Stephen Harper to join Brad Wall in call for Senate abolition on Friday


Locutus
#1


Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall are expected to appear together Friday to call for the abolition of the Senate, according to a source familiar with their plans.

Harper is scheduled to hold a press conference at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building in the afternoon, where he will be joined by Wall.

Neither the Prime Minister’s Office nor the office of the Saskatchewan Premier could be reached Thursday evening to confirm the announcement.

The Senate has been a constant thorn in the side of the Prime Minister, who has gone from railing against its lack of accountability and pushing for reform as a member of the opposition, to being tarnished by its excesses as a series of a scandals consumed Conservative members of the Upper Chamber in recent years.

Suspended Conservative Senator Mike Duffy, who was appointed by Harper, is currently on trial on a total of 31 charges including multiple counts of fraud and breach of trust in relation to his Senate expenses.


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Stephen Harper to join Brad Wall in call for Senate abolition on Friday: source | National Post
 
mentalfloss
#2
Stephen Harper to join Brad Wall in call for Senate abolition on Friday: source
National Post | Canadian News, Financial News and Opinion

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall are expected to appear together Friday to call for the abolition of the Senate, according to a source familiar with their plans.

Harper is scheduled to hold a press conference at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building in the afternoon, where he will be joined by Wall.

Neither the Prime Minister’s Office nor the office of the Saskatchewan Premier could be reached Thursday evening to confirm the announcement.

The Senate has been a constant thorn in the side of the Prime Minister, who has gone from railing against its lack of accountability and pushing for reform as a member of the opposition, to being tarnished by its excesses as a series of a scandals consumed Conservative members of the Upper Chamber in recent years.

Suspended Conservative Senator Mike Duffy, who was appointed by Harper, is currently on trial on a total of 31 charges including multiple counts of fraud and breach of trust in relation to his Senate expenses.

Duffy was suspended along with fellow Conservative senators Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin in 2013 after questions about their expenses came to light.

More recently, Conservative Senator Don Meredith was removed from the party caucus after allegations he had an affair with an underage girl.

Calling for outright abolition would mark a policy shift for the Conservatives but one they have hinted at many times over the years.

During a 2007 speech to the Australian parliament Harper said that if the Upper Chamber could not be reformed, there would be only one solution.

“Canadians understand that our Senate, as it stands today, must either change or — like the old upper houses of our provinces — vanish,” he said.

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that Ottawa could not act alone to kill the Senate — such a move would require the unanimous consent of all provinces.

One possible method would be via a plebiscite, an avenue former Senator Hugh Segal twice proposed while serving in the Senate in 2005-14.

“The question should be put honourably to Canadians — we should afford them the chance to have their say. Otherwise, the system rolls on and the general cynicism will spread to other things, which is not a good thing for our democracy,” he said.

An Angus Reid Institute poll conducted in April found that about 41% of Canadians would support abolishing the Red Chamber, while another 45% want it reformed. Only 14% thought it should be left as it is.

At the time, only 16% of poll respondents said their views of the Senate would inform their vote in the coming election.

Wall, meanwhile, has been a long supporter of Senate abolition. He told CBC radio in June that it would be easier to just get rid of Senate than to reform it.

In November 2013, Wall introduced a government motion calling for the Senate to be abolished, where he said he believes most people in his province think the Senate no longer serves any useful purpose.

National Post with files from Postmedia News

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldThe Senate chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Stephen Harper to join Brad Wall in call for Senate abolition on Friday: source
 
Walter
+3
#3  Top Rated Post
Just following up on the Cons promise to reform the Senate which was previously blocked by the Libs and the Dippers.
 
B00Mer
No Party Affiliation
#4
Oh FFS.
 
mentalfloss
#5
Less than 1 hour.

Relax.

Take a deep breath.

And merge.
 
petros
#6
Look before you leap.
 
B00Mer
No Party Affiliation
+3
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Look before you leap.


Nah, just forget to pack the parachute and push him from the plane... Adios Flossy
 
petros
#8
The neighbourhood guy's thread has a photo. Much more aesthetically pleasing.
 
Corduroy
#9
Going after that coveted Senate abolitionist vote. There's a curling club in Flin Flon that votes exclusively on that issue. Shameless electioneering.
 
petros
#10
They already have the Flin Flon vote. NDP will be losing seats in MB.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#11
According to his talk on C.B.C. news, he is currently downsizing senate through attrition and is seriously considering abolishing it. It would be nice if he could complete his intentions before the election so there is no chance of the senate reincarnating in any form. I'm not sure if Jr. would do the same.
 
Corduroy
+1 / -1
#12
Harper is just saying that to deflect fallout from the senate scandal. He might actually believe it. I wouldn't be surprised. He was a Reformer. But abolishing the senate is a BFD and they won't be able to do it before October, nor will coming out against the senate win any substantial votes. It does, however, put the Conservatives in the anti-senate camp so they don't look so bad when it's revealed how crooked some of their senators are.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Corduroy View Post

Harper is just saying that to deflect fallout from the senate scandal. He might actually believe it. I wouldn't be surprised. He was a Reformer. But abolishing the senate is a BFD and they won't be able to do it before October, nor will coming out against the senate win any substantial votes. It does, however, put the Conservatives in the anti-senate camp so they don't look so bad when it's revealed how crooked some of their senators are.

Yeah, I think you have it figured pretty close. Pretty cute move just the same.
 
DaSleeper
+2
#14
I think as a reformer, he always wanted to remove the senate, but there was never a good time to do it until now with all the scandals...
Timing is everything in politics......
 
WLDB
No Party Affiliation
-1
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by Walter View Post

Just following up on the Cons promise to reform the Senate which was previously blocked by the Libs and the Dippers.

And the Senators Harper appointed.

Quote: Originally Posted by JLM View Post

According to his talk on C.B.C. news, he is currently downsizing senate through attrition and is seriously considering abolishing it. It would be nice if he could complete his intentions before the election so there is no chance of the senate reincarnating in any form. I'm not sure if Jr. would do the same.

He did that for his first few years in office. He was eventually forced to start appointing them again. The same will happen now if not before the election then after - if he wins. Whoever does will have to eventually. No PM will have the authority to abolish the Senate or allow its membership to dwindle down to 0.

Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeper View Post

I think as a reformer, he always wanted to remove the senate,

Yep and it was one of the few things I agreed with him on. The reform he tried to pass through was far from perfect but it was better than nothing. His own people shot it down.
 
Walter
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDB View Post

No PM will have the authority to abolish the Senate or allow its membership to dwindle down to 0.

It can be put to a plebiscite.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDB View Post

No PM will have the authority to abolish the Senate or allow its membership to dwindle down to 0.


Unless all the provinces agree.

Quote: Originally Posted by Walter View Post

It can be put to a plebiscite.

Are plebiscites enforceable!
 
WLDB
No Party Affiliation
+1
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by Walter View Post

It can be put to a plebiscite.

Which wouldnt accomplish anything except to show where popular opinion is. This is not a valid way of changing the constitution which is what would be required to abolish or significantly reform the senate.

Quote: Originally Posted by JLM View Post

Unless all the provinces agree.

They probably wouldnt agree on the colour of the sky.
 
Locutus
+2
#19
Are you ready,
Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat

Autopsy of a non-event

The rapid rise and fall of the false rumor of Prime Minister Harper’s plan to abolish the Senate offers a revealing case study of the sophomoric irresponsibility of contemporary Canadian political journalism.

Jon Ivison writes for the National Post, sometimes as a columnist, sometimes as a reporter. His stories have a tendency to contain tantalizing previews of dramatic announcements, the news of which, we are always told, was surreptitiously whispered into his exclusive ear by a single unnameable courtier of some powerful person.

more

Autopsy of a non-event » J.J. McCullough » Archive




So somebody whispered sweet nothings in John Ivison's ear and the putz fell for it.

Maybe he should have consulted the Supremes ruling, which has been freely available for about ONE YEAR; and he would have disabused himself of his frothy fantasy.

SUPREME COURT OF CANADA

Citation: Reference re Senate Reform, 2014 SCC 32, [2014] 1 S.C.R. 704
Date: 20140425 Docket: 35203

Reference re Senate Reform - SCC Cases (Lexum)

Evidently John finds using Google and other search engines somewhat challenging...

How can you tell it is election season...?

A. Parliamentary scribes engage in wild caprices of abandon, sprinkling digital ink far and wide, as if composing some sort of Rorschach test for the electorally insane.


Your Moral And Intellectual Superiors - Small Dead Animals
 
CDNBear
+2
#20
"... a revealing case study of the sophomoric irresponsibility of contemporary Canadian political journalism."

That would explain why we so many of the truly ignorant reposting articles from the shallow end of the sophomoric gene puddle.
 
tay
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by Walter View Post

Just following up on the Cons promise to reform the Senate which was previously blocked by the Libs and the Dippers.





Is it safe to assume Dippers = NDP in your world?


Of course we won't let facts get in the way..........








Tom Mulcair advocated Stephen Harper not fill any Senate vacancies in 2014 as a means of slow abolition - Experts at the time warned the plan might be unconstitutional








http://m.cbc.ca/news/politics/is-ste...eats-1.2701619






This twitter thing is odd........






https://twitter.com/ThomasMulcair/st...045029381?s=09
















www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0jW3VHAzhw
 
tay
#22
Let's remember that the last time Stephen Harper broke his promise not to appoint unelected Senators, his rationale had nothing at all to do with the passage of legislation.




Instead, it arose in response to the prospect of a coalition government winning power - and Harper's explanation (link is external) was that if any party was going to appoint cronies and bagmen to publicly-funded sinecures, it would be his own.












Between Stephen Harper's combination of broken promises and ongoing scandals, I'm rather shocked that anybody thought the Senate would be anything but a political liability for the Cons. But let's highlight what's worth taking away from an announcement which came nowhere close to living up to its billing .
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he refuses to name any senators until the Senate is reformed, adding he hopes it will put pressure on the provinces to figure out a plan to update the institution.
...
The policy will remain in place as long as the government can pass its legislation, the prime minister said.




Of course, the Cons have a majority in the Senate and will for some time no matter what happens. As a result, they face no risk at all in their ability to pass legislation in the foreseeable future.

But the more general principle that the Senate shouldn't interfere with the passage of government legislation is rather more important given the prospect of a new government facing Con obstruction.

So between now and election day, it's worth pressing Harper, his party, and particularly their unelected non-representatives on their willingness to apply the same rule no matter who forms government. And if the result is a consensus that the Senate won't interfere with the will of the electorate, that should make for an important step in placing decision-making authority where it belongs.






In that respect, Campbell Clark's discussion (link is external) of the difference between Harper's new announcement and the position the federal government has taken in Aniz Alani's lawsuit (link is external) seeking to require the appointment of Senators might be of particular interest:




In that case at the Federal Court, the government has been filing materials to back up an argument that Mr. Harper is delaying appointments, not refusing them.


They include an affidavit from McGill political science professor Christopher Manfredi, who declared that there’s no constitutional convention that dictates how much time PMs have to appoint senators, and they can take their time. But refusing to appoint senators?

“Certainly, at some stage, senators have to be appointed,” Federal Court Justice Sean Harrington wrote in May, when he rejected the government’s motion to dismiss Mr. Alani’s case. He noted that if there were less than 15 senators, the required number for quorum in the chamber, Parliament could not function. (Mr. Alani argues the Constitution requires Mr. Harper to appoint senators, and refusing to do so defeats constitutional provisions guaranteeing levels of representation to provinces.)

He also wrote this: “I know of no law which provides that one may not do what one is otherwise obliged to do simply because it would be embarrassing.”

But government lawyers told the court, in a letter dated June 15, that there was never any decision made by the Prime Minister to leave Senate seats vacant. The letter was sent as part of the court process: Mr. Alani had asked for copies of all the materials the PM used to make the decision to leave Senate seats vacant, and government lawyer Jan Brongers replied that there were no materials, because there was no such decision.Harper's new announcement surely changes the factual landscape underlying Alani's application.


And it's worth wondering whether Harper's plan might open the door to his being provided with an excuse to make appointments in advance of the election.

 
damngrumpy
No Party Affiliation
#23
Reformers wanted and want an elected Senate not abolish it
The NDP has called for putting an end to the hall of patronage.
There are no NDP members of the upper chamber a few have
been offered the position but have refused.
When done with the Senate I hope they take a look at the
Governor General that should go too.
 
grumpydigger
#24
Harpo will say or do, whatever it takes to get reelected.
He's betting on the fact, that Canadians has short-term memory loss.....

Considering the bulk of his conservative appointees to the Senate are under investigation standing on a soapbox and saying he wants to Abolish it is pretty safe.

Remember heave Steve, save Canada.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by damngrumpy View Post

Reformers wanted and want an elected Senate not abolish it
The NDP has called for putting an end to the hall of patronage.
There are no NDP members of the upper chamber a few have
been offered the position but have refused.
When done with the Senate I hope they take a look at the
Governor General that should go too.

I doubt if the G.G. will go anytime soon. He actually has an important role .........................head honcho for activities non political, also he's necessary to call an election!

Quote: Originally Posted by grumpydigger View Post

Harpo will say or do, whatever it takes to get reelected.
.

Has there ever been a P.M. who hasn't?