The Atlantica Party commits to free voting in the Nova Scotia Legislature



Halifax, Nova Scotia – The Atlantica Party calls for all votes in the Nova Scotia Legislature to be free votes. Like speech, voting in the Legislature should be completely free. Without free voting our democracy is a sham since party interests come before the people’s interests. 

Currently MLAs have their voting dictated by party functionaries or they face discipline including denial of caucus posts, committee positions, travel and all kinds of legislative, budgetary and constituency favours. There is also the risk of not having nomination papers signed, a premature end to a political career and expulsion from the party. Graham Steele said in his fifteen years in politics he could only recall a handful of times when an MLA heroically voted against his or her party since, as he said, ‘punishment follows’.  The Atlantica Party believes it essential to break party discipline and allow MLAs to effectively represent voters. This will empower citizens and make MLAs truly accountable. The most effective way of doing this is to make every vote in the legislature a free vote.

 “The Atlantica Party believes that all MLAs must be free to put the wishes of their constituents and the needs of Nova Scotia ahead of party interest,” said Jonathan G Dean, Leader of the Atlantica Party.  “As Premier I will allow all Atlantica Party MLAs to always vote freely.”

Free voting is part of the Atlantica Party’s Democracy Revolution platform.

Showing 12 reactions

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  • commented 2017-04-08 14:23:18 -0300
    Face it you guys are a libertarian party under a different name. You guys should join the federal party for federal politics.
  • commented 2017-03-26 18:28:32 -0300
    I think the meat of the documents you are reflecting on Andrew is the business between the federal and provincial sharing of power within our Federation. Maybe what you are looking for could more easily be identified within other documents with which all good government is accountable too (such as the various declarations of Human Rights). Literally speaking: constituents are defined as human as are voters. I certainly do take your point regarding the " unsustainability and lack of adherence to the principles of good public governance. " We need fundamental change.
  • commented 2017-03-26 16:26:56 -0300
    It’s a funny thing about good public governance and good corporate
    governance, in that for governance systems to be effective they
    must accurately and openly detail the lines of accountability and

    Indeed, what I have discovered in the corporate sphere is that if it is
    not in the Articles of Association or the Board Manuals or written down
    in some other document, than the “it” is either not allowable or not preventable.
    CEOs and Chairmen, for whom I write, are very particular about what they
    wish to say and what they do not because of crossing lines of accountability
    or opening themselves up to be accountable.

    Thus, my purpose in raising the issue of whether it is written down that
    MPs represent humans is to establish whether the principles of good public
    governance apply to the parliamentary system. And as I can find no written
    evidence to create a line of accountability between MPs and humans, and
    indeed find just the opposite as confirmed in the words of the Constitution/BNA, the parliament’s webpage, and a judge’s decision, I am left with no alternative explanation that there is no chance of establishing good governance in a parliamentary system.

    All talk about what MPs should and should not do, against the comparatively
    firm and solid standards of good public governance, is just an invitation
    to travel an unsustainable course. This course is evident in the accounts and
    actions of both the governments of Canada and of Nova Scotia which reflect
    the very essence of unsustainability and lack of adherence to the principles of
    good public governance.
  • commented 2017-03-24 13:30:52 -0300
    I can appreciate the work Andrew; lots of semantics to work through here.
  • commented 2017-03-24 10:29:38 -0300
    Mark, not to be pedantic and I know that we take things for granted, as I surely did and perhaps still do. Demo = people representative = represents, so in a representative democracy the people are represented. In a parliamentary democracy such as Canada this is what is true:

    [notice in 70.: “to be elected to represent the Eighty-two Electoral Districts” and not elected to represent the voters or the people of the Eighty-two Electoral Districts; parliament in below defines constituency as a geographic area that the member represents.]


    40. Until the Parliament of Canada otherwise provides, Ontario,
    Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick shall, for the Purposes
    of the Election of Members to serve in the House of Commons,
    be divided into Electoral Districts

    70. The Legislative Assembly of Ontario shall be composed of
    Eighty-two Members, to be elected to represent the Eighty-two
    Electoral Districts set forth in the First Schedule to this Act.

    72. The Legislative Council of Quebec shall be composed of
    Twenty-four Members, to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor,
    in the Queen’s Name, by Instrument under the Great Seal of Quebec,
    one being appointed to represent each of the Twenty-four Electoral

    constituency –The specific geographic area in Canada that a Member of Parliament represents in the House of Commons. (Synonym: riding or electoral district)

    parliamentary democracy – A system of government where the citizens express their political views by choosing representatives to go to Parliament to make laws on their behalf.

    representative – A person who speaks for you.

    responsible government –The Government, made up of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, must have the support of the majority in the House of Commons to stay in power. If the Government loses that support on a question of confidence, it must resign and ask the Governor General to call an election.

    Mark, let me know what you think. These are the official sources in legalistic (precise) language. Nothing I can find from parliament tells me that members of parliament represent humans (though our hearts and minds say it must be so). Thus, judge Marshall’s easy decision as below. Canada has a representative system – parliament is represented by the members and the constituencies are represented by members. It has a responsible system as detailed above; it has a representative government in that the cabinet (in-council) represents the queen. But, in Canada there is no representative democracy -unlike say Switzerland.
  • commented 2017-03-24 08:22:09 -0300
    Andrew the constituencies are the very definition of a representative democracy. I do understand that we are also a parliamentary democracy and I also understand that the Executive gains its’ power from the members (if that is your point). Although I would not go so far as to claim that MPs or MLAs do not represent humans I would agree that the job of the elected representative is to represent his/her entire constituency and not the individual or perhaps even the minority.

    I do believe that the Plank announced herein is revolutionary; perhaps no less revolutionary than Responsible government. It is clear that it is the Cabinet that holds the power and as a back-bencher whom is Whipped, many constituents go without gain even if their MLA belongs to the Government. In my opinion this reality erodes public confidence in politics and is long overdue for reform (as seen by our recent education capital cost decisions).

    This would manifest somewhat like proportional representation, at least within the party. Alliances could potentially be built between regional constituencies not in the Executive. Currently the Cabinet MLAs of the ruling party get it all, or certainly most. Under the Atlantica platform power would be better distributed and the entire caucus would have to be consulted rather than informed. Consensus would not be mandatory but it certainly would be sought. I would say, as an example, that if the Liberals had this Plank then the Bridgetown and Truro schools would never have been built and consequently the entire party would be better off in the current polls.
  • commented 2017-03-23 17:19:58 -0300
    Unfortunately you live in a parliamentary democracy not a representative democracy: the members are very careful in drawing this distinction. If you check the BNA Act/Constitution of Canada it states that members represent Electoral Districts, and defines a district as a geographical territory. Nowhere does any parliamentary document, as far as I can find, and see my citing of Judge Marshall below, state that members represent voters. In short, the members of parliament do not represent humans.

    Thus, unlike a relationship of representation between a lawyer and client, there is no such relationship of representation in the parliamentary democracy system. If you check the parliament of Canada website, it states this clearly. They try to skirt the issue by saying the members represent constituents’ views, but representing “views” is not representing “humans/constituents”. Thus, judge Marshall had no difficulty in making his ruling. There exists no legal/contractual/accountable/responsible relationship between members of parliament and humans.
  • commented 2017-03-23 14:23:06 -0300
    Andrew we live in a representative democracy. I’m afraid I don’t understand how the lawyer/client analogy fits the MLA/party relationship. But I do understand that the parties are all too often behaving in the interest of powerful lobbing groups before the interests of their respective constituents.
  • commented 2017-03-23 13:39:44 -0300
    Mark Robertson I think that it is both telling and more than a bit sad that your comment as to this free voting issue as revolutionary. I think about how absurd it would be to have a lawyer who did not have to follow the instructions of the client – and that members of the legislature and parliament are unaccountable for their voting perhaps leads to the same end.

    It is time to end the worst of governance principles. It is time to restore law, order and good government.
  • commented 2017-03-22 15:52:12 -0300
    Free voting in addition to recall makes for the most significant and positive platform change in any Canadian political party since the establishment of the CCF. It is truly revolutionary.
  • commented 2017-03-22 14:37:36 -0300
    Docket No. 9012000725






    as and for the constituency of Wetaskiwin and the

    Citizens of Canada


    - and -



    However I [E.A. Marshall], Justice of The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta
    (in the matter of MP Wilton Littlechild v. Citizens of Canada, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta Docket No. 9012000725, Dec 10, 1990) am satisfied the
    Plaintiffs have no cause of action against the Defendant. I know of no
    legal duty on an elected representative at any level of government to
    consult with his constituents or determine their views.
  • @AtlanticaParty tweeted this page. 2017-03-22 13:48:22 -0300
    The Atlantica Party commits to free voting in the Nova Scotia Legislature #nspoli #NovaScotia

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