The lesser evil?

In which New Democrats try not to be too happy with the Senate


One would not expect to hear a nice word for the Senate from an institution created and led by Ed Broadbent, but the Broadbent Institute now sort-of-praises the Senate for “a show of its underused capability to provide sober second thought to legislation” in amending C-377.

The NDP’s Alexandre Boulerice attempts to thread the same needle in a slightly different manner.

That this bill has finally been amended by the Senate proves one thing only: what we need is not a Senate that costs taxpayers almost 100 million dollars a year but a government that puts the public interest before blind partisanship.


The lesser evil?

  1. Of course that’s what’s needed. We also need everybody to have unicorns to ride to work and Star Trek food machines.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, the 4-yr election cycle is *designed* to produce the kind of behavior we actually see, with this design being amplified with the advent of 24-hr mass media.

    Remember, the job of an MP, above all else.. is to *get elected*. That we might get good governance out of that is a hoped for side-effect, but the job is to get elected. If they hit upon some way to get elected that is more assured than providing good governance.. that’s what we’ll get.. and with a 24hr commercial driven mass media system that works very hard to make sure that viewers are watching, not thinking, that’s what we have.

    • I think you are being too dismissive of a reasonable expectation.

      The “job” of an MP is to represent the interests of constituents, and while the means to do that is getting re-elected, MPs can choose to serve the higher purpose or they can choose to be tools. It’s the same for other professions: reporters can choose to either comfort or afflict the comfortable and nurses can decide to serve their patients instead of the expediency of the healthcare system.
      If the only thing that prevents discriminatory and unconstitutional bills from becoming legislation is the Senate, it seems to me there ought to be some other safeguards in place given that freedom from facing the electorate hasn’t exactly made the Senate non-partisan or wise on every occasion.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Hugh Segal, but for every one like him we have a dozen Senators who will do whatever the PMO tells them, regardless of their need to be elected.

      • Maybe suffering the reputational indignities brought on by Duffy, Brazeau, Harb and Wallin are making them feisty — maybe this is Senate Summer. Segal led the charge, but I believe quite a few Conservative Senators voted with his amendments, and quite a few others abstained — enough to let them go through, and for them to leave their sober second thought mark and make a point about their usefulness.