Get out the whips and chains

On September 7, 2007, provincial New Democrat legislator Michael Sather was temporarily suspended from caucus "as a result of his decision to vote against the Tsawwassen Treaty." This, according to a media advisory distributed the same day. The reason: "Our caucus strongly believes that to stall the treaty process now would take BC backwards on the journey towards reconciliation with First Nations." So does the party's new aboriginal relations and reconciliation critic Bob Simpson think there should be a similar party-line vote on the proposed Recognition and Reconciliation Act when it comes up for debate in the legislature?

"It's a caucus discussion we will have," Mr. Simpson said on Public Eye Radio. "Sometimes there are higher level principles involved that require the leader to enforce a caucus discipline to make sure we send a single message to the electorate about what the NDP stands for. And, sometimes, there's a freedom for all of us to exercise our rights of conscience. And we will address that bill by bill."

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