OPINION: Court Should Side With Steven Fletcher Vs. Manitoba Government
WINNIPEG, MB – As Steven Fletcher heads to court to challenge a Manitoba law banning floor-crossing, it’s clear that the court should side with Fletcher’s position.
The 2006 law that bans floor crossing clearly goes against the idea of freedom-of-association, and gives even more power to the already overpowered political parties of Manitoba.
It’s easy to forget, but political parties were once intended to be far less formal groupings, and elected representatives first duty was seen as serving their constituents, not their party leader.
Unfortunately, serving the community often falls far down the list as party leaders exert immense authority through the formal structure of the political party.
That structure gives leaders the power to both dole out incentives for toeing the line, and severe punishments for any kind of dissent. Being removed from a party deprives an elected member of significant resources and influence, and serves as a way for party leaders to exert maximum control through fear.
Anything that weakens that system is good news for democracy and the free exchange of ideas, not to mention having better representation for the true views of constituents.
That’s why the court should side with Steven Fletcher, and strike down the 2006 law banning floor crossing.
Manitoba will be far better off if that happens.
Spencer Fernando, MyToba News