Former Reform leader asks Canadians to weigh in on fate of Senate

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Two advocates of Senate reform have unveiled a website where Canadians can vote on the future of the upper chamber.

Former Reform party leader Preston Manning and former Alberta cabinet minister Ted Morton say the preliminary results of the voting will be presented at a convention in late February.

The options on the website at www.reformorabolish.ca include abolishing the Senate now or by 2025, major or minor reforms and maintaining the status quo.

Manning and Morton say the Senate expense scandal has angered Canadians and given proponents of reform or abolition a window of opportunity to try to bring about change.

The Conservative government has asked the Supreme Court of Canada what it would take to reform or abolish the Senate.

The Tories argue they don’t need the provinces to sign off on their Senate reform proposals, while outright abolition would require the approval of at least seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population.

However, most of the provinces and territories disagree with the Harper government’s arguments.




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Former Reform leader asks Canadians to weigh in on fate of Senate

  1. Less cool is the fact that 90% of Statistics Canada’s research budget has been ordered to be put into the online poll on the website’s frontpage :)

  2. As long as we have Harper, we have a dictatorship and this country will stay in utter chaos, Harper has reneged on absolutely everything he promised. So, the problem is Harper and has been since his, so called majority.

  3. Why anybody gives Manning the time of day is beyond me. He is not only yesterday’s man, he is yesterday’s also ran. The guy has set up a foundation to undermine the democratic process at every juncture and is responsible for this travesty of a government we are now suffering through.
    Rather than pretending to have anything of worth to contribute to this country he should be ashamed of the damage he has already wrought on it. There should be a special circle in Dante’s hell reserved for the likes of him and Flanagan for their crimes against Canadian democracy.

    • Can you elaborate on Manning’s “crimes against Canadian democracy”?

      • Yes

        • In that case, would you be so kind as to actually do so?

          Would be unfortunate to have to conclude this is an example of “all sizzle and no steak”.

          • The production of Stephen Harper and his parliamentary process destroying handbook and agenda would be an obvious place to start.
            Then there is the involvement of the laughably named Manning Centre for Building Democracy in the production of “suitable” candidates to do the bidding of property developers in Calgary. Additionally we have their involvement in municipal elections in forming “parties that aren’t parties” in order to install like thinking blocks in local councils – basically circumventing rules about party involvement in municipal affairs.

            I’ll leave it there for now, but I’ve a funny feeling that these will not be acceptable examples to you as would any other examples I would offer.

          • Re #1: Harper and Manning are separate individuals, so I don’t see how Harper’s actions are relevant to Manning’s “crimes against Canadian democracy”.
            Re #2 and #3: these seem to be examples of furthering one’s agenda within the confines of the existing rules. This is what organizations do. So, assuming there is a problem, it’s with the rules that permit the behaviour in question; and as long as that behaviour is in fact permitted by the rules, it seems overblown to label them as “crimes against Canadian democracy”.

          • Re #1 – he is Manning’s creation and all his political tics are those he honed under Manning and possibly Flanagan too.
            Re 2 and 3 – thought so. Letter of the law rather than the spirit is truly the Reform way.
            Oh and then there was the Manning Centre’s little open sessions in fixing elections. http://www.vancouverobserver.com/politics/2012/03/07/robo-call-scandal-origins-inside-conservatives%E2%80%99-voter-suppression-school?page=0,1

            But you still probably won’t think that that is enough either.

          • Re #1: You can’t seriously blame Harper’s actions on Manning. Harper is an autonomous individual and is responsible for his own actions. You are employing the guilt by association fallacy, which is not a real argument.

            Re #2 and #3, if one adheres to the letter of the law, then one did not commit a crime (against democracy or anything else). It may (or may not, depending on who you ask) be undesirable, but it is not a crime or anything even close to it. I’m sure CPC supporters could rattle off any number of practices of the LPC that they consider to be violations of the spirit of some law or another. And I imagine a truly objective observer would conclude that most such charges (regardless of which “side” is levelling them) are far less heinous than those making the charges claim them to be.

            Re the article cited, it clearly states that “It is important to note that many robo-calls are perfectly legal and Mr. Fryer is not suggesting that Ciano, Kouvalis or Campaign Research were advocating the illegal or unethical form of robo-calls.” so I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

          • Re #1 I’m not. I’m suggesting a joint venture, or even facilitation of those actions.
            Re #2 and 3: The Calgary situation whereby a few rich people sought to unduly influence an election via funding the Manning Centre to produce ideologically sound councillors that would undermine the democratic principle.
            Re the article: Facilitation is still on the books I believe.

            As for laws, I said crimes against democracy. Corporations pay parties to introduce laws that make their once illegal activities legal; they are still committing crimes against democracy even if they follow the law of the land. (In some instances they probably weren’t doing this either.) One person one vote is democracy, Paying party donations for future favours is a crime against democracy. But it’s been made legal by those parties concerned.

          • Re #1, please be specific on the actions you’re referring to and please cite objective evidence of a joint venture or facilitation of these actions.

            Re #2 and #3, I don’t follow Calgary politics to any extent and so cannot comment any further on this. If you have an example at the federal level, that would be welcome.

            Corporations and unions cannot make federal campaign contributions (as it should be). Donations from individuals are quite limited. So, what are you advocating/concerned about?

          • #1: “Ottawa-based journalist Lloyd Mackey, a long time confidant of Preston Mannings has written that Manning had acted as a spiritual mentor to Harper as well as his one-time benefactor. If that description is accurate, Harper’s multiple betrayals must have been particularly hurtful to Manning. In the interest of what he perceives as the greater conservative good, Manning has obviously chosen to set aside all the attacks and slights of his former protege, but it is difficult to believe that he has forgotten them.” http://www.dennisgruending.ca/2009/04/preston-manning-and-stephen-harper-uneasy-alliance/
            Manning played a big art in creating and facilitating what we have today. Harper has shown that he has every flaw he accused Martin of having and then some especially with regards to the Senate Scandal and it’s undermining the separation of the houses.
            #2: The Manning Centre is hugely active in Calgary and in Alberta generally, so it is hard to find the type of under mining of the democratic process at the federal level that has occurred in the name of the Wild Rose Party and other Alberta First initiatives such as those that occurred Red Deer recently.
            last: As the Del Maestro fandango illustrates only too well there is more than one way to skin a rat. The rate at which Ministers and senior party officials are picked up by corporations might also indicate that the idea that there’s no quid pro quo is maybe a tad naive too. Then add to it the corporate funding of right wing welfare jobs such at the Canadian Tax Payer’s Federation, The Fraser Institute, The NCC etc and their sources of funding and the rate at which their former employees end up in the public “service” and the situation gets even murkier. The revolving door between corporately funded “thinktank” welfare jobs and the CPoC would put the one that exists between pro-sports and TV to shame.

          • #1 The cited article makes it sound like Manning has a barely concealed dislike of Harper. If the article is accurate, Manning would probably be at the front of the line disowning anything to do with Harper. The article definitely does not indicate any kind of joint venture or facilitation of questionable actions.

            #2 Note that this is not a CPC-specific phenomenon; e.g., John Manley’s post-political career. What would your proposed remedy be? Disallow former ministers from taking corporate positions? Fairness would require that any remedy would apply equally to any organization that may be involved with attempting to influence public opinion, not just corporations.

          • #1: The whole article reads like both are trapped in a bad love story replete with unrequited love. But that said Manning never stopped “loving” and he never disavowed Harper. He kept giving Harper the access to influence and facilitating his advance despite knowing what he knew about him. All “In the interest of what he perceives as the greater conservative good.” (Not democratic good.) It would be sad if the results hadn’t been so disastrous. What do you call it when you enable someone when you are in full knowledge of the facts about their character?

            #2: I’ve never thought of Manly as anything other than a Tory anyway and yes I would disallow former ministers from doing just that. Their pensions and benefits are and should be of the order to allow them to retire comfortably to partake in some other avenue of public service or even on the speaker’s circuit like other celebrities. I would also restrict lobbying and instead rely on selecting experts on any given topic based on published works on the subject at hand.

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