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Scott's DiaTribes: Worth repeating on the Supreme Court Senate ruling

As those of you who follow politics in Canada know, the Supreme Court of Canada told Stephen Harper on Friday that if he wanted to either reform (7 provinces/50% of pop) or abolish (unanimity + Senate agreement) the Senate, he needed to do something he hates doing – build a consensus with the provinces.

That ruling led him to petulantly declare that any meaningful reform or thoughts of abolition of the Senate was dead, and that the SCOC had ruled in favour of the status quo that no one wanted.

That led Athlia Raj, who is a correspondent at Huffington (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Vic Toews’ horrible and hypocritical judicial appointment

When the Conservatives where in opposition they raised – as they often did – a legitimate point about the patronage within the then Liberal government. At the front of the pack was Justice Critic Vic Toews, who – quite rightly –  decried the partisan appointments themselves and the process by which they were made. As has become far too familiar, such legitimate criticisms seemed to evaporate the minute the Conservatives won power. Vic Toews has now been appointed to the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. That he abandoned his criticisms of the process for such selections (wanting an independent advisory (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: A brilliant tactical move: Justin Trudeau kicks out Liberal Senators

Sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due: Justin Trudeau just pulled a brilliant tactical move with his unexpected and unceremonious dumping of all former Liberal Senators from the Liberal caucus. As a political analyst, I often am rather unimpressed by the blunders and lack of political acumen from politicians. So setting aside whether this is good or bad thing for the state of Canadian democracy, this post is just about the tactics.

The perennial problem for opposition leaders is that there is little they can actually do. They can huff and puff about what the government’s leaders (Read more…)

Aaron Manton: Trudeau Channels Harper on the Senate

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made a career out of preying on Canadians’ ignorance of our democratic institutions, the Senate in particular.

He did so as far back as 2010 when, in an unprecedented move, he used his Senate majority to defeat the Commons-supported Climate Change Accountability Act. He did so throughout the tenure of his Parliamentary majority, as he allowed a culture of corruption and skullduggery to proliferate in the Upper House under the watch of his closest confidants. He did so just months ago, when he capitalized on growing public attention and dissatisfaction with Red Chamber to suspend (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: So this thing happened in the Senate today..

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 (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: A Scandal in Two Institutions: The Senate Half

What has become known as the Senate Scandal is really a scandal in two institutions: the Senate, of course, but also the PMO. The PMO half of this scandal was written here. What follows is the Senate half of the scandal:

One of the advantages of living in a (relatively) functioning first world democracy is that we are (relatively) unburdened by the kinds of systemic corruption that plagues other polities. Cases of direct financial payoff – suitcases full of cash changing hands in empty parking lot in exchange for political favours – is relatively low. Where in countries with far (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Supreme Court Rules Last Federal Election Was Fraudulent

Dorothy Field-Cowichan Conversations Contributor

The Canadian Federal Court has confirmed that the country’s 2011 federal election, which led to the victory of Stephen Harper’s government, was fraudulent.

This is appalling. Doesn’t the erosion of our democracy matter anymore?

Why isn’t this in the news instead of the awful Senate and Rob Ford?

Well, we have precedent now. Three senators have just been ousted on the basis of wrong doing.

I’m all in favour of punishing wrong doers.

I suggest it’s time the Canadian people suspend Stephen Harper without pay for the duration on the basis of either taking part in (Read more…)

Autonomy For All: The Senate Scandal’s Connection to Harper’s Worst Acts

Reading this excellent piece by Shawn Whitney on how the left shouldn’t assume great policy will automatically come from the downfall of either Harper or Ford, the author speaks to my own discomfort with the Senate expenses scandal: At the federal level, Stephen Harper’s troubles have nothing to do with his murder of thousands of Afghans in support of NATO’s attempt to subdue that country. It has nothing to do with his shutdown of the national daycare plan that Paul Martin put in place to try and save his own skin, or his scuppering of the deal he made with (Read more…)

liberal catnip: The Senate: Where due process went to die today…

Senate votes to suspend Brazeau, Duffy, Wallin

This is a dark, dark day for Canadian democracy and justice. The unelected senate took it upon itself to create a new system of so-called accountability by unceremoniously turfing 3 senators who haven’t been legally charged or convicted of anything – all at the behest of Control Freak Steve. And then the Con leader in the senate, Claude Carignan, whose office quietly received a $600,000 raise in its budget last week had the nerve to attack the Liberal senators after the votes – conveniently ignoring the fact that several Con senators also voted (Read more…)

liberal catnip: Steve’s Senate: The Grift That Keeps on Giving

The average Canadian can be forgiven for not being able to follow all of the bouncing balls being bunted about in the PMO playHouse as Stephen Harper fancies himself the prime mimicker of everything decent and upstanding while failing to keep his senate scandal stories straight from one day to the next. Absolute control corrupts absolutely (to bastardize an old cliché).

Last week, CBC/The National’s Peter Mansbridge summarized some of the history quite well in this video clip, in case you need to refresh your memory or catch up on the sordid affair.  Caution: may leave a bad aftertaste, (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Apparently, the courts are the new enemy of Senate reform

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 (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Senate reform still desired over Senate abolition or status quo

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 (Read more…)

Autonomy For All: No, The Senate is Not a Worthwhile Check on the Prime Minister

Far better ones exist.  I really don’t get where this idea comes from.  Can you name anything bad, ever that our Senate has prevented?  Did it prevent Trudeau’s Martial Law?  Did it stop the internment of Japanese Canadians?  Racist laws like head taxes on Chinese immigrants?  Aboriginal residential schools?  The death penalty? 

You might say that the Senate needs reforms and election of its members to be more effective as a check on tyranny, but the US Senate has an even worse record of preventing injustice and atrocity, in fact spending (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: My brief comments on the ongoing Conservative Senate Saga Scandal

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 (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: I’m sick of reading and hearing people say things like…

I’m sick of reading and hearing people say things like “It’s not fair to suspend those senators without pay, without conducting a full investigation and giving them their day it court.”

The dishonourable Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau have already been proven guilty of embezzling from the Canadian taxpayers and of abusing the public trust. They have already been proven to not live in the houses they claimed as primary residences. In the cases of Duffy and Wallin, they have already been proven to not even live in the provinces that Harper appointed them to represent.

In (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: The Puffster’s Senate Speech

As much as I detest Mike Duffy and everything he stands for, I have to confess that in listening to his Senate speech yesterday I was much-taken with both its content and delivery. Thundering at his erstwhile allies and colleagues, Duffy rebuked the motion of suspension pending against him and Senators Brazeau and Wallin. While undoubtedly heavily self-serving, Duffy portrayed a PMO and, by extension, a Prime Minister who abandoned him despite earlier reassurances that all was kosher with both his expenses and residency, all for the sake of political expedience.

During a meeting with Nigel Wright and Harper, the (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Sen. Pamela Wallin says Canadian Senate has a “lynch mob” mentality

by: Obert Madondo

Former Conservative Sen. Pamela Wallin. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

If there’s anywhere in the world an appointed public official more arrogant than Sen. Pamela Wallin, please let me know.

Wallin, an embattled former Conservative Senator, has repaid the $138,969 she fraudulently claimed from the Senate, plus $13,938.19 in interest. In case you’re tempted to think Wallin is sorry, think again. She remains unrepentant. And she’s mad as hell.

In a statement released Friday, Wallin trashed both the independent accounting firm Deloitte, which audited her expenses, and the Senate’s Internal Economy Committee, which ordered her (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Some Sunday Recreation

Think I’ll go out on my bicycle this morning. In the meantime, enjoy these letters on the Senate imbroglio found in yesterday’s Star:

Machiavelli wrote: “Those who governed the state of Florence . . . used to say it was necessary to reconstitute the government every five years . . . otherwise it was difficult to maintain it.”

What brings down all holders of significant public office in the end is hubris. There is no escape, no way out, whether in an oligarchy or a democracy. Once they are sucked into the maelstrom embrace of the “government machine,” they are inevitably cut off from (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Referendum on Senate? Only if it includes all options – including a “reform” one

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 (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Here is a blast from the past. A drunken, bloated Conservative…

Here is a blast from the past. A drunken, bloated Conservative senator Mike Duffy acts like a pompous, over-stuffed bag of Conservative shit, trying to defend Conservative overspending of our tax dollars by himself and 26 other recently appointed Conservative senators. NDP MP Peter Stoffer rightfully tears a strip off that Conservative porker. This was in early November 2009!

This exchange was brought on by the release of a study showing that the herd of Conservative senators appointed by Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper in 2008 and 2009 could end up costing Canadian taxpayers $177 million. Knowing what we know (Read more…)

OPSEU Diablogue: Conservatives vs. Conservatives – Anti-union bill gets gutted in Canadian Senate

When the Federal Tories took “progressive” out of their title after merging with the Reform Party, it was inevitable that the radical right wing ideology of the Reformers would come into conflict with the more pragmatic former Progressive Conservatives. This … Continue reading →

Politics and its Discontents: Hope He Has A Restful Summer

Wondering if the rotund Senator from somewhere has made his annual pilgramage to P.E.I. yet. In any event, the Cavendish Cottager (as The Disaffected Lib refers to him) should not travel too far afield, as the RCMP may have some questions for him soon. As reported in The Ottawa Citizen, the federal force

…appears to have broadened its investigation into Senator Mike Duffy’s expense claims by obtaining campaign records from 11 Conservative candidates from the last election.

The exhibit report filed in court lists campaign returns and “expense claims and payment documents related to Mike Duffy from (Read more…)

somecanuckchick dot com: Senator Wallin seriously contradicts Wright-Duffy timeline…

Peter Mansbridge’s interview with Senator Pamela Wallin aired the evening of Thursday, June 13th. [ Transcript ]

What about the Conservative caucus? Was that your decision or was it clear to you they wanted you out?

It was clear to me that they wanted me out. That was, a phone call comes and you’re given an hour to resign or you’ll be fired, for lack of a better word.

Is that what happened?

That’s what happened.

From whom?

From the leadership in the Senate and from the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff. So, you know, that’s — I understand, that (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: These photos are just begging to have captions or speech bubbles…

These photos are just begging to have captions or speech bubbles added.

What a bunch of crooks and parasites these Conservatives are — all brought to power by cheating, lying and taking advantage of an antiquated, semi-democratic, rigged system.

We warned you, but millions didn’t listen. Many still remain oblivious. Will Canadians ever learn?

Politics and its Discontents: A Word From The West

We are still in Alberta, having just returned to Edmonton from a trip to Banff and Lake Louise conducted by our son. I suspect that even if we weren’t here, I would have some sympathy for the West’s reaction to the latest utterance from Justin Trudeau.

Although I generally don’t like to use cliches, some would say that this is what happens when you send a boy to do a man’s job. The alternative interpretation, of course, would be to say this is what happens when a party of no discernible principles elects as their leader the person whom polls (Read more…)