NDP not cashing in on Senate outrage

Tease the day: The Official Opposition isn’t front and centre during the Senate’s darkest hours


Fred Chartrand/CP

The NDP is no fan of the Senate, that much is not news. The Senate’s having a particularly bad few days. You might expect the Official Opposition’s approach to Senate reform—namely, abolition—to gain steam. As it happens, abolition has wedged its way into the national conversation on Senate reform. Just this morning, Postmedia‘s Andrew Coyne muses about abolition as a useful starting point for a renewed Red Chamber. This week’s Senate madness  is a mixed bag of allegedly inappropriate expenses, allegedly unaccountable Senators, and allegedly inappropriate Senate appointments. Given its historical, and current, disdain for the Senate, you’d expect the NDP to be front and centre this week.

To be sure, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and his team are thrashing and yelling during Question Period, as is normal. They don’t pull any punches during scrums following QP, as is normal. But they’re not holding gimmicky press conferences or otherwise trying to grab Canadians’ attention on the file, and the result is a bunch of morning papers bereft of NDP voices. Perhaps the party is just not saying the things that reporters want to hear, or perhaps its MPs are laying low after a tough week of debate over their decidedly controversial proposals for Quebec sovereignty referendums. Perhaps they’re letting the scandals down the hall speak for themselves. Either way, the Official Opposition is not front and centre. When Senate reform is the story of the week, that’s surprising.

UPDATE: A couple of folks remind me that the NDP has, in fact, whipped up a side project called, appropriately, the Senate Hall of Shame. Worth noting its existence and some resulting media coverage.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Canada’s refusal to provide European countries with special treatment on foreign takeovers. The National Post fronts Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apparent desire to move into election mode, starting this summer. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Harper’s support of Pamela Wallin’s travel expenses. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Liberal leadership contender Justin Trudeau’s considerable personal inheritance. iPolitics fronts valentines from Parliament Hill. CBC.ca leads with the murder charge levelled against South African Paralympic phenom Oscar Pistorius. National Newswatch showcases The Globe and Mail‘s story about Wallin’s expenses.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Goose Bay. The federal government is hoping to secure a $1.8-billion maintenance contract for Labrador’s military base, even though its future military role is unclear. 2. Shale gas. New Brunswick’s moving to evaluate the potential of controversial shale-gas development in the province, a move supported by Environment Minister Peter Kent and former premier Frank McKenna.
3. Arctic science. An American researcher is refusing to sign new confidentiality provisions imposed by the feds related to a Canada-U.S. Arctic research project. She claims they harm academic freedom. 4. Delisle. Jeffrey Delisle, the former soldier and confessed spy who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for various espionage-related crimes, has been stripped of his military rank.

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NDP not cashing in on Senate outrage

  1. or perhaps – they are staring to realize that should they ever actually get power it would be Tom’s turn to appoint some – the gov’t would come to a complete standstill should he not! and THAT would make him appear to be incompetent – imagine Mulcair appointing a senator, because he would have to! – rumour has it in CPC (I am a Tory) circles that Stevie boy thinking about appointing a NDP’er or former and pulling the rug out from under them – that would be fascinating to watch

    • NDP have been appointed before….the NDP simply doesn’t recognize them if they accept.

    • The Laytons and Mulcairs DID move into Stornoway pretty darn quickly, despite having railed against it for years.

      • and manning!

  2. Oh come on, if you want a burritos go buy one. I don’t expect the NPD or the Liberals to hire mariachi bands and serve burritos in the foyer of the Senate like the conservatives did in the case of Andy Thompson, who had served 30 years in the senate and in ill-health, was spending most of his time in Mexico.

    Only conservatives get that trashy, and run campaigns with posters of a man who was entitled to his entitlement cause he never did charge his pack of gum to the taxpayers after all!

    The opposition is a lot more entertaining when Conservatives are officially in charge.

  3. Don’t be fooled, Macleans. The NDP have created an interesting, informative and educational Senate Hall of Fame. Google it – you’ll like it. I did.

  4. Mulcair’s too busy attacking Christian aid groups.

    • for their bigotry.

      • Chris Selley makes the valid point that the Catholic Church’s position is no different from the Crossroads christians’ position, yet the Catholic Church gets a free pass. And to add insult to injury, in Ontario, Catholic secondary schools are government funded.

        It shouldn’t be too much to ask for some consistency.

        For Selley’s article, see:

        • I found Selley’s take unimpressive. There’s a lot of ugly crap in the bible, most religions have learned to work around the ugliest parts. They might not all be ready to be handing out gay marriages in their buildings yet but they’re toning it down. So when they go out of their way to trot out the flaming crazies, esp. with AIDS stuff abroad, absolutely we should review their funding.

          Kinda nonplussed I have to explain that.

          • The Catholic Church’s position on gays is quite clear and has not wavered an iota AFAICT. One can argue that Catholics themselves have an amazing ability to pick and choose the Church doctrine they wish to follow, but the fact remains that the Church itself regards homosexual acts as sinful and an abomination. This is light years away from not being ready to hand out gay marriages. Yet Catholic schools are government funded in, at least, Ontario.