The wrong job for her

The Amherst News - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - Frank Likely Frank Likely is a re­tired Angli­can min­is­ter who lives in Springhill.

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

In my last col­umn, I wrote about the need to strengthen the qual­i­fi­ca­tions re­quired of can­di­dates run­ning for pub­lic of­fice. One of my ar­gu­ments was 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 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 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.

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