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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

’20 for 2020’ – day 12. Make politicians accountable to their electors, and maybe convince British Columbians that it is actually worth it to cast a vote



This morning, as I begin filling out what was simply a thought starter for todays “20 for 2020” commentary, it is snowing heavily in Kamloops; close, but not quite, a blizzard.

That means I’m snowed in this morning, so at least I’ll have more time for commentary number twelve in our series.

Let’s start out by asking ... have you ever uttered the following, or something similar – or heard others doing the same?

This is the way we feel on the matter and our MLA is voting the exact opposite” ... “Our MLA is just doing what he is told to by his party” ... “Why don’t our MLA’s consider our thoughts on this situation?” ... and on an on the list can go.

The reason for this is, in many instances, because there is a lack of accountability ... and often times it is entirely true that an MLA will vote according to directives from the party he or she represents.  Having a difference of opinion, as long as it is kept within caucus can be tolerated, but not voting according to official party policy won’t be.

That is why we must insist that government relax party discipline to allow for more free votes in the legislature on items which are NOT non-confidence matters.

As former Social Credit and Reform BC MLA Jack Weisgerber once said in the early 1990’s, “We don’t need to change the standing orders or have lengthy debate; we just need to have the political will to do it.  True reform is about having the political will to do the right thing”.

A simply decision could easily be made that other than votes identified as those of confidence (ones which could bring the government down if not passed by the majority in the legislature), MLA’s voting on legislation would be free to vote in a manner they believe best for their constituents.

 

What could those exceptions look like? Three easy ones stand out ... votes on the budget, the Throne Speech, and on legislation a party and MLA have specifically run an election campaign on.

While parties have loosened things up around permitting more free votes in the legislature, over the past number of years, it should become the norm on all matters which are not those of confidence, such as I just mentioned.

As Sean Leslie said in August 2010 ...

Free votes should be encouraged; they should not be a rarity.  I say it’s time for this government, or the next, to try once again to remake the system. Make politicians accountable to their electors, and maybe convince British Columbians that it is actually worth it to cast a vote.”

So, there you have it, today's installment of “20 for 2020”, with an idea that those who wish to govern us, should be willing to do. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, or any of the others which have been presented so far, so feel free to let me know. 


Just a reminder that if you have missed any of the previous ideas and suggestions, from “20 for 2020”, you can catch up at the following links:



#3 … there should be a full review of all license costs and fees, which the provincial government has imposed upon us, to see where and how they are being used

















#11 ...
ICBC’s monopoly on vehicle insure must end

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