Senator Peter Harder, who represents the government in the Senate, gives praise for Prime Minister Trudeau's new approach to senate reform by creating an "independent" "non-partisan" committee to recommend individuals for the prime minister to recommend to the governor general for appointment to the upper chamber.
|Senate chamber image courtesy Library of Parliament|
"But Canadians ought not to be misled by those who argue that appointing independent senators is somehow an affront to the foundational principles of Canada’s parliamentary system. In removing partisanship from the appointment process, the Prime Minister has actually gone back to the basics of Confederation.""Misled"? Oh, we are not misleading Canadians. You are. You somehow claim that this is better than everyday Canadians electing those who are supposed to represent them in their parliament. You also completely fail to mention the gross imbalance of provincial representation--continuing the long-standing "tradition" of senate dominance of the East over West.
As you know, I've been blogging about the Canadian Senate for about 10 years and the machinations and proposals thereof, where I've been following and commenting on this issue since the late 1990's. What I particularly point out is the lack of action and doubletalk by mostly Liberals. I call this "insenaty", because doing and saying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result regarding the senate is just that--insane.
Let's be real. Those who vote federally for a Member of Parliament, although we are voting for a candidate in our riding, tend to vote for the party, leader, and attached policies. Doing so also gives accountability by the people and the party to that MP. Any newly appointed senator now who claims they are non-partisan may be true for some, but not true for all as I'm sure they all vote.
Appointing senators, especially by a committee comprised of people Canadians don't have a clue about, is nowhere near a democracy. In fact, it is further away than before because the accountability to elected members and the party in power has been removed.
At least with the process where the prime minister recommends the appointments, when a senator acts in a way that we don't like, whether committing crimes, overspending on expenses, or is absent, they are still tied at the hip to their party and the buck stops with the leader, the de facto official who is held to account when public or media outcry demand it.
Harper at least tried to limit their term and appointed senators elected by the people of Alberta. There was also a point there where he had not made any appointments for so long, I thought he was going to let it die off naturally and then only appoint those who were elected provincially. That only lasted so long in trying to pass bills.
I'm not saying this wasn't an astute political chess move by Trudeau; it was a masterstroke. After seeing how former and popular TV news personalities Mike Duffy/Pamela, as appointed to the senate by then PM Stephen Harper, all of their expense-scandal drama became directly associated with the prime minister. It was so because he got involved to control the politics for his party. It didn't work out well. If they were independent, the Conservatives would have spilled no blood.
So after also seeing all the Liberal senators also abusing expenses, why in the hell would Trudeau want to have them associated with his party when shit like this happens and would likely happen in the future--damned the idea the Senate can manage itself. The Senate is no longer his baby--from a hands-off view.
What is also hilarious about that article by Peter Harder, is while he claims to be so independent and non-partisan, blathers on how great this new process is, and says we who argue against this process have "misled", here he is giving partisan praise to Liberal Trudeau without looking at any of the merits of what has been proposed and somewhat implemented by other parties. None. Zero. Nada.
Further, in his praise, he also claims Trudeau is going back to the basics of Confederation where appointments were to be non-partisan and independent.
Sure. Non-partisan and independent, fine, but we're not buying it. You'd think of all people, however, the government representative in the senate would know the actual history that an elected senate was proposed, but turned down by bigger provinces for reasons of the time regarding expenses of elections. But this isn't that time.
As Justin Trudeau said after the last federal election regarding gender equality in his cabinet, "Because it's 2015."
He was right. But it isn't 1867 either.
Equal? Where is the provincial equality?
Accountable? Now the senators are accountable to no one, no party, no leader, nor representative of the people.
Elected? Looks like never.
The "insenaty" continues.