FOR BRANT NEWS
Although this may come as a surprise to some, my office receives more feedback on the continuous flow of private members bills and motions before Parliament than any other subject.
While the government comes to Parliament with an agenda that is moved forward through government legislation, every MP who is not a minister or a parliamentary secretary to a minister is given an opportunity to introduce their own private members bills or motions. These tend to be grassroots initiatives that add a unique element to what happens in Canada’s Parliament.
It is exciting to see such a level of engagement on so many important issues before Parliament even though government bills tend to dominate the national headlines.
I will be introducing my own motion very soon in the current parliamentary session.
Each day, my office receive phone calls, emails, letters and faxes about the broad range of subjects championed by individual MPs through their private members initiatives. This helps me tremendously as I rarely have a shortage of diverse views brought to my attention from across Brant riding before deciding how to vote.
A lot has been made of the way MPs vote, with accusations about toeing the party line. Yet the facts tell a story that might surprise some people about members of Parliament, their parties and their voting record.
Recently, the Globe and Mail researched and published the facts regarding MPs’ voting records.
The facts tell us that Conservative MPs are the least likely to vote as a block than any other party in the house, while NDP members have voted as a block 100 per cent of the time.
Since Thomas Mulcair became leader of the Official Opposition, no member of the NDP has ever voted counter to their party’s direction, not once, not ever. No explanation has been offered as to why.
Conservative members on the other hand have voted as a block 79 per cent of the time, balancing their personal positions with the positions of their party and their constituents. Liberal Party members in Parliament have voted as a block 90 per cent of the time.
One of my close colleagues, Ed Holder from London West, summed it up best when he said: “When someone joins a political party, particularly as an elected member, it is reasonable that most of the time you will support and vote with your party. I get it. It is why one joins a political party.
“That’s why I am a Conservative, because I think that what we do has a positive impact for Canada and I am comfortable in supporting most of the legislative issues that come forward. But you don’t check your brain at the door when you get elected and you have an obligation to consider what is in the best interests of constituents and the country. And, contrary to what some might think, most votes in the house are not ‘whipped,’ which means a member is not obligated to vote with their party on all issues. But to never have one party member ever break ranks on a single issue? I invite you to draw your own conclusions.”
Phil McColeman is Member of Parliament for Brant.