Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Member of Parliament, Garth Turner

Member of Parliament, Garth Turner is not the first person to lament about the need to reform parliament. It seems like it is all about Garth Turner right now because he is the latest casualty of a party system that is in need of desperate reform. Political parties have been gutting elected politicians out of the system for decades.

All political parties are the same. If you don't fit their mold then you will be booted one way or the other. I served as a conservative MLA in Saskatchewan for nearly 12 years and then refused to run for re-election in the 1986 provincial election. I don’t think the voters wanted me out, but the brass did. My successor has now been elected four times in a row after my three consecutive elections. The difference between my successor and me is that I only answered to the voters.

This is not about Garth Turner. It is about a political system that must be changed if voters are ever going to be effectively served. Independent members of parliament would never have to answer to party leaders and the inner circle that rules all political parties.

Again, it is not about Garth Turner. It is about the voters. What have they been saying? How pleased are they with politicians, the system or parliament? Ask them what they think? Ask Larry Spencer or Grant Devine (former Premier of Saskatchewan) who both were denied the right to run for office as a conservative and in fact had their membership denied. I just tore up mine, as did Garth Turner.

I have been involved in politics for over 43 years. I date back to the days of Dief the Chief. What happened to that former great Prime Minister?

Why not kick Peter McKay out of the party? He has caused more trouble than Garth Turner.

Count me in as an independent. I have advocated it for over two decades. I have no membership in any political party and have not recently contributed financially to any party. The system is not working and there are numerous books and commentaries from intelligent people that have been addressing the concerns for years.

I am no different than the voters. I simply want good government and for the rules of democracy to apply to all who seek office or are elected to office. You cannot challenge a sitting conservative Member of Parliament's nomination. It is Harper's rule. How is that democratic? This is a conservative party that was born out of a merger with the reform party and a party who was always talking about grass roots. That was until they gained power. Now they dictate and control. Is that any different than communism or dictatorships?

Think about it! The Devine conservatives let power overcome them, which spawned the worst scandal in Saskatchewan’s political history. The voters threw them out at the next election. The federal liberals let power overcome them and they were defeated over the sponsorship scandal. Government’s are rarely defeated. They defeat themselves.

The voters do have power at every election, but it is too late. It is after all the damage and loss of tax dollars has occurred. We need to change the system so we have accountability on a day-to-day basis. Limiting terms of office may be one solution to reducing the bad apples in the barrel. If we don’t make changes soon we risk having the whole barrel go rotten.

The Harper conservatives are in power and have recklessly positioned themselves on the edge of that great political abyss that has served as a dark hole of obscurity for many political parties and politicians before them.

Garth Turner, like others before him, is a grain of sand washed out with the tide and democracy and the voters are the real losers. Interestingly, he will be spared from the abyss, which is reserved for those who offend the voters.