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Doc about whipped BC MLAs now free to view online

The candidates running against Christy Clark in the recent Westside-Kelowna byelection did their best to scare votes away from the premier by framing her as an outsider -- a Vancouver resident with little understanding of the issues that southern interior residents care about, and therefore incapable of adequately representing them.

But truthfully, how much power do B.C. MLAs, particularly those with party affiliations, actually have to fight for what their constituents want?

Not much, according to journalism professor Sean Holman. Holman was a long-time independent investigative reporter in the province and the whipsmart blogger behind the now-retired scuttlebutt site Public Eye.

"Party discipline gives a majority government the power to do almost anything it wants in the legislature," he told The Tyee recently.

"In fact, the last time a government bill was defeated was 1953 -- the same year Soviet premier Joseph Stalin died. The story about how that discipline works is the one big story I wasn't able to tell when I was covering provincial politics. That is, until now."

Holman's documentary Whipped: The Secret World of Party Discipline aired in cities across the countries, and is now streaming for free on CPAC.

Watch it here.

Robyn Smith is a senior editor at The Tyee.

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