Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Constituency of One

It has been two months since I last contributed anything on here, for which I am sorry. I have been busy. So has Ottawa.

The Canadian budget is coming to a vote. And the illustrious Liberal Party has decided to back it under their new leader Michael Ignatieff. It makes sense. The budget has a lot of money that the broad Liberal ideology cannot object to. Also, the idea of calling an election in the current climate, under a relatively unknown leader is probably - strategically - a bad idea. Bad or unstable economic times feeds two reactions amongst Canadians historically. Option one is throw the bums out, ask R.B. Bennett about that one. The other is to hold on to the party in power, and strengthen their government because they are trusted on the economy and stability is desired, Mulroney.

It's never known how the Canadian public will decide, that's usually figured out during the campaign, and how much they blame the economic downturn on the government in power.

The point isn't about the government as a whole. Or even the economic downturn. It's about four MPs from Newfoundland.

According to these Liberal MPs the budget is punative to their home province, a total of $1.6 billion in transfer payments. The Liberals under Ignatieff have already vowed to support the vote so that the Harper government doesn't collapse. To make this work Ignatieff has allowed a "one-time" protest vote for the Newfoundland MPs against the budget.

Ignatieff shouldn't have the right to "allow" these MPs to vote the way their constituents would want, to represent their interests. This is unconscionable. Ignatieff said, "I decided to permit them in the budget vote tonight a one-time vote of protest to signal their displeasure and my displeasure at these unilateral actions which, in my view, weaken our federation, cause strains in our federation at a time when Canadians should be pulling together."

MPs should care about what matters for their constituents and the business of party-line is becoming destructive to the interests of the Canadian people, especially to their regional interests. Newfoundland in the last election had a concerted ABC campaign - Anyone But Conservative - Resulting in the election of 1 NPD, 6 Liberal and no Conservative Members of Parliament. Perhaps we should abandon national parties, because of the abuse of our regional interests and follow the Bloc's lead and merely fragment ourselves.

I suppose it doesn't matter for now though, because for now they've been permitted to protest.

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