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NEWS: Conservative MP resigns saying PMO ‘has too much power’

CBC reports, “Alberta MP Brent Rathgeber said he has left the Conservative caucus in part because of the control Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office exercises over backbench MPs, which was preventing him from representing his constituents.”

Rathgeber says, “When you have a PMO that tightly scripts its backbenches like this one attempts to do, MPs don’t represent their constituents in Ottawa, they represent the government to their constituents. …I do believe that the PMO has too much power, that they don’t properly respect the legislators and most importantly, there is not a proper degree of separation between the legislature and the executive. …We have to take a stand that we’re not going to read these talking points that are written by PMO staffers, that we’re not going to vote like trained seals based on how they tell us. Too many backbench MPs do willingly what the Prime Minister’s Office wants them to do because they see that as a way of advancement in the party and within the government.”

The article adds, “He said that he’s heard from a couple of dozen Conservative MPs who have expressed both support and disappointment in reaction to his departure (and that) he’s not trying to start a revolt of any kind, but he had to quit so that he can speak freely on issues and that he thinks backbench MPs need to take a stand.”

It is clear that there is growing discord within the Conservative caucus – and we will keep an eye on that. The Canadian Press reported in April, “The prime minister is already facing a rebellion by backbenchers fed up with their inability to speak their minds during the daily 15 minutes allotted for members’ statements.”

For more, please read:
NEWS: New riding boundaries cause tensions within Conservative party
NEWS: Harper to ‘rally his troops’ at Conservative convention in Calgary, June 27-29