Smirking, smug and concited Stephen Harper appeared before the Senate today. The first PM ever to do so. Historic moment. And given the opportunity to be statesman like he blew it.Senate to be election issue?
He called for the Senate to support his reform bill S-4 putting time limits on Senate appointments. Step one in his plan to reform the Senate. Luckily we did not have the kind of show they put on in the U.S. when the President addresses the Senate. No Hail To The Chief, no thunderous applause, even when Harper departed. He could not tell the Senate what his plans were for Senate Reform. Cause he doesn't have one.
What he did do was act the bully boy. Like he has over the softwood deal. Or the pending motion to have Rona Ambrose removed as Minister of the Environment. He told the Senate to pass his bill or else. Another confidence motion.
Liberal Senator Jim Munson picked up on the less than veiled threat, made in French by Harper, who told the Senators to pass S-4 or "face the political consequences."
Harper promises bill to elect senators
Liberal Senator Jim Munson questioned Harper about the possibility that he would "fight an election on the backs of the Senate."
"Well, don't give me the opportunity," Harper replied. He said there would be political consequences if Canadians become convinced that any kind of Senate reform became impossible.
Munson said Harper sounded like Pierre Trudeau when the former prime minister uttered the line: "Just watch me," in regards to dealing with the FLQ during the October Crisis.Yep our six month old PM is as arrogant as the PM who was in power for 16 years.
As for his reform the Senate plan well its the same old same old Triple E Senate that he helped draft for the Reform party. No room for a Senate that includes Aboriginal and Inuit representation, let alone territorial representation of the three new Inuit territories and the Yukon and NWT, no room for gender equality or minority representation in an enlarged Senate.
With nine Senate seats open he could have offered the Terrorities those seats, when questioned by Senator David Watt. That would have gone along way to assuaging a historic wrong.
Instead Harper dismissed all the Senators quiries with the fact that all he wants is a Triple E Senate.
If he wants Senate Reform so bad he should take it to the people of Canada in a referendum. Two simple questions;
Reform the Senate--Yes or No
Abolish the Senate--Yes or No.
Frankly I beleive the only way we will achieve any genuine political reform of this outdate British parliamentary system will be by empowering a Citizens Constitutional Assembly to draft proposals for a wider democratic insititution of governance that includes, proportional representation, referendum and recall. The Triple R of real reform. Something the ruling Conservatives have forgotten all about.
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