The concept of party politics will get a good going over with a private member’s bill introduced in the House of Commons Tuesday. With occasional hints at revolt in the Conservative caucus in the past year, the discussion will be interesting.
A central point of the bill tabled by Conservative MP Michael Chong is that too much power has been centralized in the Prime Minister’s Office over the years.
Many charge that Prime Minister Stephen Harper exercises a high degree of control over his caucus, cabinet members and their portfolios. Some might say that’s a good thing, others feel not so much.
As politicians line up on the issue, Chong is hearing support from members across the parties.
The detail in the bill that will most raise eyebrows would be the right within the party, with enough support, to call for a leadership review.
Chong also wants the nomination of candidates for an election to be up to the riding association, rather than the power of signing nomination papers belonging to the party leader.
We can only surmise how the current party leaders will play this out. Whether they allow a free vote on it will have everything to do with the fate of the bill.
Certainly a number of MPs – and their supporters back home – will be interested.
It does raise a number of points about the grassroots level of politics.
Is a party based on a leader with a strong vision about the direction of the country or on a group of elected people who hash out policy as a team?
An interesting parallel to this was criticism directed by some at Justin Trudeau who, as a new leader, began consulting people in his fold for insight into issues facing a government. Some contended that was a sign of weakness or inexperience, and that his father, Pierre Trudeau, certainly wouldn’t have stooped to consulting with others.
Perhaps not. But while some might see a broader collaboration as a sign of insecurity, others would consider that willingness to consult as a strength.