Re: Advice to Conservatives: Think twiceNov 24th, 2019
November 23, 2019
November 23, 2019 2:30 PM EST
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer speaks at a news conference the day after he lost the federal election to Justin Trudeau in Regina, on Oct. 22, 2019.Todd Korol / Reuters
Unless there is a scandal involving skimming off taxpayers’ money or lurid tales of sexual improprieties, Canadians do not spend a lot of time pondering the lives and times of those who populate the Senate.
If there is paint to watch dry, there’s at least an option.
The headline-producing exceptions, of course, were the Ol’ Duff’s victorious and highly-publicized legal battle over accusations of playing fast and loose with his Senate expense account, and Sen. Don Meredith, a disgraced Pentecostal minister from Toronto who resigned after being found guilty by the Senate’s ethics office in 2017 of having a two-year fling with a girl that began she was only 16.
Sen. Mike Duffy(The Canadian Press)
And then everyone went back to watching paint dry-and that’s with Sen. Mike Duffy remaining low, and Meredith back in Toronto with his personal bio long gone from the Senate’s website.
Within a week of the Oct. 21 election, Conservative Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais, rewarded with a Senate seat for his failure to win his Quebec riding in 2011, was calling for the resignation of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
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His reason? Quebec would remain a dead zone for Tory MPs if the social-conservative Scheer were to remain the party’s leader.
He is likely not far from wrong.
Dagenais’ party loyalty, therefore, has come to an end-sort of.
His Senate office sent out a news release last week in which the former 40-year-veteran cop in the Surete du Quebec announced he was leaving the Conservative caucus and sitting, instead, with the newly-formed Canadian Senators group which allegedly makes him even less constrained.
Senator Jean-Guy Dagenais poses for a photo in his office in Ottawa Feb 21, 2012. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)
But he’s keeping his membership card because it’s “the only political party in the country that conveys his economic and national security values.”
“Andrew Scheer’s beliefs about abortion and same-sex marriages led to a mass exodus of the Quebec vote that the party hoped to win with the excellent candidates who had been recruited,” read Dagenais’ news release.
Dagenais argued the Conservatives “wasted a unique opportunity” in the federal election with a result that will only be repeated “if the current leader and those who advise him remain in office as is the case at this time.”
The Conservatives, of course, won only 10 seats in the province of Quebec, with the Liberals taking 35 seats, the Bloc Quebecois 32, and the sad-sack NDP just one, a far cry from the late Jack Layton’s “Orange Crush” of 2011 when 59 seats were gained.
The other defector, by the way, was P.E.I. Sen. Percy Downe who, until his Senate appointment in 2003, was chief-of-staff to Liberal PM Jean Chretien.
Surely this was coincidental.
It has yet to play out how far the breakaway senators will go now that party loyalty no longer has them hog-tied to enforced discipline, and with Dagenais having five more years as a senator to mess with the political landscape.
Mike Duffy was pawn in a bigger game
Ex-senator Don Meredith harassed staff, constable, ethics officer reports
Patrick Brazeau takes seat in Senate for first time in more than three years
EDITORIAL: How the Senate failed to deal with Lavscam
Since the national media rarely looks at the Senate unless there are money scandals or sex shenanigans, rest assured there is a plot or two afoot.
So, if Scheer is going to survive and then win the mandatory leadership vote at the party’s convention in April, he had best be tuned in to the Senate’s rumour mill and its ever-present political conspiracy theorists.
One can bet the family farm that there are already contenders hiding in the Conservative weeds and weighing their chances at success.
The sleepy old Senate is therefore worth keeping an eye for plots, conspiracies and the insider scuttlebutt that is always churning from within.
Knowledge, after all, is power.