If Meech Lake had passed, the Senate would have been reformed. Ken Whyte writes that Peter Lougheed understood just how radically the Red Chamber would have been transformed:
Mr. Lougheed was a great careerist as well as a great politician, and he had thought about Senate reform with both career and politics in mind. . . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: The Reforming Senate
In the wake of the Duffy affair, Errol Mendes writes, the Senate has begun reforming itself:The Senate to which Mr. Duffy returns is, in a multitude of ways, much different from the chamber from which he was suspended. The Senate leadership, in parti… . . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: Owning A Cottage Is Not Enough
Earlier this week, Stephen Harper basically tried to make Senate Reform in Canada the province’s problem to sort out. More or less, he said that he wasn’t going to appoint any more senators until the provinces come up with a plan to reform or abolish the Senate.
Harper has finally figured out one thing . . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: On Senate Reform – Harper’s Way
Earlier this week, Stephen Harper basically tried to make Senate Reform in Canada the province’s problem to sort out. More or less, he said that he wasn’t going to appoint any more senators until the provinces come up with a plan to reform or abo… . . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: On Senate Reform – Harper’s Way
Heading into an election and with the three major federal parties within five or six points of each other in the opinion polls, the Prime Minister has decided that this is the time to talk about reforming the senate.
Stephen Harper said last week that he will not make any more appointments to the senate. . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Smoke, mirrors, and Harper’s senate moratorium #nlpoli #cdnpoli
The National Post‘s John Ivison makes a good living floating trial balloons and framing announcements on behalf of The Harper Government, so his offering Thursday night certainly got the attention of official Ottawa: Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall are expected to appear together Friday to call for the abolition of . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Ignore the shiny Senate distraction: It really is the economy, and Harper things you’re stupid
The National Post’s John Ivison makes a good living floating trial balloons and framing announcements on behalf of The Harper Government, so his offering Thursday night certainly got the attention of official Ottawa:Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Sa… . . . → Read More: A BCer in Ottawa: Ignore the shiny Senate distraction: It really is the economy, and Harper things you’re stupid
Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall thinks that making the senate an elected institution that better reflects Canadians is too hard.
Rather than reform the senate, Wall wants to get rid of it altogether.
Wall thinks that the provincial Premiers should do the job currently done by the senate.
Here’s why no one should take senate . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Brad Wall’s case for abolishing Premiers #cdnpoli #nlpoli
Harper has taken a surprising number of losing cases to the Supreme Court of Canada. Most, if not all, were obviously places where the government’s position is one that is in direct contradiction with the Constitution of Canada. Even a relative neophyte in Constitutional law in Canada can spot that, whether it is Harper’s . . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper Tries To Foment A Crisis
If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Harper doesn’t know how to read a legal decision. Yesterday, in Question Period, Harper said the following: “The Supreme Court has ruled in its wisdom that the federal government can neither abolish the Senate nor, in fact, can the federal government actually propose reforms — significant reforms . . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Mr. Harper: Can You Even Read?
In a withering assessment of Stephen Harper, that is the conclusion Andrew Coyne seems to draw in his National Post column:
We are so heavily invested, we media types, in the notion of Harper as master strategist, able to see around corners and think seven moves ahead and what not, that we tend not . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Failed Puppet Master?
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 . . . → Read More: Scott’s DiaTribes: Worth repeating on the Supreme Court Senate ruling
Golly. I don't know who looked more more beaten or more pathetic today, Stephen Harper or Pierre Poilievre. It was too close to call.But what is certain is that both were humiliated beyond belief.Harper slapped in the face by the Supreme Court, and sent crashing to the canvas.
Stephen Harper threw in the . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Incredible Humiliation of Stephen Harper and Pierre Poilievre
It wouldn’t be surprising if Prime Minister Harper was in a bit of a funk over the Supreme Court’s decision on the Senate this week. The Court unanimously rejected his government’s attempt to transform the Senate into an elected body and to set term limits, saying that such basic changes require the consent of at . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Don’t give up on the Senate, Mr. Harper
The Supreme Court issued their ruling on the Senate Reform Consultation questions that Harper put before them last year.
In a unanimous decision released Friday, eight judges of the top court concluded that implementing fixed terms for senators or provincial elections for Senate candidates would require the consent of seven provinces representing half . . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Strike 4: Harper Cannot Unilaterally Reform The Senate
Historically, big changes in governance often occur in a period of rapid debate and change, following a long period of relative inaction while structural pressures build. For the Senate, the problems regarding the institution have been clear for a long time, but prospects for change have been dim. Complaints about the system and the . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: Predicting a timeline for Senate reform
Thomas Mulcair gives the impression that he relishes the views of some of him as a tough guy. In Question Period, faced with a cornered Prime Minister Harper who has to appear (sometimes) and answer questions (even if with non-answers), Mulcair is the diligent, remorseless, forceful, and effective cross examiner. He shows . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The Senate: Will Mulcair’s rabbits and doves flee in all directions as Mulroney’s did?
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 . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: A brilliant tactical move: Justin Trudeau kicks out Liberal Senators
Tweet Is the Senate of Canada broken? And if so, is it worth saving? Here are the positions held by Canada’s federal political parties: 1) Abolish the Senate The New Democratic Party of Canada, the official opposition since 2011, are staunchly in favour of entirely abolishing the Senate of Canada. “Unelected party hacks have no . . . → Read More: daveberta.ca – Alberta politics: Five ways to save the Senate of Canada
Yesterday, Justin Trudeau gave Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair migraines. Micheal den Tandt writes:
In one bold, risky and unexpected gambit, Justin Trudeau has turned the national debate about the Red Chamber on its head, blasted a crater-sized hole in the Conservative government’s strategy to sell its version of Senate reform, and forced NDP . . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: A Force To Be Reckoned With
I think everyone was surprised by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s move this morning – particularly 32 Senators – that he was removing all Senators from the Liberal parliamentary caucus, and that as Prime Minister, he would only appoint Senators selected through a non-partisan review process. (Read Trudeau’s statement: Ending partisanship and patronage in the Senate) . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Trudeau’s Senate play a bold stroke. But what’s next?
A few thoughts here on today’s announcement by Justin Trudeau that Liberal Senators will no longer be part of the Liberal caucus and are now to sit independently.
One of Trudeau’s lines that stood out for me was this one: “At our best, Liberals are relentless reformers.” Recently, on the death of Jim Coutts, an opinion piece he wrote in 2004 was circulated, and in it, we found this:
“The current policy markers of the Liberal party have evolved over time and are fairly familiar to many Canadians. The most crucial Liberal markers are these:
- Reform, which is so central to Liberal identity that it was the party’s name up to and during the leadership of George Brown. The marker has stood for political reform, ranging from the introduc- tion of responsible government under Baldwin and Lafontaine, to battling ruling-class power and patronage abuse at the time of Brown, Mackenzie and Blake, to entrenching a constitutional Charter of Rights under Trudeau. Since the 1920s, the Liberal reform marker has most importantly sig- nified social reform, or the cre- ation and improvement of a modern welfare state.”
Today we saw a big bout of reform in the form of a Senate that would be independent, in Trudeau’s words:
That is why I have come to believe that the Senate must be non-partisan. Composed merely of thoughtful individuals representing the varied values, perspectives and identities of this great country. Independent from any particular political brand.
Trudeau’s reform will likely come off as reasonable to many Canadians. It is not the radical abolitionist approach of the NDP which would require constitutional reform. It is not the Conservative supposed pro-reform approach that has gone nowhere for their seven years in power and that would also likely require constitutional reform.
Trudeau’s reform looks at the Senate, and proposes an approach that will not tear it down, but make fair use of a second chamber. In the Westminster system, it would be anomalous not to have a second chamber. The direction suggested, a more merit-based approach is a good one that speaks to the times. This reform, as Trudeau is suggesting, could be infused with principles of merit, competency, and transparency, to bolster the credibility of the Liberal proposals. And this Liberal would suggest ensuring that the appointment process be free from an elite-based orientation.
To be sure, there will be wrinkles to iron out. Senator Campbell spoke to some of these today: He also questioned how the Senate will function in terms of their role in scrutinizing government legislation. He questioned, for instance, who will sit on committees and who will be named critics of which bills.
Ensuring that the elected representatives’ will is carried out and without blockage, is another consideration to be grappled with. And perhaps with that consideration in mind, note Trudeau’s last line in his remarks today:
We want to build public institutions that Canadians can trust, and that serve Canadians. This requires real, positive change. These proposals are the next step in our Open Parliament plan to do just that.
They won’t be the last.
This may be a nod to the democratic reform resolution that the federal Liberal MP caucus has proposed as one of its priority resolutions to be voted upon at the upcoming February biennial policy convention in Montreal, less than a month away now. That resolution, Bolstering Canada’s Democracy, contains this operative proposal:
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT immediately after the next election, the Liberal Party of Canada institute an all-Party process, involving expert assistance and citizen participation, to report to Parliament within 12 months with analysis and recommendations for an electoral system including, without limitation, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation, to represent all Canadians more fairly and to allow Parliament to serve Canada better.
Senate reform without reform of our House of Commons would be incongruent. The above proposed resolution would be the beginning of addressing the imbalance that would result if the Senate were reformed without a similar effort being made in respect of the House of Commons. As bad as some of the practices and appointments connected to the Senate have been, the pressing need for reform lies in the House of Commons. Electoral reform to change the system in which we operate is one route. Michael Chong’s reform which accepts the system yet changes the rules is another. The good news is that reform in a big way is on the agenda for Canada.
Liberals are re-embracing reform as a mantle. All in all, a positive development today. . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Liberal reformers
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 . . . → Read More: Scott’s DiaTribes: So this thing happened in the Senate today..