Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Crossing the house should not be allowed

I still find it a bit difficult to believe that it is legal for a politician to "cross the House", as they say. It seems to happen with great regularity, at both upper levels of government, and the defection of Eve Adams from the federal Conservatives to the Liberals is just the latest in this dubious tendency.
It often occurs, it seems to me, just as a particular political party is starting to fall on hard times, or at least looks as though it may do so before the next election. These, then, are the early rats leaving possibly sinking ships. I don't get the impression that these are conscientious politicians experiencing a life-changing change of heart: rather, these are professional politicians looking to their careers and their legacies.
Setting aside the question of why Liberal leader Justin Trudeau would agree to such a thing in the first place (Ms. Adams can hardly be considered a great political prize), this particular defection does not tip the balance of power in any meaningful way, it is just a prelude to the shenanigans to come during the election campaign later this year. It looks like Ms. Adams will not even have to face her own electorate again during that election, but will be strategically placed in another riding entirely.
Perhaps I should be happy the Conservatives have one less MP, but I just think of all those people who voted for a representative from a particular political party to represent their views in Parliament, who suddenly see their representative voting in the opposite direction. It seems like the kind of loophole in the political process that should be specifically precluded by law.
Come the election, of course, Ms. Adams can stand for whichever party she likes (actually, Stephen Harper has told her in no uncertaim terms that the Conservatives don't want her anyway, especially after she called them "fearmongers and bullies"). But she will then have to face down and justify the disconnect in being an incumbent for one party and a candidate for another.

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