OPINION: Booting Steven Fletcher A Mistake
WINNIPEG, MB – There’s a reason our political system has “confidence votes.” Certain things are considered essential to a political party maintaining their hold on the Legislature.
The key confidence measure is the provincial budget. If it doesn’t get enough MLA support, it fails and the government falls. Outside of budgets and other votes – often at the discretion of the government – there is no reason a government can’t withstand debate. There is no logical reason why MLAs can’t vote against their own party when those votes don’t risk taking the government down.
Keep in mind that all Manitoba PC MLAs – including Steven Fletcher – supported the 2017 budget.
The PCs have a huge majority, so there is zero chance they will lose a confidence vote and be brought down.
As a result, they can afford to encourage debate and give MLA’s the space to have some independence.
That’s why booting Steven Fletcher is a big mistake.
Fletcher was speaking out against the government, yet he posed no risk to the survival of the government. Additionally, he was speaking out from a perspective shared by the core voters who elected the PCs. After all, Fletcher was criticizing the creation of a new government bureaucracy (“efficiency” Manitoba), which sounds much more like something the NDP would have set up.
Letting Fletcher continue speaking out, even if it made Pallister and other MLAs uncomfortable, would have sent a signal to disgruntled PC voters that they at least had someone addressing their concerns.
By removing him, those voters will now question whether the PCs want to listen to different views, or whether there’s more of a focus on having a bunch of “yes” men and “yes” women who do what the Premier says in every instance.
Also, it’s hilarious to think that Pallister really “recused himself” from the decision. There is ZERO chance anyone would have been removed from the Caucus without Pallister’s approval.
How democratic is Manitoba?
Democracy is supposed to be an ongoing process. If we just vote once every 4 years, and then our parties are governed as leader-dominated dictatorships in-between, how democratic are we really?
This problem extends to all parties, as the interpretation of our political system has become skewed towards treating MLAs as easily replaceable talking point readers for the Leaders office, rather than as people who truly represent the constituents who elected them.
The suppression of dissent and punishment of independent thinking is dangerously eroding what democracy we may have left.
Spencer Fernando, MyToba News