Oilsands Defender

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Time to counter false perceptions.
Cenovus CEO Brian Ferguson defends his industry against what he calls ‘outrageous statements.’  Lang O’Leary Exchange Jan 24, 2014

Cenovus CEO Brian Ferguson claims these as facts:
“Canadians should be proud of how the oil sands is being developed.”
“Oil sands managed by a strong, transparent regulatory system.” Except no one knows what the regulations are and how effective they are. Conservative Government scrapped all environment regulations and replaced them with yet to be revealed promises and keeps all data produced unavailable to the public.
“Environmental practice, we have been very active in over the last two decades.” One can be very active without improving.
“Cenovus has reduced GHG intensity by 27%” That is a per barrel reduction over 20 years. Increase in production actually increased GHG emissions by well over 100% in 20 years.
“We don’t use any fresh water.” In which department? True for conventional strip mining of bitumen but, today in situ oil sands production became the extraction method of choice and requires approximately 3 times the water. There is barely enough water on surface and from wells to maintain todays production. With projection production increases, other sources will be required and that means the Athabaska River. The environmental practice needs to be not having oil sands pollution seeping back into the Athabaska drainage system. That is where the oil sands production fails heavily.
“Our environmental footprint is better than any crude oil produced in United States today.” How does one comment on such an absurd statement?

US imports 50% of its oil. That is a lie. According to US Energy website, “… the nation still imports 35% of the petroleum it uses.”

“Cenovus plans to triple rail shipments 2014” Which rail tanker cars will they be using? DOT 111?

“Canadian oilsands contribute 1 600 of world GHG today or 1/10 of 1 %.” That is an outright lie. CAPP states: 2009,
“Oil sands industry contributes about 7.8% of Canada’s total GHG emissions”
“Oil sands industry accounts for just over 0.16% of global GHG emissions” That is from 2009 data.

Canada’s total Green House Gas, GHG, emissions grew by 111 million tonnes between 1990 and 2011, with oil sands emissions responsible for 36% or 40 million tonnes of this increase. Oil sands GHG emissions were 55 million tonnes in 2011 and increased by 18% in 2012 and most likely again in 2013 mainly through increased oil sands production. It is in no way a stretch of the truth to say that in 2013 and in 2014 at approximately 70 million tonnes the oilsands are the number one single source of GHG emmissions in the world. Oil company propaganda claims that they are reducing the amount of GHG per barrel on a continual basis but, the increase in production still outweighs the decrease per barrel and that results in an ever increasing GHG output.

http://www.pembina.org/blog/776 P.J. Partington — Jan. 15, 2014 Wrote: “Alberta was already Canada’s largest emitter in 2005. As you can see in the graph below, its emissions are projected to increase by nearly 40 per cent from 2005 to 2030. — It comes as no surprise that Alberta’s booming emissions are being driven by rapid expansion in the oilsands. Well before 2020, the oilsands sector alone is projected to emit more than any province …”

The oil sands are the single largest source of GHG emissions in the world. Exporting to China-Asia is the main reason for industry expansion, 37% forest cleared in 2012 alone. Less than 3% of the total production area has been certified reclaimed in 40 years, at that rate our great grandchildren will be left to reclaim where mining is today. If jobs and profit are the guidelines for allowing industry development then let us allow meth labs and grow-ops. To allow the oil industry to disregard peoples’ rights, allow them to disregard environmental law and then subsidize through less tax, add it all up and Canada is losing $40 Billion per year.

Meth Labs and Grow-ops Should Be Legal

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THE NATIONAL | Jan 17, 2014
Rex Murphy on Neil Young
Analysis: Rex Murphy says that rocker Neil Young has been “unfathomably irresponsible” in his criticism of Alberta’s oilsands. Young made headlines this week for his comments on the environmental impact of the oilsands. Rex Murphy states Young’s comments are outside the “boundaries of good taste, truth, judgement and proportion.”

A response to Mr. Murphy’s criticism.

Rex Murphy, You have criticized Neil Young. First off if the oil sands project reminded him of Hiroshima, perhaps it is true, none of us know what it reminded him of. Perhaps it is a poor analogy but, one thing is certain. If the oil sands were west of Edmonton instead of 200 K north, the development would be far different. It only exists as it does because it is mainly far from public view. Any criticism is quickly refuted by perpetually reminding Albertans and Canadians “Jobs, Economy”. But, jobs and the economy is far from the whole story.

Rex Murphy used the words “Blind and Shameless” to describe his Neil Young’s criticism. Has Fort Mac, as you suggest, become a symbol of the fight against Big Oil, against Global warming? You Bet. Let us take this particular project and weigh and debate what is happening. Does it need to be vilified and or condemned? In my opinion Yes. Does it need to be stopped? Not completely. Should not people be given the facts and let them decide for themselves.

Everyone will agree that there are “hundreds of projects in other parts of the world” that do not stand up to human rights and environmental standards, but this is Canada. Should we not hold ourselves to a higher standard than dictatorships and third world countries? You say let us discuss Care, Scruples and Oversight.

You mention the social and economic benefits that the project has already spread to many regions of this country.

You ask people to “Weigh (the evidence) on it’s care, supervision of the environment, safety, and pace of development.

So let’s do just that.

On Care.

Why do the oil companies and the Federal Government continue to hide the truth on how much pollution and what types of pollution is being emitted by oil sands development? Canada’s total Green House Gas, GHG, emissions grew by 111 million tonnes between 1990 and 2011, with oil sands emissions responsible for 36% or 40 million tonnes of this increase. Oil sands GHG emissions were 55 million tonnes in 2011 and increased by 18% in 2012 and most likely again in 2013 mainly through increased oil sands production. It is in no way a stretch of the truth to say that in 2013 and in 2014 at approximately 70 million tonnes the oilsands are the number one single source of GHG emissions in the world. Oil company propaganda claims that they are reducing the amount of GHG per barrel on a continual basis but, the increase in production still outweighs the decrease per barrel and that results in an ever increasing GHG output.

Emitters unable to meet an emissions target of 100,000 tonnes per year must pay $15 per tonne into a clean energy technology fund worth $398 million as of April 2013, or purchase Alberta offset carbon credits. But we must remember, Canada paid out $26 billion as energy subsidies in 2011 (IMF calculations). This while oil sands producers made $211 billion in operating revenue in 2011. If the oil sands production cannot be profitable on it’s own why should the Canadian people provide corporate welfare?

Since forming the government, the Conservatives under Stephen Harper have scrapped Canada’s commitment to controlling GHGs and brought in a far less stringent commitment and even that Canada is on track to fail by 2020. That is not caring.

Let us talk about responsibility also. Oil sands developers are supposedly responsible for the reclamation of the land which they disturb. As of 2013 operations in the oil sands have ‘disturbed’ – 55,902 hectares with another 20,435 hectares cleared for mining operations. To date, only 104 hectares have been “Certified Reclaimed” (Alberta Environment website) Another 5,042 hectares are being monitored while 27,000 hectares are in limbo, waiting for reclamation to begin. Most of this is abandoned tailing ponds.

On Safety.

The production methods used to extract bitumen from the sand uses vast amounts of water This water becomes contaminated and eventually seeps back into the Athabaska River system. Along with a host of chemicals dispersed into the air which fall down wind and become carried by rain or snow melt and eventually enter into the Athabaska River system which has become so polluted in the past 20 years that it is not only undrinkable it is dangerous to swim in. That is totally not Safe for people or wildlife living in the area of the Athabaska. Guess what, despite several studies concluding the source of the pollution, the Harper Government denies that production in the oil sands is to blame. Denial even extends to muzzling scientists who have done work on the project. That is not only not safe it is avoiding responsibility to the point of being criminal.

DOT-111 tank cars are non-pressurized, cylindrical rail cars designed to transport a variety of liquids. They represent 80 percent of the Canadian fleet and 69 percent of the U.S. fleet. Of a total 320,000 total tank cars operating in 2013, 265,000 of them were classified as DOT-111. The main concern with the tank cars is their tendency to puncture in the event of a crash. It’s particularly problematic when they’re used to transport crude oil. The Government and the rail car owners claim it could take 3 to 4 years to come to an agreement as to how to deal with this problem.

Since these cars are a safety risk, get rid of them – immediately. If an automobile has a safety defect how long is Ford or GM given to issue a recall? If a baby buggy has a defect how long before it is deemed unsaleable even second hand? Why has the oil industry been granted so much leniency? Should not all industry be treated equal? Again, this is not only not safe it is avoiding responsibility to the point of being criminal.

On Pace of Development.

The Alberta Environment website shows that in 2012 slightly over 56,000 hectares was being actively used for mining or plant operations. A total area of about 20,000 hectares was cleared of trees in preparation for oil sands mining in 2012. 37% increase in development area in just one year. That is a very fast and accelerating pace of development.

What will oil sands operations expansion mean for Canada and the world. Firstly; an increase in GHG emissions which the world and our grandchildren can’t afford. Secondly; a huge clean up bill for reclamation left for future generations to pay for.

Industry proponents continue to argue all the benefits Canada gets from the oilsands. Mainly jobs and the economy. If that were the two main criteria for allowing development then meth labs and grow-ops should be legal – they provide employment and they make lots of money.

From Greg Mankiw’s Principles of Economics, “GDP is not, however, a perfect measure of wellbeing…” “another thing that GDP excludes is the quality of the environment. Imagine that the government eliminated all environmental regulations. Firms could then produce goods and services without considering the pollution they create, and GDP might rise. Yet, well-being would most likely fall. The deterioration in the quality of air and water would more than offset the gains from greater production.” This is exactly what is happening in Alberta. The more the oil sands production increases, the more Alberta goes into deficit.

Allow me to repeat, if the oilsands were west of Edmonton instead of 200 kilometers north, development would be far different.

What is the Role of Media?

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I recently watched Global TV Tom Clark interview Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt on rail safety in Canada. In response to the question “What is the government doing to ensure rail safety” Ms Raitt replied that the Conservative Government has increased rail inspection and employed more inspectors. That is an outright lie! They issued a communique to the rail companies which asked them do more in the matter of rail inspection.

Lisa Raitt

Lisa Raitt Transport Minister

My question is, Why do members of the media not refute these obvious lies and misinformation right there at the time of the interview? Why do they allow politicians to get away with deceiving the public? Partly because of time restraints in the tv production. Each segment of the show is allotted only so much time and therefore in-depth examination of any given subject is impossible.

The real problem is with viewership. First off, most of the public has no time or interest in in-depth analysis, the public has become accustomed to 30 second or less soundbites. The politicians task is to get the soundbite not necessarily the truth.

Secondly, if the interviewer pressed for the truth, politicians would be less likely to accept being interviewed by that interviewer. Politicians all know that the truth is seldom in their political interest. That is the reason Stephen Harper almost never gives interviews or even allows open questions. If name Canadians refuse to be on their TV show then they will have less viewership and hence make less money from advertizing. It is all a matter of profit. Even down to what and how the public is informed on any given topic.

Another huge problem with media is that they have the ability to steer, or influence peoples objectivity toward particular stories. The Sun Media is probably the major example of twisting a story to turn the publics view to their objective, electing another Conservative Government. I’ll show two recent examples.

Sun newspapers ran this editorial January 8, 2014. “Best 2014 pledge? No more scandals

“Well, we’ve been around the block a few times, but we still think voters and taxpayers should expect a lot out of their politicians.

Call us naive. But if we don’t set the bar high, what exactly are we fighting for anyway?

If we had to pick the top pledge we want politicians to make for 2014, it’s to promise no more scandals.

It seems the public will agree. The latest Nanos Research poll conducted Dec. 14 and 16 shows “the Canadian political mood has turned quite sour.”

However, the mainstream media would have us believe the Senate scandal was the year’s biggest. They never miss a chance to paint Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the most negative light possible.

After all, other scandals harmed taxpayers more.

The Charbonneau Commission continues to probe allegations of corruption surrounding the construction industry, organized crime and public sector contracts — some of which were worth billions. One former mayor has even been charged with gangsterism.

And don’t forget the billion dollars wasted by the Ontario Liberals’ gas plants blunder.

Then there are the personal scandals. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is surprisingly resilient. He may be re-elected in October.

But that doesn’t change the fact he initially misled the public about his crack cocaine use. Even many of his supporters thought he should step down, if only temporarily.

Canadians all across the country are tired of scandals.

The solution? Politicians should focus on doing their jobs. (Crazy idea, eh?) Focus on other priorities. That way we’ll have fewer idle hands and busybodies floating about getting into trouble. So while they’re at it, they should also pledge to no more taxes, no more government programs we don’t need, less debt and less government intrusion in our lives.

Hey, we can dream, right?”

Notice the picture they paint, it’s all about the economy. Can’t miss the downplaying of the Senate scandal and scolding the “Mainstream Media”. Obviously  then, Sun Media is not included as mainstream. They go on to show the Liberals scandal cost Canadians far more in dollars. That is true but, Harper’s Scandal cost Canadians far more in democracy, in honesty, in accountability. All these values which Canadians cannot put a dollar value on yet degrade Canada immensely,  and humiliate our Parliamentary system, especially in the eyes of the world.

Now take a look at, “China’s not green, Justin“.

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau

“So there can be no misunderstanding, let’s recall exactly what Justin Trudeau said when he was asked at a recent “Ladies’ Night” Liberal fundraiser: “Which nation, besides Canada … do you most admire and why?”

Trudeau answered: “You know, there’s a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green fastest … we need to start investing in solar’.”

This theme of China becoming the world’s Jolly Green Giant is nothing new in the environmental movement, among those who profess to call themselves green.”
——
“If I had to guess where Trudeau’s view of China comes from, I’d say it’s at least partly from his principal adviser, Gerald Butts, former president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Canada.

Prior to that, Butts was principal secretary to then premier Dalton McGuinty, which may explain much of McGuinty’s enthusiasm for wind and solar power, the implementation of which has been a monumental financial and energy disaster in Ontario.

One hopes that whoever convinced Trudeau that China is the Jolly Green Giant of green energy, will also call his attention to a Jan. 8 Reuters report, one of many on the same subject, noting “green” China’s demand for coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, is exploding.”

“The problem with naive observations like Trudeau’s about China’s alleged greenness, is that we see them repeatedly parroted by environmental radicals.

Their real agenda is to undermine the development of Canada’s oilsands — an insignificant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions — along with any pipelines needed to move oil to ports in B.C., the Maritimes, and the Gulf Coast.

Somebody ought to tell Trudeau what’s been going on in the real world when it comes to energy production.

Take note of an outright mistruth, “Canada’s oilsands — an insignificant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions”

This is obviously an attempt to belittle Trudeau,s bid to become the next PM. Not that I am a big Trudeau fan but would welcome the Liberals over Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

What’s been going on in the real world  Lorrie?

Tarsands -an Open Truth

Tarsands -an Open Truth

What Goldstein fails to explain in his column is;
A) which G20 country emits the most pollution per Capita?
B) Which one area is the single most GHG producing in the world?
C) Which Province relies most on coal powered electricity?
D) Which country has done most to decrease environmental protection in the past 8 years?
E) Which G20 country is furthest behind on their environment commitments for 2020?

Place Your MP on Notice

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Put MPs and MLAs on Notice.

It is time to make a difference. It is time bring about change. Put our politicians on notice that they serve the people of Canada and not their Political Party. Demand Accountability. Demand Representation.

Amazing numbers of people “like” the Occupy Canada page. Getting the numbers out for sit-ins and other peaceful demonstrations is a powerful show of force. The problem with these demonstrations is that they are largely ignored by the general public and frowned upon as a nuisance by most. If the media draws attention, they are given only token concern by politicians, a promise is made, a promise ignored. It becomes the repeated pattern of politics and politicians af all stripes. To make significant change in Canada we need to act were it counts – at election time – in Parliament and the Legislatures. We need to take back our democracy and not leave it in the hands of political parties and their partisan politics.

See rest of story..

Party Whip – Outdated, Non-Democratic

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Having a “Party Whip” is an archaic, outdated and undemocratic practice in any modern legislature. The party whip amounts to bullying the party members and does not allow for the freedom of representation of their respective constituents.

From Wikipedia:
“A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party’s “enforcers”, who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy. A whip’s role is also to ensure that the elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken. The usage comes from the hunting term “whipping in”, i.e. preventing hounds from wandering away from the pack.”

It is very obvious that a political party which finds the necessity to “Whip” their members into “obedience” lacks confidence that the position the party has taken on the legislation at hand is right and proper. Is it not obvious that waffling amongst the members quite likely means that the position taken is not the favored position and therefore requires more debate to get it right?

Any legislation, any motion, that cannot stand against a free democratic vote does not warrant passage.

There is only one reason that makes the party whip a necessity, Partisan Politics.

  • It is Partisan Politics that leads to second rate legislation and Canada certainly has had it’s fill of that.
  • It is Partisan Politics that leads to mistrust in politicians and Parliament as a whole. A recent Ekos Research poll finds that, “a mere 10 per cent of Canadians trust politicians”.
  • It is Partisan Politics that leads to voter apathy and low voter turn out for elections. IPolitics states “disingenuous politicians trolling for votes that have turned people off”.
  • It is Partisan Politics that leads to political scandal. “Canadians are becoming very skeptical about our political system’s integrity.”
  • It is Partisan Politics that leads to misuse of the public purse. “… more politicians are being criminally charged or treating themselves lavishly at the public’s expense.” Read more…

Since patriotism emphasizes the regime, regimes that are weak or illegitimate struggle to imbue their members with patriotism and therefore resort to authoritarian and disciplinary practices. The Party Whip is one of those authoritarian and disciplinary practices which identify a weak or illegitimate regime and displays distrust and paranoia.

Freedom and Equality are the hallmarks of Advanced Democracies along with and a belief in liberty, political competition, and participation. The practice of having to “Whip” followers into party discipline is directly contrary to liberty, political competition, and participation. Where liberty is curbed, democracy is trampled.

Carl Marx described a utopian state. “The party structure would resemble a state—general secretary as the executive, a Politburo as the cabinet, the Central Committee as the legislature, and local cells of supporters —but these institutions merely approve whatever party leadership desired.” Notice the similarities?

It is hard to believe that in 2013, what with all the publicity against and millions of dollars and countless hours spent on the prevention of bullying, political parties would still have bullying as official party policy. Now does that make sense? After countless campaigns to identify and curb the bully, some even initiated by governments themselves, (how two faced is that Stephen and Laureen) and yet our elected representatives, who should be the most prominant and socially correct members of Canadian society, still, openly and unashamedly endorse and practice bullying in the workplace.

What is even more detrimental to democracy and good government is that the senior members have “Honorable” before their names. Sorry, to be addressed as Honorable, first you have to deserve the title.

A rather telling statement from Norton College: Nondemocratic Regimes

“In highly unequal societies, those who monopolize economic power may monopolize political power. This may because elites are less willing to share power when they fear losing their economic opportunities. Some argue that countries with abundant natural resources (such as oil or minerals) have a barrier to modernization because wealth is concentrated among elites who control those resources. Also, since natural resources are not portable, those in power know that should they give up power, they will not be able to take these assets with them.”

Says a lot to why the Conservatives under Stephen Harper are systematically digressing Canada socially and democratically.

A Party Whip is an instrument of torture in the hands of a Mistress in clandestine, aberrant sexual practices. Let’s not go there.

Member of Parliament Job Description

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Nowhere in the Canadian Parliamentary website can one find a job description for a Member of Parliament. There is a “here is what your MP does” but is not very detailed and rather ambiguous. I took this description from the British Labour Party MP Job description and altered it for Canada, party generic and bi-partisan. I am sure that some of the wording could be improved.

Job Title
Member of Parliament for the Constituency of (Name of Riding)

Job Purpose

To represent, defend and promote the national and regional interests and further the needs, welfare and interests of the constituents of (Name of Riding) wherever and whenever possible in a bi-partisan manner.

Principal Accountability

  1. In all action be accountable to the constituents of (Name of Riding) both in policy and monetary compensation and allowance.
  2. Help furnish and maintain good Government and Opposition so that the business of Parliamentary democracy may proceed.
  3. Monitor, stimulate and challenge the Executive in order to influence and where possible change government action in ways which are considered desirable for the constituents of (Name of Riding).
  4. Initiate, seek to amend and review legislation so as to help maintain a continually relevant and appropriate body of law.
  5. Keep the constituents of (Name of Riding) informed as to the general proceedings of Parliament relating arguments both for and against any and all proposed legislation.
  6. Establish and maintain a range of contacts throughout the constituency, and gain proper knowledge of its characteristics, so as to identify and understand the issues affecting the constituency, the land and peoples and, wherever possible, further the interests of the constituency of (Name of Riding) in general in accordance with the national needs of Canada which are seen to be relevant and important.
  7. Serve on committees which may be compatible with expertise where it may be possible to further the interests of the constituency of (Name of Riding) in general.
  8. Provide appropriate assistance to individual constituents, through use of knowledge of local and national government agencies and institutions, to progress and wherever possible help resolve their problems in dealing with matters of government.
  9. Contribute to the formulation of Government policy to ensure that it reflects the views of the constituents of (Name of Riding) in accordance with the national needs of Canada which are seen to be relevant and important.
  10. To establish and maintain a constituency office in each community within the boundaries of the constituency of (Name of Riding) for the purpose of distribution of parliamentary information and aggregation of policy information from residents and for the convenience of constituents in dealing with Governmental matters.

Nature and Scope

An MP’s work may be seen under two broad headings. The first is work in and for the constituency. This is in part representational; in part promoting or defending the interests of the constituency as a whole; and in part it is designed to help individual constituents in difficulty. This is traditionally seen as the ‘core’ role of the parliamentarian. The second area is his/her participation in activities designed to assist in the passage of legislation and hold the Executive to account.

Whom Does a Member of Parliament Work For?

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It has been said that Members of Parliament are not employees of the House of Commons but are deemed as self-employed. That is a half truth which obfuscates their real duty and obligations. It is true they are not employees of the House of Commons, they are in the employ of the constituents whom they represent.

MPs start off with a base salary of $160,000. Much of the time and work MPs do on Parliament Hill is political party business which has little benefit for Joe Cannuck. As a matter of fact political parties are a distraction from good government and a cause of partisan legislation which can be detrimental to Canada as a whole and very often serves only a favoured few. Political parties have no place in the House of Commons or the Senate.

Who pays the Member’s of Parliament salary. Their salaries come out of the public purse. That being so, Members of Parliament work for the public, individually each works for his/her constituents. Why then are they in any manner allowed to be serving their political party? The political party is not paying their salary, supplying them with office space, paying their travel expenses, housing allowance, nor contributing to their pensions. Why then are they conducting party business on the public dime?

There should be no party line caucus meetings at Parliament. If they want a caucus meeting to discuss party policy, let them rent space down the street, off public property and hold a meeting on their own time.

The Prime Minister’s office, which the public provides and pays for, is for Government business only not party business. If a party wants an office in Ottawa, let them rent space in the office building down town and hire their own office staff. The staff in the PMO are paid for by the public and are therefore limited to public, parliamentary business only.

Proper governance does not need to be told how to legislate. All party whips must be excused from their position, they serve only party business not Parliamentary business, they are not required in a true democracy with free, impartial voting. If voting on government legislation is not free, it is not legitimate and should not become law.

The Mandate to Govern

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The Mandate to Govern in actuality is a mandate to serve.

The most important part or main ingredient in all of Canada is the people. All of Government, from the Governor General, the Lieutenant Governors, the Prime Minister or Premiers, federal or provincial cabinet ministers, the Senate, judges, mayors, councillors or reeves, and all other government officials including the police forces, all are subservient to the collective authority of the people, the citizens of Canada. All elected personnel are paid by the public purse, and obtain whatever authority is granted to them only by the temporary warrant of the collective choice of the majority decision of the people of Canada by free election.

One very important aspect for all elected persons to consider and keep in mind at all times is that they are servants to the public good both individually and collectively and that the authority bestowed upon them is only temporary. Any decisions they make must be tempered in humility to that important fact. They must also remember that they are public servants with an absolute fiduciary obligation to Canada, the land and the peoples, their safety, security, health, prosperity and their good name and reputation including the future the continuing collective welfare of the Nation.

A mandate is the power or authority to act that voters give to those elected to public office.
In politics, a mandate is the authority granted by a constituency to act as its representative.[Merriam-Webster Dictionary]
The concept of a government having a legitimate mandate to govern via the fair winning of a democratic election is the central idea of representative democracy.
Governments who introduce policies that they did not make public during an election campaign do not have a legitimate mandate to implement such policies.
Elections with a large margin of victory give the newly elected government or elected official an implicit mandate to put into effect certain policies.

A ‘mandate’ can mean a parliamentary seat won in an election or the electoral victory itself. A “free representational mandate” which is characteristic of a “deliberative assembly” guided by the general good and which guarantees the freedom of speech, which is key to the effective working of parliament, has true representativeness and hence democracy. A mandate which is bound to the wishes of the electorate is an imperative mandate.

Political parties have put in place mechanisms to ensure that “their” members of parliament vote along party lines. Party whips, party caucuses or political party groups exist in almost all parliaments and aim at ensuring party discipline. This is certainly necessary to some extent, as otherwise political parties would be unable to fulfil their vital function of policy formulation. But, we need ask, “Does the policy of party discipline diminish the “free” mandate granted individual representatives?”

The question is, to what extent is the consequence for a member of parliament if he/she fails to vote along party lines, criticizes the party hierarchy or policy or does not agree with party decisions? Should political parties, beyond party sanctions, be able to influence whether or not a member of parliament remains a member of the party? If political parties govern the political “conscience” of elected representatives then elected representatives no longer have a free mandate but an imperative mandate. An imperative mandate, whereby members of parliament are bound by instructions from their political parties or the electorate, is the bastardized form of democracy practiced in the former communist States, Russia and China where the freedom of parliamentary deputies has been severely limited.

If Canada is to remain a with imperative mandate, which seems what political parties desire, than the policies to be enacted must be clearly presented to the electorate prior to the election in order for the government to have a democratic mandate in accordance with concretely transmitted preference by their electors. Vague references as to policy just does not lead to proper democracy. Governments who attempt to introduce policies that they did not make public during an election campaign do not have a legitimate mandate to implement such policies.

This from: IPU eBULLETIN –> ISSUE No.19 –> ARTICLE 5
“The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has watched with growing concern as more and more majority parties propose and vote laws resulting in the loss of the parliamentary mandate if a member is expelled from the party, resigns from it, crosses the floor or even does not follow party directives. These laws in fact introduce an imperative mandate and, along with it, political party control over parliament. The negative impact this has on the capacity of parliaments to exercise effective oversight is not difficult to demonstrate, as parliamentarians start to refrain from asking questions or criticizing for fear of losing their mandate. It is also detrimental to the representativeness of parliament, as the electorate’s criticisms and views may not be expressed in parliament.”