I have served as mayor for two communities I have lived-in, sat as chair on a number of boards and I can tell you, leadership is not easy.
One thing that I have found through my experiences is that people elect you to lead, but then when you do, some say you are an authoritarian, or too controlling, or too independent.
I often found those same people want public meetings for every decision, and closer public oversight of those duly elected.
Most often this is because they didn’t support the person or the party. There is in legislation regulations that make public notice and input mandatory; checks and balances to our democracy on all three levels of government.
I am pleased that our Conservative government has allowed free votes on many issues and I have exercised that privilege and have voted contrary to the majority in my party. The NDP have not allowed a free vote to its members in the eight years that I have been in Parliament.
Our party has also passed more private member’s bills than any government in Canadian history. This means, your member of Parliament, a back bencher, has voted freely on non-confidence votes without any discipline.
The Conservative Party of Canada has always believed in grass roots democracy and conservative candidates for election are not dropped in from out of the riding or from the U.S. as often practiced by the Liberals.
In the past four elections, the prime minister has only once refused to sign off on a party candidate and that was based on a recommendation from the national Conservative Party board.
So, MP Chong’s current private member’s bill, the Reform Act, 2013, is not a result of any actions by our party’s leader, but as a general recommendation to further tighten democratic practices within the government and within all parties.
I have reviewed this bill and have found the changes, for the most part good, but I will discuss this bill with my constituents and colleagues and then make my decision on whether to support it or not.
The measurement of good leadership is not that you spend all your time seeking consensus on all issues. It is in the results that are accomplished by principled decisions on behalf of those you represent.
Our prime minister and our government have a track record of leadership resulting in giving Canadians more jobs and opportunity, making Canadians safer, insuring equal liberty to all and providing more open and transparent government.
If you do not agree with our government’s leadership, in the fall of 2015, you can exercise your democratic right and vote.
Until then, I and our party will continue to provide responsible, principled leadership for all Canadians.