Montreal Gazette

We've given our legislator­s a pass


Re: “`I feel thoroughly let down in this election' ” (Clifford Lincoln, Sept. 2)

The opinion piece by Clifford Lincoln and the subsequent letters to the editor illustrate how we have allowed our legislator­s to fail us. They are supposed to be our representa­tives, speaking on our behalf when making decisions that will affect our lives. Instead, we have permitted them to become representa­tives of a particular party and the puppet of the party leader.

Lincoln's support of his friend would be perfectly sensible if his friend were able to speak and vote independen­tly. If such was the case, we would be able to hold our representa­tive to account and decide if, on balance, he or she is being a good representa­tive. I don't expect that he or she will always speak and vote as I would because many of my neighbours don't share my opinion and they are represente­d by the same person.

Currently, it is useless to hold your local representa­tive to account because he or she is just following “the party line.” In that sense, we don't elect a free parliament, especially when one party has a majority. A legislatur­e composed of representa­tives who spoke and voted freely would certainly be more challengin­g for the leaders, but it would be far more interestin­g to watch. The members would truly have to pay attention to one another and work together to formulate our laws. What a strange concept!

Lloyd Brereton, Greenfield Park

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