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The wrong job for her

['Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely']
['Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely']

Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely

Sometimes things just seem to serendipitously fall into place, and this week was one of those times.

In last week's column I wrote about the need to strengthen the qualifications required of candidates running for public office. One of my arguments was that the lack of effective qualifications can lead to the election of clearly unqualified representatives. Almost before the ink was dry an Alberta politician proved my point in spades.

Robyn Luff, who was elected as the New Democratic Party member for Calgary East announced she would be boycotting the legislature as her way of protesting against what she considered the intimidation of party discipline.

Among her complaints were that her Members Statement had to be vetted by the caucus before being delivered and that she had to endorse government announcements as a member of the government caucus.

In announcing her boycott Luff issued an ultimatum to the premier to overturn the whole party discipline process or she was not going to work.

She even suggested that cabinet ministers be selected by an independent body rather than the elected Premier.

By her actions, Luff has clearly shown she had no idea of the role of a member of the House and no knowledge of how the Westminster system of government works.

The cohesion of caucus is critical to the maintenance of the confidence of the House. And governments under the Westminster system serve only with the confidence of the House, as the recent New Brunswick situation illustrated. Had Ms. Luff wanted the freedom of an independent member of the House she should have sought election as an independent candidate. Running with the support of a political party requires some support for that party in the Legislature.

To their credit the NDP caucus voted unanimously to expel Luff, allowing her to sit as the independent she apparently wants to be.

Or better yet, she should resign from a job she clearly is not qualified to hold.

Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister who lives in Springhill.

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