Stoffer undaunted

Peter Stoffer was apparently unpersuaded by Mike Duffy’s taunts last week.

“I’m responsible to 91,000 people in the riding of Sackville-Eastern Shore. He’s responsible to the prime minister of Canada, and that’s it,” Stoffer told CBC News on Tuesday.

“When you don’t have a constituency and you’re nominated or appointed by the prime minister, you get to travel the country to do the prime minister’s bidding. I don’t think tax dollars, money, should be going in that particular route.”




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Stoffer undaunted

  1. Actually, you're not supposed to be doing the Prime Minister's bidding. That Stoffer would think that suggests we've got deeper problems creeping in — even our MPs are starting to get the idea that the PMO is all powerful. This needs to be curtailed ASAP.

    I mean, sure, for a while after you're appointed, you'll probably feel beholden to the PM for doing so.. but that's why the appointments last until age 75.. so that you have time to get over that and do some real work for the country without feeling the pressure to play political games. Of course, that's probably why Harper wants to limit the terms in the first place. Can't have someone running around with an independant thought, after all.

    • Actually, you're not supposed to be doing the Prime Minister's bidding.

      I think you're misreading the quote in question, though to be fair I suspect it's somewhat poorly interpreted by the person writing it down as well. Replace the period at the end of the first sentence or that paragraph with a question mark, and it starts to make a lot more sense within context of the sentence that follows.

      He's pretty clearly questioning the argument and then saying he thinks it's wrong.

  2. Stoffer may have a point, but he conveniently omits the fact that the Conservatives have been trying to implemented elected senators and term limits for years, and have been blocked by the Libs.

    So, while the status quo remains, you cannot fault Duffy or other senators for living within the current situation. Senators are not elected at this time. Senators do represent Canadians regardless. This should be changed, but while the Libs continue to block changes, Senators should continue to do their jobs.

    • The Liberals may be kicking up a fuss in the Senate, but the main roadblock to those Senate Reform bills is that pesky Constitution of ours.

      • In addition to the Constitutional hurdles, in two sittings of Parliament, Harper killed his own Senate reform bills … once with proroguing of Parliament and again with his (dubious) election call.

        He's not serious about the issue.

        • Like the long gun registry for which Harper has not even bothered to introduce any legislation in the House, I get the distinct impression that he would rather have senate reform and gun registry as election issues and fundraising issues than actually make changes.

          • You might get that impression, but you'd be completely wrong. There is absolutely no evidence for your wild theory.

          • No evidence?

            What gun registry law has Harper introduced?

            Why has he dragged his feet on reforming the Senate and then cancelled his modest efforts through cancelling Parliament and calling unnecessary elections?

          • So you are saying you would like Harper to
            a) introduce another gun registry bill for no reason whatsoever
            b) introduce the same senate legislation that he previously introduced, and was blocked by the liberals, despite the fact there is no reason to believe the opposition would behave any differently today than they did when they blocked it

            Do you always make this much sense?

          • Do you always make this much nonsense?

            What on earth are you talking about?

            I'm not saying anything but what I said: Harper is not as keen on fixing the senate or getting rid of the gun registry as you think or as his rhetoric leads us to believe.

            His actions – cancelling Parliament, not introducing legislation, introducing unconstitutional legislation, tinkering when a Constitutional change is clearly required – show this.

            And, by the by, can you provide any single shred of evidence of the Liberals blocking senate reform legislation? It was being discussed in committee each time when Harper prevented it from coming to a vote. Indeed, it has never come to a vote for his unconstitutional proposals to be "blocked".

          • I posted the evidence (about senate reform) above. It is a historical fact. And frankly, to claim he has no intention of getting rid of the gun registry, when at this very moment there is a bill on its way to killing the gun registry, a bill that has already passed through the house, that to me seems like complete absurdity. You need to get some meds, you are a conspiracy theorist.

          • Oh, SCF. You really really do need to take some remedial reading classes.

            A Harper cabinet minister claiming there are delays because of the Liberals is not sufficient evidence to support the claim by Conservatives that there are delays because of the Liberals.

            No one has said Harper has no intention of getting rid of the gun registry. We are all saying it is not a very high priority for him or his government. There have been a few private members bills on this. Private members bills are rarely made into law and this one probably won't either. But what piece of legislation on gun control has Harper ever introduced?

            If it was a priority one would think he would, well, make it a priority and actually do something about the gun registry. The Harper government, though, has done nothing about the gun registry except milk it for milk it and milk it and milk it for fundraising dollars and whine and whine and whine that all the police in the country don't know what they are talking about when they say it is a valuable tool they use a great great deal in fighting crime.

          • You keep repeating yourself. And you've obviously missed the news, the gun registry bill was already voted on and passed, so it's almost certainly going to become law. Are you living under a rock?

          • Are you? This was second reading. It now goes to a committee that has twelve members, 6 of which are opposition, 5 of which are Conservative and 1 of which is the Conservative chair. The 6 current opposition members on the committee all voted in favour of the gun registry.

            Then it has to pass third reading. Once upon a time, a young Stephen Harper voted in favour of the gun registry on the second reading only to flip flop and vote against on third reading. Harper will no doubt break his "all votes are free votes" promise and whip his caucus. But it wouldn't be surprising if it happened.

            Then it has to make it through the senate. Fat chance there. At that point, I'm sure we'll be hearing howls from you about how the senate doesn't represent anyone so how dare they!

          • But if passing second reading is so inconsequential, why were there all those complaints about the delayed gun registry report? Are you suggesting the Liberals should use their committee members and Senators to frustrate the will of the House?

          • Then it has to make it through the senate.

            It is very rare for the senate to block bills. If I am correct, the last time they did it was to stop the US free trade agreement. An election was called, Mulroney won a second term, and the same bill went back to the senate and was passed.

            For the senate to block a bill like this one would be unprecedented.

            The same can be said of the committee. They can try to frustrate the will of the house, but it will not be tolerated for long, considering that a majority want this bill passed.

            As for your comment about Harper, you're lying.

          • SCF:

            I have to think that you must be a very young person. Your constant habit of simply dismissing facts as lies is just too juvenile a resonse for an adult.

            Last week, on this very website there was a discussion about Harper voting in favour of the gun registry on the second reading and then flip flopping on the third reading after he received threats of violence from pro-gun/anti-registry types. You can read it all for yourself here. Do yourself a favour, and stop acting like a child. When you are shown so easily to have no clue, it undermines everything else that you say.

            As does firing off dozens of comments about how the Liberal senate is blocking Conservative legislation, only to then flip flop as you do here and say to block a bill would be unprecedented. So like your leader. At least you gave me a good chuckle.

          • OK, so it was not a lie about Harper.

            You are lying about the flip flop about me. There is a difference between delaying a bill, changing a bill, and blocking a bill.

            You are a smug and pompous a**, grandpa.

      • Maybe so, but that does not undermine my argument, that Stoffer conveniently fails to mention this.

    • Please show me where and how the Liberals are blocking Senate Reform. As far as I can see, the Conservatives talk a lot about an elected senate and don't do anything about it. The 8 year Senator term (is that even a law yet?) is a joke.

      • http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story….

        "After two years of aiming for "incremental change," Harper still does not have parliamentary approval for bills allowing election of nominees for appointment to the Senate and for setting eight-year term limits."

        • To support the Conservative claim that the Liberals have been blocking an unconstitutional senate reform law you provide evidence that… a Conservative cabinet minister said so.

          That's like saying you have proof the stimulus funds have been distributed evenly and fairly across the country because the government said so.

          The Constitution is explicit that senators "shall hold his place in the Senate until he attains the age of seventy-five years".

          The word "shall" is what we in the legal business call a mandatory word. A statute that attempted to shorten that would seem to me to be clearly unconstitutional and certainly unenforceable against any senator. There are certainly some arguments that are not completely invalid that say otherwise. And the committee was looking into these and not rushing it through as the Conservatives attempted.

          But a lot easier to pass the buck and blame someone else for your own failings.

    • SCF may have a point, but he conveniently omits the fact that the Conservatives have been trying to implemented possibly unconstitutional senate measures, have blocked and delayed their own legislation, and have chosen to cause a number of their own ill-thought out senate bills to die on the order paper through no action on the part of the Libearls.

      So, while the status quo remains, you cannot fault Liberals or other senators for living within the current situation. Senators are not elected at this time. As a result, contrary to what SCF claims, senators do not represent Canadians in any sense of the word. In fact just the opposite: they are meant to be above the partisan and temporary upheavals and emotional appeals of today for the sake of a longer view for the Crown, not the people. This should be changed, but while the Conservatives continue to tinker with little possibly unconstitutional changes, block their own proposed changes, Senators should continue to do their jobs despite what the Conservatives claim.

      • "senators do not represent Canadians"

        Now that's a whacky thought. Puhleaze.

        • Please what? Who do they represent? Who elected them? This is a fundamental point of Reform/Conservative criticism of the Senate that I agree with. They don't represent any person and they were never intended to.

          • Duffy doesn't even represent PEI since the Constitution allocates seats by division and the Maritime provinces together form one division.

          • Senators Represent Regional, Provincial and Minority Interests
            Canadian Senate seats are distributed regionally, with 24 Senate seats each for the Maritimes, Ontario, Quebec and Western regions, and another 8 Senate seats for Newfoundland and the territories. Senators meet in regional party caucuses and consider the regional impact of legislation. Senators also often adopt informal constituencies to represent the rights of groups and individuals who may otherwise be overlooked – the young, poor, seniors and veterans, for example.

            http://canadaonline.about.com/cs/parliament/a/rol

          • Are you kidding me!? We all know what the intent behind forming the Senate was.
            As you are well aware, this does not necessarily happen in practice.

            "Under current legislation the Senate has the power to be effective in representing regional interests and sober second thought. However, because the Senate is not elected and represents the worst of partisan, political patronage, it lacks all legitimacy. It is unaccountable to Canadian taxpayers."

            "Although Senators frequently say that they will take on regional interests, when push comes to shove they invariably vote along party lines. If they were elected they would be accountable to the regions they represent."

            Take a guess who I am quoting….

          • So let me guess this stright. The senate:
            1. does not do what it was formed to do
            2. does not do what senators say they do
            3. does not do what I and other Canadians believe it does
            4. does what you say it does

            OK, got it.

            I'd guess you're quoting Harper, since he has always had the intention of reforming the senate.

            Just because they do something badly, that does not mean that is not their mandate. They represent Canadians, but they do not represent Canadians well, I think many Canadians believe this.

            Your friend "Old School Liberal" claimed "They don't represent any person and they were never intended to". That is a lie, they are intended to represent regional interests, and no amount of hemming or hawing by you changes that fact.

          • No. It is the truth. Read the Constution bud. They have no mandate and represent no one. They may choose to advocate for particular groups, but those groups had no say whatsoever in them and gave them no mandate to represent.

            I suppose the most and best you could say is that they are suppose to represent a region, not even a province in Duffy's case. But that is fully consistent with what I wrote: "They don't represent any person and they were never intended to" as you admit yourself.

            And no amount of hemming or hawing by you changes that fact.

          • They represent a region, but not any of the people there? Do they speak for the trees?

          • You really do have a reading comprehension problem. OSL said quite clearly that they "represent no one".

            And no, they don't speak for or on behalf of anyone either. They speak only for themselves. That is the point of the senate: sober second thought by the elites of the land who do not have to be swayed by public opinion, i.e. they are not meant to represent anyone but their own opinion.

            And no amount of hemming or hawing by you changes that fact.

          • OSL said that "they are supposed to represent a region," is fully consistent with: "They don't represent any person and they were never intended to". How do you reconcile representing a region with representing no people? If they're not representing the people in a region, what part of the region are they representing?

            The Constitution makes the Senate co-equal to Parliament. It's "sober second thought" role is a tradition arising from its composition by partisan hacks who either proof-read bills or veto legislation from non-Liberal Commons.

      • "hey are meant to be above the partisan and temporary upheavals and emotional appeals of today for the sake of a longer view for the Crown, not the people."

        Even the ones who serve in Cabinet?

        And where are people getting the idea that you need to be elected in order to "represent" others? There's no connection between the two things. A court-appointed lawyer represents you in the same sense as one you've hired (perhaps not as capably). In the States, senators are appointed to seats that are vacated by death or retirement. Why would it be incorrect to say those appointed senators represent their districts?

    • the replies to s_c_f are a great example of how there seems to be a best before date on the Conservatives' long held belief that if they repeat something long enough, people will start to believe it. Kudos to the readers for bursting another Con lie.

      • Con lie? There is no lie, but thanks for trying.

        • No lie? Can you show anyone those apparent 'contracts' Harper's appointees signed that suggests they'll run if an elected senate becomes law, will resign if an elected senate becomes law, or will resign in 6, 8 or even 10 years whether there's senate reform? That's what a number of CONs have been saying, the senators too. However, not one has shown that any signed agreement to the public, who is paying their salary and who should be receiving services for this lotto appointment. Instead, we get Duffy, Yo-Martin and Housakas using their new-found privilege as a means to spread the partisan message. Now, if you find Liberals who are as inept as the above please out them because they too deserve to be disgraced. But your defending it and lying about it does not reality make…

    • Harper has been serious about senate reform just like he was serious about fixed date elections. We all know how well THAT worked out.

      Serious senate reform requires changing the Constitution. He's made no attempt at that.

  3. Sorry – last words should be "Senators continue to do their jobs despite what the Conservatives claim."

  4. It can get boring, but since all the fluff about senate I've purposely watched some of the senate committee meetings….guess what folks, they actually do good work. They come often notice situations that could cause problems for government down the road – in other words, it protects the PM/MP's.

    If only Old Duff would sit down on his duff and actually do some senate work.

  5. … and we know why there's no signature and no paper about them resigning within a specific date. Because Harper would not allow it to happen, if say there happened to be anyone but a CON gov't in office at the time. He has political bagmen to reward, afterall… Maybe the guy who secretly fundraised for his secretly funded campaign as CRAP leader has already got his share.

    • Firstly, you cannot claim something that is expected to happen in the future is a lie – it is not until the moment in time arrives can you claim it is a lie, unless you have some sort of proof it is a lie, which you clearly do not.

      Secondly, you are using the burden of proof fallacy. To prove something is a lie, you must provide evidence. Until then, it is not a lie. In this case, it is neither true nor false that senators will support reform in the future, it is a promise.

      You have absolutely no evidence, all you have is your hatred of Harper, which to me is useless as evidence.

  6. I also read a report, I'll see if I can find it, that responded to those comments of Van Loan and showed that the law had been in the senate for about two or three months at that point when, on average, bills of that sort take at least 6-8 months to get through the senate. So there wasn't even any evidence of feet dragging.

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