Recently there are a lot of news reports focusing on NDP leader Jack Layton and his position on Candice Hoeppner's Bill C-391 to scrap Canada's long gun registry.
Jack's primary concern is that Canadians not blame him or his party if the long gun registry is scrapped.
What he's REALLY concerned about, however, is getting his urban MPs re-elected. Urban votes. He really couldn't give a rats a** about his rural MPs.
He should. For a couple of reasons:
- They form a large part of his caucus
- Many of them only won their seats by slim margins.
To his credit, Layton has refused to "whip the vote" and force his caucus to vote the way he wants them to. That is to his credit. Not because he's a good guy, don't' get me wrong. When it comes to "gun control" Jack is as anti-gun as they get. If he thought he could get away with it politically, he'd whip the vote in a heartbeat. But he can't. So he won't.
But all his crying of "Don't blame the NDP" are about sucking up to his urban voters, most of whom hate guns as much as Layton does.
"Our members are in constant touch with their constituents," Layton said Friday. "Our members represent their constituents, and always have, and have brought their views forward."
He's at least paying lip service to the notion of democracy, which is more than can be said for Liberal leader Michael Ignatief. Ignatief is demanding his MPs vote the will of their party leader, and ignore the will of their constituents.
Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca's Liberal MP Keith Martin is a good example. Martin voted FOR Bill C-391 on 2nd Reading. As well he should have. His riding is largely rural, and with a lot of hunters and target shooters.
Now Martin is saying he's switching his vote, not because his party leader demanded it, but because "[T]he police feel they need for their safety..."
He defends himself against the charge of caving to his party leader's demands by saying, "On the matter of whipped votes, please rest assured I have a long track record of supporting the wishes of my constituents in the House of Commons over the wishes of my party."
Sounds good on paper Keith.
Perhaps Mr. Martin ought to remember one simple fact: he won his riding in the last election by a mere 62 votes.
Angry voters could well send him into retirement if he ignores their will this time and sides with his party leader instead.