We don't need two elected chambers in the Parliament of Canada. One is enough. Imagine the conflicts that could arise between two elected bodies, each feeling they have mandates to represent the people. Just look at the gridlock that exists in the United States Congress. Our system, which is based on the British or Westminster model, has stood the test of time.
When I read that Romeo Dallaire had been in a car accident on Parliament Hill just outside of East Block, I wondered if it was due to fatigue. I have never known him to be other than fully occupied and frequently exhausted in the course of his heavy schedule. Romeo has a lot more than just memories to fight. As he explained this week, he fights depression and remains medicated for PTSD. But he has turned his pain into a purpose, and in so doing he can get up every day.
Because of its inherent independence from election cycles, the Senate can provide an indispensable public service that enriches our democracy. Does this mean that we ignore the real problems in the Senate? Definitely not. Reforms are needed. Standards that were tolerated decades ago are no longer acceptable today.
Our constitutional amendment rules are so terrible, so poorly-written and caked with complex regulations designed to eliminate any hope of ever achieving any meaningful improvement to anything, we barely even know how to read some of them. And we're not talking about 18th century legalese here -- this stuff was written all of 30 years ago.
Saskatchewan is one of the richest jurisdictions in Canada, second only to Alberta, and has once more lit a firestorm that may sweep the west and profoundly change Canada's politics. Like the launch of public health care and refusal to let foreigners buy Potash Corporation, Saskatchewan led the nation with its initiative to abolish the Canadian Senate.
In perhaps the most significant line of his keynote Harper proclaimed, "As Conservatives, we believe that actions have consequences." Harper might not realize it, but this is perhaps the most telling line of the weekend and goes to the core of the Senate scandal. Opinion polls have slammed Harper for his handling of the scandal, and delegates at this conference have called for him to take responsibility and accept the consequences.
The Tories have money on their side, and lots of it. They are a powerhouse when it comes to grassroots fundraising, outperforming both the NDP and Liberals by far. In 2012 alone, when one would expect fundraising dollars to be on the low side, the Tories raked in $17.3 million from 87,306 contributors.
At its core, the Prime Minister's role in the Senate expense affair is a story about the elected head of the government of Canada demanding some shred of accountability and ethics from a crooked political institution whose members believe they have no obligation to provide either. That's not a scandal.