POLITICS

Tory MP Peter Goldring: Governor General Should Disallow Motions To Suspend Senators

10/25/2013 04:08 EDT | Updated 10/25/2013 04:12 EDT
CP

OTTAWA — Conservative MP Peter Goldring wants the Governor General of Canada to disallow motions from his own government that seek to suspend three former Tory senators.

Goldring told The Huffington Post Canada Friday that he has been trying to reach Rideau Hall to make the request officially. And he hopes to start a letter-writing campaign.

"The Governor General has been more or less a puppet figurehead in the country but according of the written word of the Constitution, he is supposed to be the power and authority," Goldring said.

Goldring said he believes that, at least on paper, the Queen's representative in Canada has the power to disallow egregious legislation.

"Maybe we should dust off the rules and see if the Governor General won't come to terms on this and take care of business," he said.

Queen's University emeritus professor of political studies Ned Franks, however, said Goldring's request will fall on deaf ears since the Governor General has no authority to veto Senate motions.

Goldring said he is concerned senators Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy are not being given a fair hearing, and their rights are being trampled upon by the Conservative majority in the Senate.

The Government Leader in the Senate Claude Carignan is trying to get the three senators, whose expenses have come under scrutiny, suspended from the upper chamber without pay or access to Senate resources — a move akin to expulsion. A vote is expected next week.

Goldring, the Edmonton MP who quit the Tory caucus after he was charged with failing to provide a breathalyzer test in Dec. 2011 but was welcomed back to the caucus this June after he was found not guilty, said he believes Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau are facing a "kangaroo court" in the upper chamber.

"You don't know what crimes they are accused of. At least I knew what crime I was accused of."

Goldring said he's spoken to at least 40 or 50 Tory MPs, 80 per cent of whom feel the senators have not been given due process.

"Nowhere else do you put three people on trial at the same time," Goldring said.

It sounds like the government wants to get rid of them, he said. "And it sounds like they are inventing a reason to say so."

Goldring planned to ask Rideau Hall to intervene and give its opinion on whether the government was conducting itself properly and whether the individual Charter rights of the three senators were being respected.

But Franks, the political scientist, said the prime minister is the only person whose advice the Governor General needs to follow. "Anybody can write to a Governor General and express an opinion, even an MP, but it's simply a letter and an opinion and whether the Governor General reads it or not is doubtful."

Governor General David Johnston is returning from a state visit to China and Mongolia. No one at Rideau Hall returned calls for comments.

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