This week Erin O’Toole announced his Conservative Party’s shadow cabinet. Until further notice these individual MPs will presumably spend most of their time tracking every move of their counterpart Liberal ministers eagerly searching for a decision or comment made on the file that the Conservatives can use to highlight what they would have done differently.
Given the limited and shrinking daylight between the two legacy parties the task of identifying any variations is a full-time job.
One obvious difference is the government has 38 ministers yet somehow opposition needs 46 shadow ministers. God forbid MP’s stay focused on the people that elected them. In some sense those represented by backbenchers are the lucky ones.
The bulk of the value from this opposition shadow cabinet structure is absorbed by the Conservative Party itself and used to identify and publicize distinctions between the two legacy parties. Further, the shadow ministers themselves also benefit by raising their profile within the Party however, very little value is derived to the very constituents the elected MP’s exist to represent.
Our system was designed for the people of each riding to elect a representative to be our voice in Parliament. Full stop, that’s it. That design has flipped with the Conservative Party member now in our riding forced to vote and take positions at O’Toole’s behest (His will today can be found by browsing headlines in Le Journal de Montreal and the Toronto Star from yesterday). Increasingly our MP’s are whipped into towing the party line with their constituents priorities coming in a distant second if at all.
Recent examples of this include the mandatory silence from all Conservative MP’s on the six billion dollar federal transfer to Quebec this August for daycare, as well as the deliberate avoidance of taking a position on the Alberta Equalization referendum.
Where are the Conservative MP’s representing the good people of Saskatchewan coming out in support of Premier Scott Moe’s recent proclamation that his province should be a ‘Nation within a Nation’ as La Belle Province did so seamlessly this summer?!? Again, crickets.
All of the theater and grandstanding coming from the COP26 conference while our MP’s in the energy sector look past their constituents for their leaders approval to have an opinion. Do we not deserve representatives that will fight for us and our industries unconflicted by central Canadian voters?
The rationale of silencing the Western MP’s, silencing our voice, so as to not compromise the Conservative Party ambitions in Quebec is politics at its worst and at our expense.
Your voice and the elected representative that exists to amplify it in Ottawa is being muzzled by party politics with increasingly misaligned interests, and we deserve better.
For this simple fact, all the Conservative MP’s should reject their parties shadow cabinet appointment in favor of allocating 100% of their effort to people they exist to represent.
Josh Wylie is a Candidate of Record for Maverick Party in the federal riding of Foothills.