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

Spencer Fernando is a columnist and reporter for MyToba News. You can read more of Spencer’s writing at his website SpencerFernando.com
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3 Comments

  • Sheila Boermann says:

    Nowadays candidates are most often elected for the party they represent.  By crossing the floor they are then depriving their constituents of their elected choice.  If the member wants to change parties than he should be required to give up his seat and rerun in a by-election.  It used to be that people voted for the best candidate rather than the party but that is generally no longer the case.

  • Jim says:

    Fletcher has a bad case of entitlement. He was elected as a conservative and has a duty to his constituency. He was a mediocre MP and was only elected because of an anti NDP backlash.

  • Randy Layhey says:

    He was elected as a Conservative he has a duty to his constituency who voted him in. He can change parties after his run is done and then let the Voters decide. This man is a whiner and cry’s every time he doesn’t get his way…..

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