Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How a Bill Becomes a Law

“At the end of the day, in my opinion, they’ve made up their mind and this is how we’re going to vote. One person is not going to make a difference, one MP is not going to make a difference.”

In some respects, I feel bad for David Wilks. The video that will ultimately destroy his political career doesn't involve bigoted comments, cocaine, or underage girls - it's a candid discussion with 30 constituents about how Ottawa works.

In it, Wilks voices his displeasure with his party's budget, while lamenting that a whiped vote means he has no choice but to support it.

Wilks could easily have blown off this roundtable, recognizing no one attending was ever going to vote Conservative. There are certainly more enjoyable ways to spend a sunny morning in Kootenay-Columbia than walking into a room full of discontents. Instead, Wilks listened and interacted with the people he represents, and he should be applauded for that.

That said, the man has no one to blame for this controversy other than himself. If he truly supports the budget - as he now claims to do - he should have thanked his constituents for their feedback, said he'd consider what they said, then explained to them why he supported the budget.

If he truly opposes the budget - as he said he did yesterday - he should vote against it. Wilks is wrong when he says one MP can't make a difference. John Nunziata and Bill Casey brought more attention to the budgets they opposed than they ever would have by meekly supporting them. Michael Chong's opposition to the Quebec Nation resolution may have prevented Harper from going further down that road. I also like to think that the more acts of defiance we get, the more likely we are to see an attitudinal change in Ottawa that gives a greater say to individual MPs. Some may disagree with me, but I think that would be a welcome shift.

And while it should never be the primary reason for opposing your own government, Nunziata, Casey, and Chong all made names for themselves, were heralded for their decisions, and were rewarded by their constituents at the ballot box.

In comparison, all Wilks' weak-kneed approach ensures is that he will never make it to Cabinet, and that he now has a reputation of placing his party ahead of his conscience and his constituents.

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  • He may as well vote against it. He would gain my respect, and it's not as if he has anything to lose career-wise at this point.

    By Anonymous Sixth Estate, at 4:44 PM  

  • That said, the man has no one to blame for this controversy other than himself.

    I hear what you mean in the post, and I love the ideals you're framing with here; still, I think the ridiculous party system (to me, the fact they have even have a Whip at all says everything) which he's a prisoner of, a system whose machinations most people never give a moment of consideration to, must shoulder some of the blame.

    He had a forbidden moment of candid honesty, was punished behind the scenes for his transgression, and now he says the Approved Thing. Blaming him is kind of sort of like blaming Winston Smith in the final 2 chapters of 1984.

    I mean, I don't know the guy, and have barely heard of him before now. I have a heard a lot about his boss, though - I hear constantly, actually, about what a ruthless and dictatorial bully he is.

    Yet, none of that is to argue or debate your point: you really prove, I think, that one MP can indeed make a difference.

    This is one of your most inspiring and hopeful posts. Terrific work.

    I also like to think that the more acts of defiance we get, the more likely we are to see an attitudinal change in Ottawa that gives a greater say to individual MPs
    I too would welcome this change. Less party-line towing and more individual MP's.


  • As the short-haired wrinkled woman sitting next to him in the video, I must say I agree that it was brave -- and very un-Conservative Party, very un-Harperite -- to engage in dialogue with people he knew disagreed with his party's budget.
    Overall, I don't think he has really backtracked. Putting everything he said in full context, I took him to be just saying "Please believe I'm a nice guy and understand what you're saying (even if perhaps he didn't really understand), and I'm powerless to do anything except maybe maybe take some of your particular concerns to the relevant ministers if there's a chance that exceptions could be made about these concerns"

    By Blogger Unknown, at 1:54 AM  

  • Wow, I'm going to be in Revelstoke in June and I'd like to drop by his local office to shake his hand.

    A CON who actually speaks his mind !

    Also, I didn't know there were any alternative voters in Revelstoke.

    p.s. I'm not the same Anonymous as the last one who posted, as you may gather

    Alternative voter

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