Wildrose Party advocating $100K fine for floor crossing

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Wildrose Party advocating $100K fine for floor crossing


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The new leader of the Wildrose Party (Brian Jean) is proposing a $100,000 fee for future floor-crossers.

Now, he’s making good on his campaign promise to protect the party’s future, pledging that all candidates will sign a contract agreeing to pay $100,000 should they choose to join another party.

The fee will not be charged if a member chooses to sit as an independent, however, he added.

What do you think?

If the cost of a by-election could be avoided, is this the next best thing?

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

Jean is a sore loser.


I'd suggest $500,000 as a minimum. 100K is a slap on the wrist. It would just encourage serial crossing. Or wait, not a flat tax, maybe something progressive - like, say, 5 times your annual income. Gross income, not net taxable income. That would also make indexation less necessary. And secured in advance by, say, property, subject to independent evaluation, otherwise the crosseur (that's what we call them in French) could just welch and plead poverty, maybe even declare personal bankruptcy. And, you'd have to agree in advance not to challenge any request for injunctive relief, and be liable for all legal fees in case of contestation.

Not really sure if this covers all the bases, but it's a start. Waiting for other anti-crosseurs to weigh in.


David Emerson anyone? Had he actually been elected for 24 hours before he crossed?

Actually he was although he was already in conversation with the Cons within 24 hours of being elected.


NorthReport wrote:

David Emerson anyone? Had he actually been elected for 24 hours before he crossed?

It wouldn't be fair to fine him now, because the $500M wasn't in effect at that time.

Anyway, the scumbag has crossed the floor yet again. He is now on the International Advisory Council of the China Investment Corporation.

voice of the damned

Jean has a bit of nerve proposing this, considering that the Wildrose Alliance accepted two crossovers from the Tories in 2010. I mean, I realize parties change their policies over time, but still, this really does seem even more motivated than usual by self-interest over principle.

voice of the damned

I'm also not sure I see the distinction he's making between crossovers and independents. Someone who voted for the Party A candidate specifically because he wanted Party A in that seat may very well feel betrayed if the member quits to become an independent, just as much as if he quits to join the other party.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

What a strange suggestion.  If floor crossing is fundamentally wrong, from an electoral/democratic point of view, then it should be disallowed outright.

And if it's just "how the cookie crumbles" then why a fine?  And to whom is the fine paid?  If it's "really the electorate who suffers" then what's their share of $100k going to be?  Like, two bucks?

Or wait... is it the party that loses a seat that's the real victim here?




Oh, wait, I've got it!

If you're elected under the banner of Party X, then your vote on every single issue automatically gets recorded whichever way the Party X whip dictates!

It's perfect. You can quit the caucus, or get kicked out, or sit as an independent, or join someone else's caucus... but until a new election or byelection, the only thing about you that matters (your vote) is stuck with your original party! No need for fines, nada.



bagkitty bagkitty's picture

It is an interesting stunt, would not place heavy odds on it standing up in a court of law.


Now we're just haggling over the price

In contrast, Jean has made floor-crossing into a financial issue. The sticker price tag to buy a Wildrose MLA is now being advertised publicly - and it's hardly inconceivable that the benefits of a cabinet position or a more secure seat would outweigh the financial incentive to stay even if it's otherwise enforceable.

Indeed, Jean may be setting up a political example of a familiar experiment in behavioural economics: just as a price on anti-social behaviour in the case of late daycare pickups actually increased violations by causing parents to think in economic rather than moral terms, so too might it allow MLAs to claim they owe constituents nothing more than to buy out their party status.

And the problem is expanded since Wildrose is also changing the question as to who's entitled to raise concerns about a violation of expectations. The new contract makes it explicit that it's the party, not constituents, which holds a duty of loyalty and which has the power to enforce an MLA's obligations. And by implication, the party will also have the power to decide an MLA isn't worth pursuing - no matter what voters may think. 

Of course, as long as the surface financial deterrent helps to convince voters that Jean is more serious about sticking it out with Wildrose than Smith was, it will serve a political purpose. But for anybody who would prefer that the relationship among parties, candidates and voters be based on principles rather than dollar signs, it shifts MLAs' incentives in exactly the wrong direction.


Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

But for anybody who would prefer that the relationship among parties, candidates and voters be based on principles rather than dollar signs, it shifts MLAs' incentives in exactly the wrong direction.

Let's suppose there were no proposed fine, so no dollar value.

What "principle" would say it's cool to get elected by saying "X", then having a life-affirming epiphany and saying "Y", and everything's cool?

If I'm elected the Director of Greenpeace on a platform of "no more whaling" and then I recant, and say "whales are bastards... kill them where ye may" is there anything wrong with that, assuming I'm not being fined for, shall we say, "revising" my original platform?

Here's a thought:  what if representatives, elected under the flag of whatever party, feel they can no longer support that party in the way that they did when elected, could just quit, with fair and legal severance?  Like someone who takes a job with Oscar Meyer, becomes a vegan, and quits?

That would surely recognize both the right of the electorate -- when choosing a representative from Party A, to not suddenly find they'd elected someone from Party B (and have no say in the switch) -- but also the right of any elected representative to follow their conscience.

And of course anyone who switches from Party A to Party B should be entirely free to run for Party B in the next election, and let the voters decide -- but that second decision will be an informed decision.



I'd like a recall option regardless of whether or not a representative has crossed the floor.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

I'd like a recall option regardless of whether or not a representative has crossed the floor.

That would be sensible but only as a minimum improvement over the status quo. I normally do not like recall but floor crossing repudiates the previous election in the riding.

But recall is a minimum. Perhaps there should simply be a mechanism for a by-election.

I would prefer that any sitting member have the right to call a by-election in their own riding to give blessing for floor crossing with their former party having the right to offer a new candidate. The PM should not have the right to delay. This should be a condition of floor crossing.

Put differently -- let floor crossing trigger an immediate byelection without interference or delay from the PM.