Failed Representation

Failed Representation

The not so new alliance of reformed conservatives has often championed in the past, a view that its members must vote the way their constituents tell them to vote. Same-sex marriage seems is different.

Here in British Columbia, polls have consistently shown the majority support same-sex marriage. The latest poll to be published on the matter was released March 1, 2005. That poll by Mustel indicates 35% strongly support same sex marriage while 30% strongly oppose. People somewhat opposed came out at 9% province a total of 39% opposed overall. 21% indicated they were somewhat supportive, making the number 56% supportive.

All of the 22 Conservative MPs from this province, save one, are voting against same-sex marriage. 8 Liberal and 5 NDP MPs are voting for same-sex marriage. 62% of the elected representation from BC will vote against same-sex marriage in a province where almost 60% support it.

It seems the conservatives are really not representing the people of BC on this issue. Why is that? How could that happen with a party that has consistently said they will vote the way their constituents want them too?

Are these MP's using unscientific surveys to gather information, householder response cards, making pleas to churches to get people to write them?

People who are opposed to something are more likely to respond to a householder or survey. Interest groups like churches and focus on the family are able to muster a very high number of their membership to email, phone and fax MPs.

Who do they meet and who makes up their local support base? Who do they hear from the most?

I suggest that many of these Conservative MP's listen to their party members and supporters, largely people 50+.

The real answer as to why Conservative MPs will vote against same sex marriage has more to do with their personal views and financial supporters. I have nothing against MPs deciding to vote their personal views. We don't elect people to Parliament and then say stop thinking. No what we do is expect they will be true to their word and offer a believable response for a change in direction. Not a phony email count or survey results.

These Conservatives purport to express the views of their constituents. If that is the case then some of them must know they are not doing that. So much hypocrisy.

Note: 57% of people under 55 in BC support same-sex marriage, 63% under 34 support it, even those over 55 support same-sex marriage by the slim margin of 48 to 47.


HDcanuck said...

Rick... I don't think this is a good use of statistics. Where are those Conservative ridings? The majority of that gay marriage support is probably in the urban lower mainland, Victoria and a few minor spots elsewhere. I'm sure those numbers did not come out of the Okanagan, for instance. I'd be interested to see where the Conservative ridings are relative to the level of support (or lack of support) for gay marriage. Afterall, they don't need to represent the popular opinion of the residents of BC, just the opinion of the people in whose ridings they have been elected.

Rick Barnes said...


Those ridings include Surrey, West Vancouver, Gulf Islands, Nelson, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Port Moody.