Just over one week ago the duly-elected Member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway turned his back on the people of this riding and crossed the floor to accept a cabinet post with the very party he claimed to oppose.
Mr. Emerson put his personal interests ahead of the democratic wishes of the people of Vancouver Kingsway. That’s wrong.
It was an affront to democracy and a slap in the face to the people of Vancouver Kingsway. People here deserve better. Every voter in Canada deserves better.
There are people saying that what David Emerson has done is okay. People like the conservative mayor of Vancouver, former Conservative Prime Minister Kim Campbell and other Conservative MPs who voted against floor-crossing last year, but now say it’s okay.
But I say it’s not up to them to decide who represents the people of Vancouver Kingsway. It’s up to the people of Vancouver Kingsway.
What Mr. Emerson fails to realize is that the people of Vancouver Kingsway have a seat in the House of Commons as a means through which their voices will be heard, not as a means to ensure that he gets to keep his limousine driver. His actions show contempt for democracy and a refusal to listen to the people of this riding.
If Mr. Emerson doesn’t want to listen to the people of his riding – we will. And we’ll do more.
Today I am announcing that at our earliest opportunity the NDP will table its anti-floor crossing bill in the House of Commons as an Opposition Day Motion. This course of action will ensure that this bill is debated in the House of Commons and voted upon.
This way, every Canadian will see exactly where their MP stands on this vital democratic principle.
The bill will ensure that if a duly-elected Member of Parliament wishes to cross the floor and sit with another party, they may do so only after successfully getting the permission of their voters in a by-election.
Of course, this issue could be dealt with more quickly were Mr. Harper to include this democratic measure in his Accountability Act – which he has committed to making a priority.
What happened to the people of Vancouver Kingsway shouldn’t happen to them again – it should never happen to any voter in Canada again.
And with our bill, it won’t.