Whipped is a documentary by Sean Holman. Here is the write-up for it.
On May 14th, British Columbians will go to the polls and choose who they want to represent them in the legislature. But, for the next four years, most of those MLAs will only represent the wishes of their party leaders.
A new video documentary by Webster Award-winning investigative journalist Sean Holman reveals why, exposing the secretive system of party discipline that stops MLAs from voting their conscience or for their constituents.
For the first time ever, British Columbians will hear past and present MLAs – including Liberals, New Democrats, cabinet ministers and backbenchers – speak candidly about the personal and political costs of that discipline.
For the first time ever, British Columbians will hear specific examples of how that discipline has forced MLAs to toe the party line in the legislature.
For the first time ever, British Columbians will hear what really happens behind the closed doors of the provincial politics.
I have many issues with what I can only call sensationalism of this write-up (though I won’t go into detail here). I like the following description better, also found on their website: ”A documentary about the secret world of party discipline, which forces MLAs to vote against their constituents and even their own conscience.” But even there I would have cause to disagree. Since where in the system can we point to that shows force? I don’t just don’t see that king of coercion.
After watching Whipped, the audience was given a chance to direct questions to the Director, Sean Holman, as well as two others, Vancouver city councilor Andrea Reimer and former Social Credit Party executive director David Marley. Most of the people who had questions wanted to know what the panelists saw as the problem, how did this happen?? They also then wanted to know what the panelists saw as the solution, how do we fix this. (Queue integritybc.ca)
David Marley, answering both of those questions, mentioned the realities of the current system. I’m paraphrasing him here, he said that there are some ridings where it doesn’t matter who the candidates are (and he suggested the candidate could be an inanimate object), voters will vote based on party affiliation rather than credentials. He then continued on with his trail of thoughts; but I believe that this point isn’t as mundane as suggested.
Had I had the floor after him, this is what I would have said (and they asked for no comments, just questions from the audience):
Do you not find it problematic that you characterize voters as willing to vote for a pile of bricks, so long as it flies the right colour flag? When talking of the problems of this system, shouldn’t this be considered as part of the problem rather than a fact to build conclusions on – that voters can and do, rubber stamp? If MLAs aren’t allowed – by decision of the leader – to vote their conscience, then what is stopping the MLA from choosing to be independent in the legislature? Rather than quitting … or refusing to give into peer pressure; is it too much to ask of these humans to act on integrity?! And if the answer is yes, than what kind of system are we knowingly sending these good people of our society into??
If people, voters, citizens, really had a problem with The Whip, and how The Whip affected their voice in legislature, wouldn’t people vote for MLAs that weren’t under a Whip’s thumb? Since they haven’t voiced their disdain, is it because they don’t care or don’t know? And if it’s because they don’t know, shouldn’t we be looking at the system to see if the system inherently creates redacted history? Since the people, voters, citizens are assumed to have the ability to elect good people to the system of governance in BC (and elsewhere) and this is what has been created, would you not say that, perhaps, it is the system that is inherently evil….and that the good ones leave and the bad ones naturally rise to the top?
It’s probably a good thing I didn’t have a chance to speak. Most people aren’t ready to hear the questions I would ask; which again is another point against any system of governance “we” would force “everyone” to join.
The way I see it, once you force someone to join your system – a system based on needing 100% proactive, engaged people – these proactive kinds of people end up spending most of their time serenading the coerced apathetic – while the legislatures that had no intent on ‘listening to their constituents’ do what’s best for themselves.
More and more these days, the laws being created are based on “if you don’t have anything to hide, you shouldn’t worry”. But if this motto were applied to government itself, they would be, and should be, very worried.
A government that cannot apply it’s own rules to itself is tyrannical. Anyone who votes for a candidate that does not, before hand, explicitly state the circumstances in which they will vote according to the wishes of the constituence, themselves, and The Whip- is being negligent and, effectively, destroying the ‘democracy’ they hold dear.