Tuesday, June 01, 2004
So lets see -- Harper says he won't change the languages act, though the designated Tory languages critic says they should. And Harper says he won't hamper women's access to abortion, though the designated Tory health critic says they should. So what, exactly, would the Tories do?
This quote from 16th paragraph of this Globe and Mail story is actually the led:
"While the party's platform has not yet been fully released, Mr. Harper's position on abortion is that he would not bring forward any changes to the law. However, if a backbencher pressed the issue, he would allow a free vote." (emphasis mine) Well, you can bet that some Reform backbenchers will "press the issue" so to speak.
Welcome, Canada, to the chaotic world of "free votes", where you elect someone without a clue about what they will do once elected. Free votes are basically a license for every kook and nutcase in Canada to get busy -- organizing pressure groups in ridings, picketing constituency offices, running newspaper and radio ads to get their local MP to vote their way.
Excuse me, Mr. Harper, but in Canada we have PARTIES which have PLATFORMS. Based on the platform, people decide who they will vote for during the ELECTION CAMPAIGN. Then the party which RECEIVES THE MOST VOTES gets to enact its platform by, if necessary, exerting party discipline over its own members to make sure they vote for the platform which the MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE supported. Its called parliamentary democracy.
It doesn't work very well when, two weeks into the campaign, a party doesn't yet have its platform organized -- "trust us" is not a platform. And it doesn't work at all if, once elected, an MP is constantly subjected to pressure from individuals or organizations in his riding to vote their way, regardless of what his electorate wanted.
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