Monday, July 11, 2011

Harper's Senate Reform? Nothing But Bad For The West

The pandora's box of Senate reform continues to be "peeked into". What does it mean for Western Canadians? Here's Ralph Goodale's take:


Stephen Harper is again pushing all his old proposals to “reform” the Senate.

It’s all a bit rich, since he has violated every promise he ever made about this much-maligned institution.

He said he would never appoint anyone to the Senate who hadn’t first been “elected” to that role in some fashion. But instead, he packed the place with more partisan cronies than any other Prime Minister in Canadian history.

He said he would never allow an appointed Senator into his Cabinet. But instead, in his very first Cabinet in 2006, he appointed a floor-crossing Liberal (David Emerson) to sit in the upper chamber, and before Emerson could even find his seat, he was elevated to Cabinet.

Knowing they were under investigation by Elections Canada for alleged wrong-doing in Conservative election financing, Mr. Harper appointed two of his closest Party confidants to the Senate, risking further embarrassment for the institution.

And then most recently, he rescued three Conservative candidates, just defeated by their voters on May 2nd, and installed them days later in the Senate. Two of them were former Conservative Senators who had only just resigned to run for the House of Commons. Their voters rejected them, and now they’re better off than if they’d won.

So pious pronouncements about Senate reform don’t ring true from Stephen Harper.

And it’s not just me who’s skeptical. At least two provinces have threatened to take Mr. Harper to court. And even former Alberta Premier, Don Getty, says the Harper scheme is wrong.

The big problem for me is simple. If you concoct some half-baked way to “elect” Senators indirectly – without actually rectifying the numbers from each region, to even-up the severe imbalance against western Canada – then you’re just entrenching the Senate’s current anti-western bias.

Elected, but unequal, just doesn’t cut it!

post signatureVICTORY FUND


Anonymous said...

No Lib should discuss what is good or bad for the West.

Want proof? Check the results of the last dozen federal elections west of Ontario. Hmm, I see a lack of credibility there? No?

WesternGrit said...

Often people don't vote for what is in their best interest. There is a LOT more to Liberal misfortunes in the West than the very existence of the party. A few decades ago the LPC was a major player in the rural West. Currently - seat count notwithstanding - the LPC is still a factor in every major urban area in the West - without, perhaps, Calgary. The Liberals used to be THE force with many Western farmers. That vote has slipped away for various reasons.

Liberals ALWAYS discuss the West - because millions of us live and vote here. Our love for our home Provinces is only exceeded by our love for Canada as a whole. THAT is the defining difference between we Liberals and Conservatives. Cons tend to think VERY selfishly local - while Liberals have a nation-building mind-set.