Winnipeg Free Press

Re: Pallister dodges questions on discipline for Fletcher’s filibustering (May 24)

Conservative MLA Steven Fletcher is opposing his own government’s bill to create a new Crown corporation because he thinks it will be wasteful, unnecessary and a bad idea. We should all be grateful he takes this position, whether or not we agree with the proposed legislation.

The job of a politician is to act for the good of the people, not for a political party. Few politicians show such gumption. Most stifle any doubts about their party’s positions in hope of someday advancing beyond the back bench. Such is the power of party structures in Canada that a successful career in politics depends on not doing your job by putting people first.

Premier Brian Pallister considers Conservative MLAs to be part of a team, accountable to the team rather than to the people of Manitoba. By this, he means they should not act as individuals, but toe the line and support all decisions made secretly in caucus. There will then be no meaningful public debate, as those decisions will automatically be passed by the party’s majority in the legislature.

Politics should not be a sport in which one team’s purpose is to defeat the other. Any teamwork should be for the good of the people. This means having team members of diverse opinions who can speak freely without fear of retribution. Such people are not a threat to a party, but are necessary for wise governance.

Again, Mr. Fletcher, thank you. We need many more politicians with the integrity to act as you have done.