MP crossing makes MP cross

The federal government should implement legislation to control MPs from crossing the floor, says the Nanaimo-Cowichan MP.

Jean Crowder, commenting on the defection of MP Wajid Khan from the Liberals to the Conservatives, said the NDP introduced legislation that would require an MP who leaves his party to sit as an independent, rather than be able to join another party.

“We did try to get that into the Accountability Act, but it didn’t happen,” said Crowder, who agrees that such moves can hurt the public’s view of politicians.

Khan, who is MP for Mississauga-Streetville, had been a special advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the Middle East and Afghanastan, despite being a Liberal.

He told a press conference Thursday he decided to cross the floor after Liberal leader Stephane Dion told him to choose sides.

Khan also said he had been concerned about the Liberal’s position on foreign affairs, especially in the Middle East.

Crowder doesn’t buy that, though. “Their (Liberal) policy hasn’t changed that much,” she said.

Former MP Reed Elley, who left politics two years ago but plans to seek the Conservative candidacy in the next federal election, is less specific about the issue and seemed more impressed by Harper’s “incredible ability to make the Liberals look bad.”

He said Friday that he’s not surprised by Khan’s move.

“Well, I guess it’s been interesting to see some of the moves Stephen Harper has made,” said Elley.

“I wondered how long it would be before he’d join the government. So, I’m not surprised he did it.”

Elley, who served as Nanaimo-Cowichan MP for seven years, said any MP who does cross the floor eventually has to answer to his constituents in an election.

“I do think this issue has to be looked at,” Elley admitted, although he didn’t offer any suggestions on how it should be dealt with.

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