Do you Know about Canada’s Chief Government Whip?
As the general public we like to know that our government is following all of the mandate that they have put in place for governing themselves. What many do not realize is that every recognized party that is part of the parliament has what is called a Whip. The job of the Whip is to make sure that there are enough party members sitting in chamber for debates and votes. They also have the responsibility of deciding which committees a party member will sit on, as well as they assign offices and seats in the house. They are responsible for encouraging parliament members to follow all of the party commitments. In other words you could basically call the government whipped the watchdog of parliament.
Our Prime Minister has decided that Andrew Leslie who is the member of Parliament for Orleans will take on the role as chief government Whip. Mr. Leslie is a retired lieutenant general. He carried out a 35 year career with the Canadian armed forces and has been actively involved on both a domestic and international level. Mr. Trudeau expects Mr. Leslie to ensure that the government will remain focused on their long term plans and commitments. According to Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Leslie will make sure that Parliament is in the right places at the right time.
Many different countries utilize Whips within their parliament. There is no doubt that there is a great deal of responsibility that comes up with this position. Not long ago Mr. Trudeau discussed his intention to ease up on party discipline and that he wanted to increase the status and influence of the parliamentary backbenchers, while at the same time limiting the power of the Prime Minister. His reason for doing this is so that Parliament will become more transparent and more accountable. He perceives this as being a way to connect with the Canadians that he serves for.
While this position seems to be a good one and it certainly makes sense to have someone that can look after all of these details, there is no doubt that the one holding the position must to be reliable and credible. It will be interesting to follow Mr. Leslie to see how he fares with his new responsibilities.