Speaker Scheer Defended Democracy. Prime Minister Scheer will do the same.
Throughout this leadership race, candidates – including me -- have been telling you what they would do if they were Prime Minister. Mostly you’ve had to take our word for it. But on delivering and ensuring more freedom for MPs, I have already delivered and as Leader and Prime Minister, I will continue to uphold that.
The most important role of a Member of Parliament is to represent his or her constituents. They do this by speaking in the House, voting on bills and introducing their own private member’s legislation.
Far too often party whips and leaders hold too much control. There are often attempts at limiting the ability of individual MPs from giving a speech in the House on certain subjects.
Consider the decision of Justin Trudeau when he decreed that on a certain matter of conscience, it was his way or the highway. New candidates needed to be on board, or they would not be nominated to run under the Liberal name. Longtime MPs, having faithfully served for decades under that party were forced to abandon their conscience. That is not democracy.
As Speaker, I ruled on a matter upholding the rights of Members of Parliament to speak on matters of importance to them. I ruled that the privilege to speak in the House of Commons does not come from their party whip, but from the voters who sent them to Parliament in the first place. As a result, Members’ rights and freedoms have been reaffirmed.
While many think that allowing MPs greater freedom is controversial, I believe that it is the right thing to do. And you know what? When we take principled stands that we take the time to explain, Canadians understand. Even the media had to agree that my approach was the right way to go.
I believe being the Leader of a party is a tremendous privilege. Being a Member of Parliament is as well. It means being entrusted with the responsibility to act on behalf of those whom we represent.
There are times when I believe party leaders overreach.
It is Parliamentary tradition that government MPs vote with the government on most bills. Generally, these are laws that have been campaigned on or are reflected in the party’s policies. And as I’ve said before, an Andrew Scheer government will be bringing forward bills which reflect the vision of what we as Conservatives can all agree on. Lower taxes, strong communities, economic policies that lift people into better circumstances, principled foreign policy. Given the reckless actions of Trudeau’s government, we will have our work cut out for us.
On matters of conscience, however, I believe very strongly in allowing elected Members of Parliament freedom to speak and vote freely. These are often serious topics and allowing the freedom to debate and vote according to individual conscience allows all voices to be heard. This is paramount to democracy.
I have always, and will continue to defend our democratic institutions and the rights and freedoms of individual MPs. I have been the guardian of those rights in the past, and will again as Leader of our party.
Democracy is a system in which the people elect their representatives and those representatives are accountable to them. The power is with the electorate. I want to empower the MPs in our caucus with the same rights I affirmed for all MPs as Speaker. Some talk about it, I have proven it.