care if they cross from left to right, north to south, up to down, it is wrong, it is a betrayal of what they they told their friends, their neighbors and their communities they stood for. Perhaps if the prevailing vote in the HofC was a free vote I would not have as much of a problem with this, but it is not, they when they cross to another party are committing themselves to vote against issues and political principals that they embraced. Sorry about the rant but I feel very strongly about this.

Cherniak_WTF said...

They can sit as an independent
That's not a bad suggestion.

RGM said...

I'll say this: have the citizens of LaSalle-Emard been well represented by their MP this term? Has he not been doing them a great disservice by his near-total absence? Would it not be in their interests for him to resign immediately so that there can be a by-election to put an actual entity in the house for those people?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

RGM - My thoughts exactly.

Cherniak_WTF said...

You don't actually expect MPs to show up do you?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

CWTF - lol! Rumour has it that it's part of the job description.

Mac said...

If someone runs to represent the riding as their member of parliament and then crosses the floor, do they suddenly no longer represent the riding? LaSalle-Emard has been more betrayed than Halton...

Party affiliation is a choice, not a requirement. If it were otherwise, independents would not be allowed to exist. There are many advantages to party affiliation. That's why the vast majority of MPs are in parties.

The problem is our generations have grown impatient. We want feedback to be instant. We're much better off as it is now. If someone crosses the floor and their constituents are unhappy with the results, boot the MP at the next election. The MP realizes this when they cross and that provides strong incentive for them to work hard.

Generally, the stronger the 'cry' of betray, the more partisan the crier. The NDP hate floor crossing because no-one ever crosses to join them... and why would anyone cross to join the perpetual "also ran" party? Ask yourself why Garth didn't go "Green" when he had a chance despite his gushing admiration for Lizzie May...