How a Bill Becomes a Law
In some respects, I feel bad for David Wilks. The video that will ultimately destroy his political career doesn't involve bigoted comments, cocaine, or underage girls - it's a candid discussion with 30 constituents about how Ottawa works.
In it, Wilks voices his displeasure with his party's budget, while lamenting that a whiped vote means he has no choice but to support it.
Wilks could easily have blown off this roundtable, recognizing no one attending was ever going to vote Conservative. There are certainly more enjoyable ways to spend a sunny morning in Kootenay-Columbia than walking into a room full of discontents. Instead, Wilks listened and interacted with the people he represents, and he should be applauded for that.
That said, the man has no one to blame for this controversy other than himself. If he truly supports the budget - as he now claims to do - he should have thanked his constituents for their feedback, said he'd consider what they said, then explained to them why he supported the budget.
If he truly opposes the budget - as he said he did yesterday - he should vote against it. Wilks is wrong when he says one MP can't make a difference. John Nunziata and Bill Casey brought more attention to the budgets they opposed than they ever would have by meekly supporting them. Michael Chong's opposition to the Quebec Nation resolution may have prevented Harper from going further down that road. I also like to think that the more acts of defiance we get, the more likely we are to see an attitudinal change in Ottawa that gives a greater say to individual MPs. Some may disagree with me, but I think that would be a welcome shift.
And while it should never be the primary reason for opposing your own government, Nunziata, Casey, and Chong all made names for themselves, were heralded for their decisions, and were rewarded by their constituents at the ballot box.
In comparison, all Wilks' weak-kneed approach ensures is that he will never make it to Cabinet, and that he now has a reputation of placing his party ahead of his conscience and his constituents.