He Doth Protest Too Much           

Late last month the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the Harper government’s proposal for Senate reform. The fifth kick in the butt this government has received of late from the highest court in our land. Makes you feel warm and fuzzy just thinking about this. The Supreme Court of Canada is still an independent body.

On hearing the latest decision, Mr. Harper, with a barely contained smile, shrugged, put his hands up in that, what-am-I-supposed-to-do ploy he uses far too often and told us all how disappointed he was with the decision. Really?

The man has been in power for years (far too many if you ask me), has talked about reforming the Senate, and has done very little to push reform through. In fact, he’s made the situation (our collective view of the Senate) worse by some of his appointments, three of which have since been kicked out.   

During his tenure, he has selected four Conservative senators who were elected in Alberta, the only province that holds elections for nominees to the Senate. However, he has appointed many others, mostly party supporters to sway this unelected body in his favour.

I don’t believe his hands are tied when it comes to Senate reform. Justin Trudeau seems to have found a way to make Liberal senators less partisan. And at the very minimum, shouldn’t there be better oversight of the Senate, particularly given recent scandals? Making some viable changes in this regard might help us see that his words are more than simple window dressing for his real intentions.

Perhaps the Senate issue isn’t all that important to Canadians. After all, we do need to pay close attention to our backs, or rather our rights, under this particular government. The new Elections act being a case in point.

Sure the government has finally come around to making changes to their proposed Elections Act. It has taken highly publicized comments from well-respected senior officials as well as public protests and a letter from Chief Tammy Cook-Searson to make this happen. At least it has.

Does Minister Pierre Poilievre eat humble pie over this debacle of his own making? Nope. Instead, he continues to insist his original bill was terrific and these new changes will only make it that much better.

I’m not sure he has any credibility. I no longer know what is in or out of the act. I agree with the leader of the opposition, Tom Mulcair on the steps forward. The bill needs a closer look, more input and consultation. 

With such important legislation, I’d like to think Mr. Poilievre would do the right thing and study this issue more closely. But I’m sure he’ll do what he has done to date: tell us all what a wonderful piece of legislation it is. Apparently we’re supposed to take his word for it. Unfortunately for him, and thankfully for this country, we all value our democracy too much to go away quietly.


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