Hyer wants back in caucus

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toaster

Mr. Mulcair turns me off in that clip.  Mr. Hyer is a very smart man, and I don't like the personal attacks toward him.  

Stockholm

6079_Smith_W wrote:

They want to make it a rule for their party? Fine, though I certainly don't see it as necessary, and as I said, I don't actually like rules in which parties presume to assert their authority over elected representatives. It is bad enough as it is. I'd say there's a range in between the examples of Emerson and Dyck, some cases in which it made perfect sense for a representative to change parties.

Let's keep in mind that Hyer chose to run for parliament over and over again as a candidate of a party - the NDP - which had a CRYSTAL CLEAR policy that floor crossers should resign and run in byelections. No one asked or forced him to get elected as a candidate with a CRYSTAL CLEAR policy that floor crossers should resign and run in byelections. If he disagreed with that policy - he should have run as an independent or a Green in the first place.

6079_Smith_W

@ Stockholm

And I repeat: So what?

In the first place it is a policy, it is not the law.

Secondly, do you think there are no other issues on which MPs differ with their party's position? There's at least one other issue with repect to Hyer that is far more important, in my opinion.

And thirdly, this is politics. None of these presumed loyalties and committments mean a damned thing when push comes to shove. You see an iron-clad committment? Hyer is presenting this an him being the aggrieved party who is defending democracy.

The only thing for sure here is that only one group is in a position to decide one way or another on it, and that is the people of Thunder Bay.

Stockholm

Yes, but I think that parties have a duty to react and to restate their principles. If the NDP reacted to Hyer's betrayal of his riding by saying nothing it would have sent a message that this was 'no big deal" and it would condone this sort of anti-democratic behaviour by other MPs in other parties. Sometimes you have to take a stand and show what you believe in as a party!

socialdemocrati...

The NDP policy on this is clear. They've been consistent, whether it was party-crossing between the other parties, or someone who left the NDP. It's probably a major reason why people haven't crossed the floor to join the NDP.

Hyer broke a promise. If the Greens represented his platform, maybe he should have ran as a green. But there isn't more to it than that.

The NDP restated what they typically say. The media might be playing this one up more, but that doesn't change anything. We'll see what happens in 2015.

Unionist

Just out of curiosity - why does the NDP's policy on floor-crossing allow members to leave the caucus - even resign from the party - and sit as independents? Why wouldn't that trigger a byelection?

 

6079_Smith_W

As I have alluded upthread, banging the drum of party authority for its own sake is no principle at all, IMO.

The floor crossing thing is an issue on which I am at best on the fence. And that it's a policy somehow dismisses all other factors in this? Hopefully I have made it clear how I feel about that as well.

If there is a REAL case to be made for anything  here, then I am sure it is there to be made on the issue of gun control, and whatever other substantial differences went into Hyer leaving. 

They  went a bit beyond re-stating their position, and reducing the argument to team sports and character assassination kind or undoes any sense of principle that might have been there.

And it is doubly flawed because the move he has made doesn't really mean anything, especially if, as many are predicting, he won't run again. Again, by playing into it the NDP are just putting the focus on their spat, rather than anything of substance. There is nothing to win, and everything to lose.

 

robbie_dee

Unionist wrote:

Just out of curiosity - why does the NDP's policy on floor-crossing allow members to leave the caucus - even resign from the party - and sit as independents? Why wouldn't that trigger a byelection?

 

If the policy was to the contrary, i.e. requiring a caucus member to resign their seat and trigger a byelection if they quit the party - how could that possibly be enforced? The strongest penalty that can be imposed against a caucus member is to kick them out of the caucus (conceivably the Party could also revoke their membership) but if the member is already on their way out the door that's not much of a threat.

Unionist

robbie_dee wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Just out of curiosity - why does the NDP's policy on floor-crossing allow members to leave the caucus - even resign from the party - and sit as independents? Why wouldn't that trigger a byelection?

 

If the policy was to the contrary, i.e. requiring a caucus member to resign their seat and trigger a byelection if they quit the party - how could that possibly be enforced? The strongest penalty that can be imposed against a caucus member is to kick them out of the caucus (conceivably the Party could also revoke their membership) but if the member is already on their way out the door that's not much of a threat.

Hi robbie_dee!

I was referring to Peter Stoffer's Bill C-210, which I assume reflects the party's policy. It would automatically trigger a byelection if an MP was endorsed by one registered party during an election - or ran as an independent - and then joined another party. Mathieu Ravignat said, when the bill was reintroduced in 2011:

Quote:
“MPs were elected personally, and under their party banner. We must ensure that members are accountable to their constituents.”

If an MP is elected under the NDP banner and then quits the party to sit as an independent - surely that's the same kind of lack of accountability which motivates the bill in the first place. Then why doesn't the NDP propose triggering of a byelection in this case as well?

Of course nothing is "enforceable" right now - but if the bill is passed, anything is enforceable. So let me repeat by way of an example:

Why (in the NDP's view) is it worse to be elected as an independent and then join the NDP caucus, than to be elected as an NDP and quit the party?

 

Stockholm

Don Davies has a long very thoughtful posting in here on what he thinks fllor crossers should resign

http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/12/16/bruce-hyer-and-the-case-against-floor...

Today, another MP (Bruce Hyer) crossed the floor to sit with a political party caucus that he was not elected to represent.

Here are my thoughts.

In a democracy, voters elect the law-makers they want to represent them. A key consideration of their choice is, of course, the particular principles and policies each candidate claims to hold. In most societies, political parties are formed of like-minded people who share policies and values in common. While not every party member agrees with every party policy, in general the party system allows people to make rational decisions about the direction they want their government to take.

That is why many – indeed most – voters in a democracy rely on political parties to reflect their general philosophical and policy preferences.

Voters can therefore cast their ballots in confidence that the candidate who espouses agreement with them will act consistently with those beliefs once elected. By this system, democracy is served as governments (and opposition) are formed based on the consent and agreement of the voters.

The problem with floor-crossing is that this action betrays the trust of the voters who placed their faith in the candidate. It tears at the fundamental basis of our electoral process. How can voters cast a meaningful ballot if the candidate who espoused certain policies at election time then repudiates those policies once elected? If a person is elected, say, as a Conservative, and people vote for him on that basis, what does it say about the value of their votes if the person subsequently decides to sit as a New Democrat? In truth, there is only one answer: it renders their votes ineffective and meaningless.

Many argue that elected officials must be free to leave parties with whom they develop a serious crisis of conscience or which acts in some oppressive manner. I agree that this must be allowed. I believe that an elected representative must have the freedom and power to stand against oppressive party practices or behaviour if that occurs. In that case, I think that the appropriate act is to leave the caucus and sit as an independent. By doing so, they can preserve their freedom and stand as a bulwark against an over-bearing party while doing as little damage as possible to the fundamental trust of the voters who elected them.

Crossing the floor to sit with another party, however, is a more concerning matter. This is because the policies and values that the candidate was elected to represent on behalf of their voters have now changed. The entire basis of that MP to sit in Parliament has been altered, as they no longer have the democratic mandate of their electors to do so.

Importantly, I do not think that crossing the floor to sit with another party should be prohibited. What I fervently believe, however, is that if an MP chooses this course then they should have the courage of their conviction and, more importantly, the respect for their voters and the democratic system, to resign their seat and put their decision to the test of their voters. If they believe that they have compelling reasons to substantiate their decision to sit with another party, then they should have no problem convincing their voters of this. The point is that they should and must seek a mandate to do so.

In a democracy, I passionately believe that the power to decide such an important question as to what party an MP represents on voters’ behalf is not the MP’s – it is ultimately the voters’.

So – if Bruce Hyer, or anyone else for that matter – wishes to alter the mandate he was given on election day by the voters of his constituency – he should be required to go back to those voters and seek their judgment. If we are truly a democracy, and if we truly respect the voters, this must be the case.

wage zombie

Unionist wrote:

Why (in the NDP's view) is it worse to be elected as an independent and then join the NDP caucus, than to be elected as an NDP and quit the party?

I think Stockholm's poting of Don Davies' position is quite clear.

Personally, I think MPs need to have the freedom to leave the party they were elected under if they no longer feel they can work within the party.  I think this is a pretty common view.

MPs do not need to join another party to stay in the house.  They can just sit as independents.

On the other hand, running for one party and then switching to another party after the election is a big change from what they ran on.  IMO it is a big enouch change to merit a byelection.  I don't know if it is always a betrayal of voters' trust, but in some cases, eg. David Emerson, it definitely is.

I don't understand how you find the whole thing so puzzling.

Unionist

wage zombie wrote:

I don't understand how you find the whole thing so puzzling.

Let me try again. Here's an example.

1. I try for the NDP nomination - but the party won't endorse me for whatever reason. So I run as an independent, and win. Two years later, we patch things up and I rejoin the NDP. NDP draft legislation: I'm instantly un-elected and there's an automatic byelection.

2. I run for the NDP and win. Two weeks later, I publicly condemn the NDP for being pinko socialists who don't understand my constituents, and invite the media to a ritual burning of my membership card. I declare that I will now sit as an independent. NDP draft legislation: No consequences - I can carry on till the next election.

You don't understand why I find this puzzling??

Different puzzles for different folks.

I actually have a plausible explanation, but if everyone thinks the NDP's policy is coherent and consistent, then I guess no explanation is needed.

ETA:

wage zombie wrote:

Personally, I think MPs need to have the freedom to leave the party they were elected under if they no longer feel they can work within the party.  I think this is a pretty common view.

Well of course they're free to leave the party. But tell me again why they shouldn't face the electors, who presumably voted for them as individuals and as representatives of the party???

6079_Smith_W

Exactly, Unionist.

@ Stockholm #160

It is even in tone, but that's about all I can say for it.

Constituents elect pople as their representatives, not parties. If the assumption is that the two are welded at the hip, worouldn't it also make sense that any member kicked out of caucus would also have to face a by-election, since they no longer represent the party the voters presumably chose?

And why stop at leaving caucus? if party policy trumps our electoral system then should't defying a whipped vote also automatically send the rebellious member back to the polls?

Sorry, but although I think there is plenty of middle ground here I still see formalizing this as a kinder gentler version of Harper concentrating power in the PMO.

Hyer left the party for a reason. Some here might not agree with it, and it might be up for dispute, but ignoring that greater question and focusing all the debate on whether he should have the right to do this or that is ridiculous.

 

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Fact is, I think a far more productive policy to write into law is to boot the government out and send them back if they don't live up to their promises - since what the people voted for  is such an inviolable principle. But I can see why that one might not make it off the convention floor, let alone into the house.

(edit)

And another thought. Perhaps someone with a bit more experience in party machinery can weigh in on just how much of a nightmare this "automatic" by-election would be. Don't seats often sit vacant for months while everyone involves gets their ducks in a row and their signs printed?

 

wage zombie

Unionist wrote:

Let me try again. Here's an example.

1. I try for the NDP nomination - but the party won't endorse me for whatever reason. So I run as an independent, and win. Two years later, we patch things up and I rejoin the NDP. NDP draft legislation: I'm instantly un-elected and there's an automatic byelection.

2. I run for the NDP and win. Two weeks later, I publicly condemn the NDP for being pinko socialists who don't understand my constituents, and invite the media to a ritual burning of my membership card. I declare that I will now sit as an independent. NDP draft legislation: No consequences - I can carry on till the next election.

You don't understand why I find this puzzling??

No, I really don't.  If someone ran and won as independent then they can do what they want.

6079_Smith_W

wage zombie wrote:

No, I really don't.  If someone ran and won as independent then they can do what they want.

So..... it doesn't matter if a member lies and goes back on his or her word to constituents, but defying the party is a hanging offense.

(I know you didn't exactly say that, but really, if the honest concern is broken promises, shouldn't the NDP be pushing for some sort of recall with the power in the hands of the constituents?

I'm sure there are plenty of people who elected members who broke promises because the party changed its policy, or ignored commitments

socialdemocrati...

Crossing the floor to sit with another party, however, is a more concerning matter. This is because the policies and values that the candidate was elected to represent on behalf of their voters have now changed. The entire basis of that MP to sit in Parliament has been altered, as they no longer have the democratic mandate of their electors to do so.

This represents my view. If I order a pizza, and halfway to my house the pizza guy quits and goes to work for someone else, I still want my fucking pizza.

Unionist

wage zombie wrote:

No, I really don't.  If someone ran and won as independent then they can do what they want.

I respect your view. But it's not the "CRYSTAL CLEAR" NDP policy (as Stockholm calls it). Look:

Quote:
27.1 (1) Any person holding a seat in the House of Commons who becomes a member of a registered party as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Canada Elections Act is deemed to have vacated the seat and ceases to be a member of the House if, in the last election, the person was endorsed by another registered party or was not endorsed by a registered party.

[My emphasis, trying to sort out the relevant portion.]

So: if someone runs and wins as an independent, and then joins the NDP (just signing a membership card is enough - doesn't even have to be invited to join the caucus!!!) - then they're gone from the House and there's an automatic byelection.

Can we at least agree on what the NDP policy is, please? Then we can discuss: 1) Whether we agree with the NDP or not; and 2) whether it's CRYSTAL CLEAR or not.

 

6079_Smith_W

Thanks Unionist.

I don't like it either way. Except it would have been quite the balls up if it had been in place during the PC-Alliance merger.

Really, I just see  presumed concern for the electorate as a front for entrenching their own control. It's going to put a chill on any member thinking about leaving, and make anyone kicked out of caucus even more of an exile.

Sorry, but the real power in parliament should be the members, not the parties. I don't vote for pepperoni or anchovies, after all.

 

 

 

 

 

NorthReport

The time for the ndp to apply this is when the rules change for all

The ndp has enough challenges as it is and i dont want other persons or groups to have advantages that the ndp does not have in parliament

Policywonk

wage zombie wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Let me try again. Here's an example.

1. I try for the NDP nomination - but the party won't endorse me for whatever reason. So I run as an independent, and win. Two years later, we patch things up and I rejoin the NDP. NDP draft legislation: I'm instantly un-elected and there's an automatic byelection.

2. I run for the NDP and win. Two weeks later, I publicly condemn the NDP for being pinko socialists who don't understand my constituents, and invite the media to a ritual burning of my membership card. I declare that I will now sit as an independent. NDP draft legislation: No consequences - I can carry on till the next election.

You don't understand why I find this puzzling??

No, I really don't.  If someone ran and won as independent then they can do what they want.

Actually they can't necessarily join the caucus even if they join the Party. They could run for the nomination next election.

Winston

As much as unprincipled floor-crossing pis$es me off, I nevertheless think the NDP's policy is stupid. Honestly, we didn't come by it on principle, but rather simply because we are often the victims rather than the beneficiaries of it at the federal level. I don't remember the BC NDP complaining when Gordon Wilson unilaterally dissolved his party to join them, nor was the SK NDP all that regretful about liquidating the Liberal caucus in their province.

Personally, I think it would have been a real boon to welcome Maria Mourani into our caucus, and I would have seen nothing unethical about it (she was kicked out of the Bloc caucus). Alas, that cannot happen because the NDP still feels wounded by all of the turncoats. 

Not all floor-crossers do so for self-serving reasons. Specifically, I see nothing wrong with Scott Brison's decision to leave the merged and ascendant Conservatives to join the flagging Liberals out of concern for the increase in the religious-right flavour of his old caucus. He should not have been forced to remain a Conservative or be an independent. Even Bruce Hyer, who is clearly and simply a petulant opportunist, should be free to do as he has done. The voters in Thunder Bay will sort him out in 2015.

Where the line definitely needs to be drawn is with the floor-crossers who move, simply to be immediately appointed to Cabinet. Stronach and Emerson fall into this category. Surely there should be by-elections in those cases as someone suggested or, at the very least, a significant "cooling-off" period before their appointments. 

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