I have to say after seeing the videos of David Wilks speaking with his constituents I actually felt sorry for the guy. There he is, a decent man, who is trying to swim through the muck of Parliament Hill and do the right thing. The problem is he is too honest. You can see in his discussion with his constituents that he has lots of concerns about Bill C-38 and the process, or lack there of, which has put him in the position of defending the indefensible.

He freely acknowledges that one member can do nothing against the Prime Ministers Office and cabinet decisions. He also mentions that the caucus didn’t even see the bill before its being placed on the Order Paper. Tonda McCharles included the following quotes in her Toronto Star articele posted today May 23rd 2012.

‘He explains, however, that his vote like that of the entire Conservative caucus is subject to a “three-line whip.” That means, says Wilks, a retired RCMP officer, that he would likely be evicted from caucus for dissenting from the budget decisions already made by the prime minister and cabinet.’

‘He adds Conservative MP’s during their first year of majority government have not been allowed one free vote. “I haven’t seen one in a year yet.”’

“It’s been done like that since 1867,” Wilks says.

‘Another woman challenges Wilks to speak up: “At what point do you say I will not vote along party lines and I will represent my constituents?”’

‘“You want me as an Independent member, I will do that,” replied Wilks.’

‘In the first excerpt posted on YouTube, a participant suggests to Wilks that he must be able to influence the process before it gets to a vote. “Surely there’s some kind of debate behind the scenes before you get to that point?”’

‘“No,” replies Wilks.’

‘Another constituent asks Wilks: “Does that not grate that you don’t have internal debates?” And Wilks acknowledges his “concerns.”’

‘“It certainly concerns some of us backbenchers, the decisions are made predominantly by cabinet and then they come back to us informing us how this is going to move forward.”’

Now none of this is really new. PMO’s and cabinets have long held the view that Members of Parliament are merely cannon fodder in the political wars between competing political interests. Where there is a demarcation between Stephen Harper and prime ministers before him is found in two elements that are native only to him. The first element has been in evidence since the earliest days of Stephen Harper’s public life when he portrayed himself as the protector of parliament and an advocate for the freeing up of democracy. He was all in favour of referenda, an elected Senate, free votes in the House of Commons and other pro democracy measures. Where are they now. Where are the free votes in parliament or the referring of issues to be decided by the citizens of Canada through referenda?

The other element which differentiates him from other prime ministers is his absolute commitment to secrecy. In the past he attacked successive governments for lack of transperancy and lack of consultation and now, in the position of Prime Minister in a majority government, he has not only adopted the ways of former occupants of that office but he has become even less inclined to take the people of Canada into his confidence. Secrecy is not only his byword it is in fact his preferred style of leadership. Simply put secrecy is the means that he uses to hide his need to control.

The denoument of this vignette concerning poor Mr Wilks MP for Kootenay-Columbia happened today when his office issued the unsurprising clarification that follows.

“I wish to clarify my position with regard to Bill C-38, the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act. I support this bill, and the jobs and growth measures that it will bring for Canadians in Kootenay-Columbia and right across the country.

In our region alone, our Government’s Economic Action Plan 2012 will support jobs and growth by ensuring we can develop our natural resources in a responsible way that creates well-paying jobs while protecting our environment. Our Plan will also deliver investments in training, infrastructure and opportunities for youth, First Nations, newcomers and unemployed Canadians.

These important measures will help British Columbia and Canada remain strong and prosperous. I look forward to supporting the bill and seeing it passed.”

Reading this statement and looking at the video of Mr Wilks with his constituents makes me feel very sad for Mr Wilks and for the people of his constituency. But I feel shame that we have a government that respects no one. The Harper government shows no respect for seniors, the unemployed, immigrants, refugees indigenous people and now we can add the backbench Members of the Conservative Party. The list seems to be growing longer everyday.