…unfortunately a one of a kind politician.
Coming from Paul Martin, leader of Canada’s most corrupt political party ever, his description of Chuck Cadman as an example of what all Parliamentarians should be sounded thin and insincere despite the utter truth of it. Come to think of it, if all parliamentarians were so, there would likely be no Liberal Party of Canada!
Chuck Cadman went to Ottawa reluctantly as a politician, but eagerly as someone who wanted to effect very necessary changes, particularly in the areas of justice and victims rights. It seems odd that those are things anyone should have to fight or lobby for in government …should not those things be natural acts of government? To me it seems so. To me it seems that government’s first responsibility to the people who elect it should be the protection of honest, hardworking citizens. It should not matter which party or which MP tables such bills …acting on them should be as expedient and natural as breathing!
Unfortunately, Canada’s “Natural Governing Party” (according to them) is too worried about protecting the rights of offenders, and too busy playing politics with every issue to accept and act decisively on a good idea from opposition or an independant.
Since the budget vote and particularly since his death last weekend, many have come forth to speak about Mr. Cadman …and it seems each one had something to say about the ways in which he was different. One thing that has not been said is about how he was different in respect to his relationship to his constituents. That relationship was significantly central to his budget vote.
Mr. Cadman didn’t vote for the Liberal budget because he necessarily agreed with it, nor because he supported or endorsed the Liberals in general. I was disappointed that he voted as he did because we lost an opportunity to fire a dishonest, corrupt government …something I think should be a matter of course under such circumstances. However, when I heard his reason for voting as he did I had to respect it and had to support it because it illustrated how an elected person SHOULD behave …his vote highlighted a significant difference between Mr. Cadman and typical parliamentarians ...perhaps most significantly because it was something he was not required to do even under law.
His reason: Because his constituents did not want to go to the polls so soon.
In an earlier post I addressed this very issue to underscore a huge flaw in our system and to shed further light on the fact that “democracy” in Canada is just a word when it comes right down to it. The example I used is worth repeating.
Believe it or not, an ‘elected’ individual is under NO legal obligation to listen to a single thing you or I say! But you need not believe me …instead you can believe Justice, E.A. Marshall of The Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta who heard docket number 9012000725 on the 10th of December 1990. Apparently some constituents brought suit against their MP for his failure to represent their wishes. In Justice Marshall’s decision he said:
“ I know of no legal duty on an elected representative at any level of government to consult with his constituents or determine their views. While such an obligation may generally be considered desirable, there is no legal requirement.”
The loss of Chuck Cadman is a loss to all of Canada …but perhaps he will leave a legacy other than his obvious contributions. That legacy would, by his example, serve as a humiliation to all those politicians who put power, influence and party agendas ahead of the right thing to do. Wouldn’t it be nice to see politicians voting issues on their merits rather than based on what party label is on it? What about voting in accordance with the expressed wishes of their employers (constituents) rather than in accordance with directives from party brass? Wouldn’t it be nice indeed ...but realistically its about as likely to happen as its likely that Canada will be an actual democracy or have an actual constitution any time soon. Pity, this could have been such a great country for the average person, instead of just for politicians and financiers!
Unlike most, Chuck Cadman actually deserved the title "Honourable".
Til next time …We’ll miss you Chuck Cadman