Last month, when I told my father I had been drafted to join the Senate's Ethics Committee, he nodded his approval. Soon I would watch in horror and helplessness as an aggressive cancer took him away from his family. Now, I return back to work, to an institution that is also under siege. But this time, we are not helpless. Honourable senators, the future of this chamber is in our hands.
On May 31 Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti issued a press release suggesting supporters of union financial disclosure legislation currently before the Senate "cannot find a single constitutional expert who will agree that Bill C-377 is constitutional." We've received a legal opinion that says otherwise.
Stephen Harper's problem is that he thinks too small. No short-term partisan advantage is too minute for him to pursue and no long-term challenge facing the country is too large for him to ignore. By contrast, we need national leaders who will think forward and think big; who will govern intelligently and respectfully; who will call for a new federalism for the 21st century.
Canadians caught a glimpse of what "could be" in the 1992 Charlottetown Accord; the closest we have come to real Senate reform since Confederation.The prime minister who wrought this was Brian Mulroney. But even he was surprised. I know, because I was the one who informed him an elected Senate might just happen.
At present, Canadians are of the belief that the political class has sunk so far beyond redemption that little of importance remains in the Senate. That's an illusion, and deserves some further thought and reflection. While there are non-trivial problems within the Canadian senate, it still serves a purpose.
In modern Canada, alas, that critical detachment between press and politics -- the notion that these two worlds are incurably hostile parties locked in existential opposition -- seems to be steadily eroding, as notables on both sides make peace in a cozy truce. It's a tragedy because, as usual, it's the public interest that suffers the most from the vanity of the elite. Has reporter so-and-so stopped pursuing the prime minister quite so vigorously because he's pining for a patronage plum? Is columnist X hesitant to speak ill of the opposition leader lest he not sign her nomination forms someday?
The Senate decided to send Senator Mike Duffy's audit report back to its internal committee for a second review, despite objections from the Liberal S...