Elizabeth May, then the sole Member of Parliament representing the Green Party, tells the story of MPs of various party affiliations inquiring of her as to how she decides how she is going to vote on any particular bill or motion. She replies that she reads the bill, studies it, consults with her constituents, sometimes asks questions of the sponser, and then comes to her position. Incredulous, MPs from other parties exlaim about how labour intensive that must be and how much easier it is to simply follow the voting instructions provided by the party whips! Undoubtably that is true. However, I believe most constituents would be shocked to discover that their elected representatives are voting automatons, often too disengaged to even follow what item they are voting on.
* Brent Rathgeber, Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada