If anyone predicted this was going to happen today, I’m going to them to ask what numbers I should pick for the lottery:
Justin Trudeau has expelled from his caucus every single Liberal member of the upper house and has declared there is no longer any such thing as a Liberal Senator. The Liberal leader said the former members of the Liberal Senate caucus will sit as Independents, and they will have no formal ties to the Liberal parliamentary machinery apart from through their friendships…The move stunned both Liberal senators and senior Liberal Senate staffers, who had not been formally advised of the decision. It also blindsided veteran insiders and [...]
So says the Prime Minister to his party faithful at their Calgary convention:
“We were blocked by the other parties in the minority parliaments, and now we are being blocked in the courts,” said Harper in a lengthy keynote speech to the Conservative party faithful Friday night….Harper’s designating “the courts” as an enemy appeared to stem from a decision last week by the Quebec Court of Appeal, which ruled reforms such as elections to select senators or term limits could not be legislated unilaterally — as Harper had proposed.
In essence, anyone or any group that tells Stephen Harper he can’t do anything he wants is now the enemy [...]
Despite the Senate scandal deepening, it appears that for now, Canadians still prefer reforming the Senate over abolishing it, as indicated by this Ipsos-Reid poll from a couple of days ago. 49% of respondents indicated reform (and the Ipsos question on reform is worded as “..reformed to make it for example an elected body“) while 43% preferred abolishing it. Only 8% preferred the status quo – leaving it as is.
All discussions on what should be done with the Senate are on hold until the Supreme Court of Canada rules on the government’s referral on what can and can’t be done with the Senate, and what amount of consent is [...]
You might have noticed I’ve not said much on the continuing allegations/bombshells being dropped in the Senate these days – with more bombs on additional cheques and PMO and PM involvement being dropped/alleged by ex-Con Senator Mike Duffy today.
At this point, I don’t really have much to add that you haven’t already read at other blogs (go to the aggregators Liblogs and Progressive Bloggers for a nice long list of those) and news sites. I’m just buying the popcorn at a steady pace and enjoying the show and the misery that a scorned Senator (or Senators) wrath is inflicting on Harper and the CPC.
I will say though this: [...]
Michael Bliss, Professor at U of T, argues in the Globe today that the Senate must be abolished, and lays out why it can’t be reformed.
I’ll put aside that part of the argument for now; what I’m interested in is how he feels abolishing the Senate would be any easier then reforming it as an elected body. He argues that it should be put to a vote in a national referendum, and if the consenus is to abolish – dare the provinces who oppose abolishing it to stand against a referendum vote. He doesn’t think they will, they’d be shamed into supporting abolition or be afraid of the electoral [...]
Ideas to reform the Senate seem to be the Canadian version of the Holy Grail. This week, you’ve seen not calls for reform, but calls to abolish it with the behaviors coming to light of a couple of Harper-appointed Conservative Senators in the form of Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau.
I’m against abolition – I think the Senate can perform its constitutionally designated role – representing the provinces/regions equally (edit: and acting as a chamber of sober second thought), if it was given some legitimacy and the patronage appointment power of the Prime Minister (or technically the Governor-General) removed. Of course, that means I’m for electing the Senators, but you [...]
Yes, I’m going to give Harper credit on something this morning, and that is the apparent decision to refer the Government’s proposed Senate reform bill to the Supreme Court of Canada, and ask the High Court for their decision on whether its constitutionally valid or not:
Since 2006, the Conservative government has called for all new senators to be selected through provincial elections and to serve under a fixed term, with the latest version of the legislation proposing a nine-year mandate…experts said they feel it is appropriate to check on the constitutionality of the Senate reforms before they are put into place, instead of passing the legislation and then letting [...]
It seems a new poll is out that says Canadians are more then willing right now to re-open the Constitution to do such things as Senate reform:
After almost two decades of constitutional peace, Harris-Decima survey conducted for The Canadian Press indicates a majority is now willing to risk re-opening the constitutional can of worms to accomplish some specific goals…For instance, 61 per cent said they’re prepared to re-open the Constitution to reform or abolish the appointed Senate. And 58 per cent said they’re willing to offer constitutional amendments in a bid to finally secure Quebec’s signature on the Constitution. Fifty-eight per cent also said they’re willing to open up [...]
There are two traits of our newest Conservative Senator, David Braley (who, by the way, owns 2 CFL teams – the Toronto Argos and the BC Lions. I still don’t get how he’s allowed to own 2 different teams in the same league – conflict of interest anyone? – but that’s another story).
The first trait, as noted by Kady O’Malley, is that he already has the Conservative trait of deny, deny, deny, even when faced with facts:
From today’s Globe and Mail:
As the Prime Minister’s Office announced Mr. Braley’s appointment, opposition Liberal researchers said he personally donated $16,500 to Mr. Harper’s 2004 leadership campaign and that his company [...]
Here’s a wonkish-type post from me today on Senate reform, since there’s another poll out today (h/t Harperbizarro)that shows many Canadians in favour of an elected Senate.
In my opinion, If you’re going to do reform, Harper’s piecemeal way isn’t the way to go (it may not even be constitutionally legal); you need to open the Constitution and hammer out an agreement with the provinces. It’s more difficult to do it that way, but if you’re serious about it and not just trying to use it as a wedge issue for stirring up your supporters, then that’s the way you do it. If you fail, you drop it and [...]