THUNDER BAY – Editorial – Many Canadians complain that politicians just don’t listen, or that they vote the party line and not the riding line. Bruce Hyer and John Rafferty have demonstrated, by voting to end the long-gun registry, that there is still some honour and honestly in Canadian politics. Both MPs have been sanctioned by interim NDP leader Nicole Turmel, and with their vote yesterday, likely face more punishment from the New Democrats.
The contrast is stark, both Rafferty and Hyer have campaigned, for two election campaigns on the promise that they would vote to get rid of the long gun registry. The NDP leadership has known that, and under former leader Jack Layton, both MPs were lobbied to support the party line, but never sanctioned.
Jack Layton had the respect of democracy that appears missing in his hand-picked interim leader.
The real story here is one of elected representatives representing those people who voted for them to be their voices in parliament.
This concept has, sadly become so rare that Thunder Bays MPs are now being branded “mavericks” by some in the media. If Rafferty and Hyer are “mavericks” then Canadians and political parties need to start realizing that one of the reasons so many people don’t have a lot of respect for most politicians is that they are often like cookie-cutters of what their leaders demand of them. Far too many politicians forget that once their time in office is over all they will have left is their personal integrity. If they don’t stand up for the people they were elected to represent, that integrity won’t be there.
Far too often politicians, once elected get caught up in the party machine and the premise of the capital where politics overrides representing the people back home. One does not have to support the New Democrats, or either of the two Thunder Bay MPs, to respect the fact that by keeping their promises to the people they represent that they have demonstrated how the system is supposed to work.
Like them, vote for them, and demand they are representing the riding to Ottawa, not Ottawa to the riding should be the mantra of all politicians.
Their leaders should support that. That far too often they do not is a sad commentary.
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