Official Rabble Floor Crossing Thread

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cco

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Well, it wouldn't be an instant by-election if some member didn't vote by the whip... unless they were expelled.  If so, I suppose it could result in a by-election if some other party opportunistically said "Hey, come join us!!".  If that member elected to sit as an independent then I would need no need for a by-election.

If that's the only rule, then the House basically plays its own version of the Liberal Senate game. "No, of course they're not a member of our caucus! There's a huge difference between an NDP MP and an Independent NDPer!"

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Fair point, I suppose.

But I do like this:

Quote:
If people think floor-crossing is so much worse a betrayal of the voters than anything else a politician can do, what's wrong with a BC-style recall option? Then if enough voters agree that the MP needs to go, there could be a voter-driven process to replace him or her.

Seems to cover everything.

Sean in Ottawa

It is wrong, I think to see this as normal floor crossing.

He was expelled and that already is a floor crossing.

His constituents elected someone backed up by a party. Being a member of another party in many ways is more similar than being member of no party. You see how much harder it is to get elected as an independent. I think that most voters want their members to be in a party and part of that larger block for many reasons.

I think that the rules of loyalty to a party -- for voters and for the party -- are fair and a by-election reasonable if you want to change that as an MP. But if you are kicked out, then I think you should get to choose if you want to remain independent, form a new party or go to another existing party.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Here's my thinking.  Suppose I voted for local Liberal Dougie McDougall, but then he goes and gets himself kicked.

If I voted for him in order to be able to vote for the Liberal Party, why wouldn't I be at least inclined to support their assessment and rejection of him?  In other words, if he was not a "good Liberal" then why would I back HIM, the individual over the Party that I really support?  Particularly because turfing him would mean renouncing a seat, which parties are typically reluctant to do without reason?

And if I voted for him because he's a stand-up guy who's always there to hear the concerns of constituents and do what he can for us, then why would I care that he's now an independent?  Sure, it would be nice if he had the support and resources of a party behind him, but he's still the same ol' Dougie.

But maybe the best solution would be to automatically trigger a by-election whenever an MPP:

1.  chooses to leave their party

2.  is forced to leave their party

and regardless of whether that MP/MPP:

1.  hopes to join another party

2.  hopes to (or has to) go it alone

It's the only solution I can think of that gives control of the outcome to the electors, and not the MP/MPP or a party.

Mighty Middle

Former NDP MLA Karen McPherson, who quit the governing party’s caucus to sit as an independent, has joined the Alberta Party. 

Now the AB NDP can't complain because they accepted a floor crosser of their own Sandra Jansen

http://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/mla-karen-mcpherson-to-join-the...

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Why is anybody still beating this horse?

Mighty Middle

Ken Burch wrote:

Why is anybody still beating this horse?

Because this is the floor crossing thread

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I mean why is this thread still going?  It's absurd for anyone to still be indignant that Notley didn't force the former PC MLA, a person who could really be more accurately be called a provincial political refugee, to fight a byelection before joining the NDP caucus.  This was clearly a special case; this person had been hounded out her own party through misogynistic threats; why is it such a big deal that Notley didn't either force one of her own MLA's to stand down from her or his seat OR force the former PC to refight her own riding as a Dipper and suffer an overwhelming defeat?  What is there in this to be so relentlessly vindictive about?  This was a special case-it had nothing in common with, say Belinda Stronach joining the federal Liberals or Paul Hellyer going back and forth between the Liberal and PC benches at random intervals.  Stronach's case was cynicism and personal issues-Hellyer's was just random weirdness.  This case was about protecting a fellow woman politician who may have been in outright physical danger.  

It doesn't merit anything like the self-righteous vitriol that's been displayed in this thread.  And nothing about it could possibly be worth giving the Jason Kenney any extra help at the next Alberta election.

Sean in Ottawa

Mighty Middle wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

Why is anybody still beating this horse?

Because this is the floor crossing thread

Since this is the floor crossing thread then can we have a generic title rather than the partisan and specific tilte it has now?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
why is it such a big deal that Notley didn't either force one of her own MLA's to stand down from her or his seat OR force the former PC to refight her own riding as a Dipper and suffer an overwhelming defeat?

Uh, but why would she suffer an overwhelming defeat?  Because her constituents wouldn't (re)vote for her?

If you assume that her constituents would no longer support her, isn't that a problem?

Quote:
This case was about protecting a fellow woman politician who may have been in outright physical danger.  

OhForGord'sSake.  Yes, this wasn't a free seat, it was the rescue of a fellow human being from certain death. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
why is it such a big deal that Notley didn't either force one of her own MLA's to stand down from her or his seat OR force the former PC to refight her own riding as a Dipper and suffer an overwhelming defeat?

Uh, but why would she suffer an overwhelming defeat?  Because her constituents wouldn't (re)vote for her?

If you assume that her constituents would no longer support her, isn't that a problem?

Quote:
This case was about protecting a fellow woman politician who may have been in outright physical danger.  

OhForGord'sSake.  Yes, this wasn't a free seat, it was the rescue of a fellow human being from certain death. 

The reason I think making her contest her old riding as a Dipper would have meant an overwhelming defeat was that it was a riding that had always been overwhelmingly PC.  A riding like that wouldn't swing to the NDP solely on the personal following of a politician.

And she had left her old party in significant measure because she had recieved numerous credible threats of bodily harm.  Were she forced into an instant byelection campaign, it was not out of the question that somebody on the Alberta right might try to end her.

Maybe she should have stayed an independent who took the NDP whip until the next election.  But now that the next election is only months away, why does this still even matter?  

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The reason I think making her contest her old riding as a Dipper would have meant an overwhelming defeat was that it was a riding that had always been overwhelmingly PC.  A riding like that wouldn't swing to the NDP solely on the personal following of a politician.

My point is that the electorate should get to decide.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but you seem to be suggesting that her old riding probably wouldn't want her voting with a different party, and also that her old riding should get no say in that matter.  It's a shame they have to be Conservatives and all, but really.  I can't see any reason why the electorate shouldn't be permitted to choose.

Quote:
And she had left her old party in significant measure because she had recieved numerous credible threats of bodily harm.  Were she forced into an instant byelection campaign, it was not out of the question that somebody on the Alberta right might try to end her.

To be honest, I think this is bordering on silly-talk.  But let's go with it:  you're telling me that by defecting to the "Socialist" party, and forcing that choice on her constitutents, is what will guarantee her safety???

Quote:
But now that the next election is only months away, why does this still even matter?  

How many months?  Hallowe'en 2018 is only "months" away, too.  12 of them.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
The reason I think making her contest her old riding as a Dipper would have meant an overwhelming defeat was that it was a riding that had always been overwhelmingly PC.  A riding like that wouldn't swing to the NDP solely on the personal following of a politician.

My point is that the electorate should get to decide.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but you seem to be suggesting that her old riding probably wouldn't want her voting with a different party, and also that her old riding should get no say in that matter.  It's a shame they have to be Conservatives and all, but really.  I can't see any reason why the electorate shouldn't be permitted to choose.

Quote:
And she had left her old party in significant measure because she had recieved numerous credible threats of bodily harm.  Were she forced into an instant byelection campaign, it was not out of the question that somebody on the Alberta right might try to end her.

To be honest, I think this is bordering on silly-talk.  But let's go with it:  you're telling me that by defecting to the "Socialist" party, and forcing that choice on her constitutents, is what will guarantee her safety???

Quote:
But now that the next election is only months away, why does this still even matter?  

How many months?  Hallowe'en 2018 is only "months" away, too.  12 of them.

Isn't it 2019? About 18 months...

I do not agree with the position. However, I disagree that the federal NDP has to answer for it.

I think you can have a person cuacus with you as independent. You can even invite an independent to join a government. But I do not agree that they should wear your colours without running under them.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I think you can have a person cuacus with you as independent. You can even invite an independent to join a government. But I do not agree that they should wear your colours without running under them.

I'm not sure what went off the rails, nor for whom, but I guess we agree.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I'd have actually said she should caucus with them as an independent myself, my points were that,

1) At MOST, this attaches solely to the Alberta NDP, and I'm not sure how much this even attaches to them;

2) I believe a legitimate case could be made for this being special circumstances;

3) The electorate will get a chance to decide at the next provincial election.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I'd have actually said she should caucus with them as an independent myself, my points were that,

1) At MOST, this attaches solely to the Alberta NDP, and I'm not sure how much this even attaches to them;

2) I believe a legitimate case could be made for this being special circumstances;

3) The electorate will get a chance to decide at the next provincial election.

Sean in Ottawa

Ken Burch wrote:

I'd have actually said she should caucus with them as an independent myself, my points were that,

1) At MOST, this attaches solely to the Alberta NDP, and I'm not sure how much this even attaches to them;

2) I believe a legitimate case could be made for this being special circumstances;

3) The electorate will get a chance to decide at the next provincial election.

All true -- I disagree with the decision but it is not the federal issue some want to make it out to be.

Pondering

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Mighty Middle wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

Why is anybody still beating this horse?

Because this is the floor crossing thread

Since this is the floor crossing thread then can we have a generic title rather than the partisan and specific tilte it has now?

I second the motion for a new thread title.

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

It's the only solution I can think of that gives control of the outcome to the electors, and not the MP/MPP or a party.

The thing is our system is designed such that we elect a member of parliament. The seat does not belong to a party nor to a prime minister. Once elected the seat belongs to the MP. For me the MP is just who I'm stuck with in order to get the PM of my choice. I'm not voting for the party either. I don't vote ideologically I vote based on who I think will do the best job running Canada for the next four years.

Even so I support the seat belonging to the MP, the person I elected to represent my interests in parliament, not the interests of the party or even the PM. As long as that is the case there is always the potential to pressure my local member to vote the way I want on an issue I feel strongly about.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:

It's the only solution I can think of that gives control of the outcome to the electors, and not the MP/MPP or a party.

Even so I support the seat belonging to the MP, the person I elected to represent my interests in parliament, not the interests of the party or even the PM. As long as that is the case there is always the potential to pressure my local member to vote the way I want on an issue I feel strongly about.

I think most vote party or leader so changing these is a problem -- but you raise a good point with respect to the empowerment of voters. MPs can also only hold heir governments to account if they can leave. The trouble I have is joining a new party without a vote under that banner. I think they should be independent until the next election if they leave. I do think parties can allow independents to join their meetings and to even be in a government. But I do not think they should wear their identity without a new vote.

So it seems in this that I am somewhere between the NDP in Alberta's position (which is like other parties) and the federal NDP position. I have more flexibility than the federal NDP bu do not accept the changing colours others including the Alberta NDP agree with.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Once elected the seat belongs to the MP.

I guess I don't see the seat as "belonging" to anyone but the constitutents.  I would never suggest that if an MP leaves or is expelled from a party that the party should keep that seat without the MP, but I also don't think the MP should necessarily keep the seat without the party.

You seem to acknowledge that voting for a local MP of a specific party is, in fact, how Canadians attempt to elect a governing party -- that only works when electors have say in not just which individual they elect, but which party they add "+1 seat" to.

Quote:
For me the MP is just who I'm stuck with in order to get the PM of my choice. I'm not voting for the party either.

I'm not sure I follow.  You can't really hope to get the PM of your choice without voting for his/her party.

Quote:
I think they should be independent until the next election if they leave. I do think parties can allow independents to join their meetings and to even be in a government. But I do not think they should wear their identity without a new vote.

Exactly.  One only hopes that the absolute freedom to vote however they wish, and to support or oppose whatever they want doesn't turn them off party politics altogether.  :)

But yes, an independent who would like to join a party is free to vote along with that party (and perhaps, as you say, become even more involved with that party) until such time as the electorate can bless their choice.  From a Parliamentary point of view, I don't see how it would make any difference if an independent votes alongside the NDP, or a "New NDP MP" votes alongside the NDP.  A vote's a vote, even down to votes of non-confidence.

cco

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

The trouble I have is joining a new party without a vote under that banner. I think they should be independent until the next election if they leave. I do think parties can allow independents to join their meetings and to even be in a government. But I do not think they should wear their identity without a new vote.

If they can attend caucus meetings and be cabinet ministers, what important principle of voter accountability is upheld by making sure the CPAC chyron says "independent" until the next election?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Out of respect for the electors in that riding, who did not choose to support that party?

If Flin Flon elects a Conservative with an overwhelming majority, then that MP crosses the floor, it seems a bit inaccurate and unreasonable to now pretend that they chose the NDP with an overwhelming majority just because that MP had an epiphany.

cco

Who's pretending? It's not like electoral records are altered. In fact, if the concern is the ignorant random Canadian who might be misled by tuning in to CPAC, it seems unfair to display an MP as an independent, either, since the voters voted for a Tory.

Perhaps CPAC and Hansard can add an extra line for floor-crossers: NDP (elected as Conservative). Of course, I've been advocating something similar for the Senate since Trudeau's sleight-of-hand: Independent (appointed by a Liberal).

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It's not like electoral records are altered. In fact, if the concern is the ignorant random Canadian who might be misled by tuning in to CPAC, it seems unfair to display an MP as an independent, either, since the voters voted for a Tory.

My personal thinking is that a prompt byelection is the solution to the confusion.  Let the member campaign and run under the new party banner, and then we know.

I think sitting as an independent still makes more sense (even if it's primarily symbolic) than just showing up in the HoC one day and saying "whattya all think of my new orange tie? *wink*"  And it's certainly not the end of the world, but most of the stuff we discuss isn't.

 

Mighty Middle

cco wrote:

Perhaps CPAC and Hansard can add an extra line for floor-crossers: NDP (elected as Conservative).

I LOVE that idea!

cco wrote:
Of course, I've been advocating something similar for the Senate since Trudeau's sleight-of-hand: Independent (appointed by a Liberal).

Don't forget the Senators appointed by Harper who are now Independents. It would have to be Independent (appointed by a Conservative).

But I think both ideas are great cco!

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:
I guess I don't see the seat as "belonging" to anyone but the constitutents.  I would never suggest that if an MP leaves or is expelled from a party that the party should keep that seat without the MP, but I also don't think the MP should necessarily keep the seat without the party.

We don't elect a party or a PM. We only elect an MP. Technically the MPs could have chosen anyone as PM. They didn't have to choose Trudeau. From a practical perspective the way the money is arranged in politics makes the MPs more beholden to the party than to the people they represent.

The MP still pretty much owns the seat. No one can remove them short of arresting them. There is no recall mechanism. The party has no power over the seat.  The PM can call another election so I suppose that is another means through which they can be removed but they could also be re-elected.

Mr. Magoo wrote:
You seem to acknowledge that voting for a local MP of a specific party is, in fact, how Canadians attempt to elect a governing party -- that only works when electors have say in not just which individual they elect, but which party they add "+1 seat" to.

I don't elect a party. I think they should have zero power. I wish they didn't exist at all. If I had a choice I would vote for a PM knowing who his cabinet would be and I would vote for a local MP separately. The government would then have to win the support of parliament rather than parties whipping votes. That's not going to happen so I have to deal with the system we have.

Mr. Magoo wrote:
I'm not sure I follow.  You can't really hope to get the PM of your choice without voting for his/her party.

We vote for MPs who happen to belong to one party or another. We don't vote for parties. Even though my motivation in voting is to choose a PM technically the MP I vote in can vote for any parliamentarian they choose to because whatever my motivation I don't get to vote for a party or a PM. I only get to vote for an MP.

Even under PR I would not get to vote for the PM and I would be forced to give parties even more power than they already have. The parties would negotiate to decide who should be the PM and under what terms. It could easily take weeks or months to decide which parties will form government and who those parties will choose to place as PM.

Under the current system in practice the PM is decided the night of the election based on the votes of Canadians even though those votes come by way of electing MPs belonging to a particular party whose leader is most popular.

Election campaigns don't talk about parties they focus on the leader and star candidates for cabinet positions. The pundits don't write about the parties they write about the leaders and how well or how poorly the leader is fairing because most Canadians vote based on the leaders not the parties.

In practice the parties divy up based on the left/right/centre spectrum to try to appeal to a particular demographic but I think that is beginning to fall apart. Before Syriza won they appealed to voters to forget about left and right, they ran on anti-austerity. But this is a conversation for another thread.

In terms of this thread MPs are free agents once elected. Parties keep them in line by holding the purse strings for the next election. The MP has to judge if they are strong enough to get elected on their own name too.

I am astounded any independents manage to get themselves elected.

cco

Pondering wrote:

I don't elect a party. I think they should have zero power. I wish they didn't exist at all. If I had a choice I would vote for a PM knowing who his cabinet would be and I would vote for a local MP separately. The government would then have to win the support of parliament rather than parties whipping votes.

As testimony to the efficacy of this system, I'd like to enter into evidence "The United States of America".

Sean in Ottawa

cco wrote:
Mr. Magoo wrote:

Well, it wouldn't be an instant by-election if some member didn't vote by the whip... unless they were expelled.  If so, I suppose it could result in a by-election if some other party opportunistically said "Hey, come join us!!".  If that member elected to sit as an independent then I would need no need for a by-election.

If that's the only rule, then the House basically plays its own version of the Liberal Senate game. "No, of course they're not a member of our caucus! There's a huge difference between an NDP MP and an Independent NDPer!"

There is a major difference. A floor crosser is not an incumbant and must be accepted by the riding association that members control. The floor crosser has to represent themselves up to the next election as not having run for the party. These may be minor to you and if they are it makes it even less defensible that a floor crosser can wear the colours of the new party without election. There is nothing they cannot do in parliament if accepted except say the are of the new party. They ahve to seek the support of a riding association and that is big. But they can sit in caucus (just as independents can in the US).

Sean in Ottawa

cco wrote:

Who's pretending? It's not like electoral records are altered. In fact, if the concern is the ignorant random Canadian who might be misled by tuning in to CPAC, it seems unfair to display an MP as an independent, either, since the voters voted for a Tory.

Perhaps CPAC and Hansard can add an extra line for floor-crossers: NDP (elected as Conservative). Of course, I've been advocating something similar for the Senate since Trudeau's sleight-of-hand: Independent (appointed by a Liberal).

 

People can see their vote -- and parties at times vote across party lines. The difference is they have to go through the riding and win there if they want the label.

JKR

Pondering wrote:
 I am astounded any independents manage to get themselves elected. 

No independents were elected out of 338 ridings in the last election! One way to reduce the complete dominance of the political parties would be to elect people through the PR-STV electoral system. Ireland uses PR-STV and they elect many independent candidates. I think PR-STV is the best electoral system but it is not an easy sell to the general public as it is a complicated system that can be easily attacked by politicians who benefit unfairly from the status quo.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
but it is not an easy sell to the general public as it is a complicated system that can be easily attacked by politicians who benefit unfairly from the status quo.

Or really just anyone who doesn't want to have to do math.

Mighty Middle

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Since this is the floor crossing thread then can we have a generic title rather than the partisan and specific tilte it has now?

Just found out now that the OP can now change/edit thread titles. So it has been changed.

WWWTT

At times I believe this whole switching parties after an election is way overblown. There are many things that elected representatives do in parliament that has nothing to do with political parties. This argument in my opinion only gives more weight/value/merit to the political party system. And the political party in my opinion has degraded the value of our government.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Mighty Middle wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Since this is the floor crossing thread then can we have a generic title rather than the partisan and specific tilte it has now?

Just found out now that the OP can now change/edit thread titles. So it has been changed.

Thank you.

Caissa

Until we get PR, I support floor crossing without having to run in a by election.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

So once we have PR, it won't be OK anymore?

cco

Well, I can certainly see the argument that if someone holds a seat in the House by way of a top-up party list -- which is to say that in that case, people really did explicitly vote for the party, not the member -- crossing the floor would be a betrayal of the will of the voters. My personal preference would not be to ban floor-crossing in that case, since it'd validate the fears of the PR opponents, creating two classes of MPs and giving the parties too much control. The solution to a PR floor-crossing should be the same as the solution to FPTP floor-crossing: You're not on our list anymore, and good luck getting onto the other party's list next time.

Caissa

Yes, Magoo.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Can you flesh out why the electoral model makes all the difference?

Because if I vote for and help elect an NDP MP, it's kind of my expectation that they won't wake up one day and announce that they're a CPC MP.  Doesn't really matter to me what electoral model.

Caissa

Don't be disingenuous. Under FPTP we elect an individual who happens to have a party affiliation. In PR we vote for a party and the seats are allocated to individuals on the party's list. It may not matter to you but it is objectively different.

Sean in Ottawa

I do wonder how many people when voting know anything about the candidate other than the fact they represent x party.

According to Ipsos 51% of voters are swayed byt the party positions, 33% by the leader and 16 by the candidate. A floor crosser is going against 84% of the reason they were elected by these numbers.

We can debate how accurate the poll is but the poll would have to be completely wrong for this not to be a huge issue.

"It is considered accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20."

https://globalnews.ca/news/2209685/voters-influenced-by-party-stance-not...

I think that may be a minority which is why floor crossing is problematic.

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