08 January 2006

Voting records

Since Loyola Hearn is especially proud of the number of times he has risen to speak in the commons, it is useful heading over to howdtheyvote.ca.

On dissentions, that is voting against the party line, Loyola did so only once, on second reading of a private member's bill on student loans. Every other time he followed his leader, including in the plans to bring down the government last spring and thereby scuttle the offshore deal in favour of Stephen Harper's equalization reform gambit.

Norm Doyle joined Loyola on that student loan vote, but also voted against his party on second reading of a private member's bill to prohibit replacement workers during labour disputes. There's another dissention by Doyle, but the site doesn't actually list it. Loyola and Norm both voted to bring down the government last spring, standing cheek by jowl with their leader.

Scott Simms voted against the party line 17 times since being elected, a clear indication of both the flexibility of his party and his own independent-minded nature. That gave him a 13 place rank among parliamentarians for dissenting votes.

Bill Matthews voted against the party line 13 times for 24th place.

Gerry Byrne bucked the party seven times, for 57th place.

The late Lawrence O'Brien's stats aren't there.

Now some people will point to these figures and claim that there is a problem when someone votes against his or her party.

Others would look at it and says the dissentions speak volumes about the tolerance in the party for different views. In the top 57 dissenters, the majority are Liberals.

But flip to the bottom of the charts - there you will find cabinet ministers, who obviously have to support the government, and almost the entire Conservative and Bloc caucuses.

It gives some food for thought.

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