Today’s constitutional crisis

by Aaron Wherry

Conservatives senators called a snap vote last night and defeated Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, that was passed by the House in May. This will no doubt outrage the Prime Minister, Mr. Harper and his government having periodically lamented the tyranny an unelected Senate can impose.

“We don’t believe an unelected body should in anyway be blocking an elected body,” he told a news conference in Calgary … “We are looking for the opportunity to elect senators, but if at some point it becomes clear some senators are not going to be elected, the government will name senators to ensure that the elected will of the House of Commons and the people of Canada is reflected in the Senate.”




Browse

Today’s constitutional crisis

  1. Not much to be proud of here

  2. Mullet-haired 1994 Stephen Harper should do something about this!

  3. The current Prime Minister risks having his speeches turned into drinking games.

    Goes against his own words as Taxpayer Federation guy: Do a shot, spread hands out in "size of fish" fashion and say "The Surplus wil be thiiiissss big".

    Goes against his own words as Reform Party guy – Do a shot, fire imaginary pistols in air, say "Yee haw".

    Goes against his own words as Alliance guy- Do a shot, chant "The West Wants In"

    Goes against his own words as Conservative guy: Do three shots, move to Caledon and vote for Helena Guergis.

  4. It's his strategy: keep us drunk and uncaring and do what he pleases!

  5. How contemptible the Conservatives are. I'd like to throw the whole lot of them into a toxic tailings pond.

  6. One thing that disturbs me (having just returned from G+M comment boards) is the number of Conservative partisans that find this behaviour delightful. Should they not be irritated that their guy has broken a promise to them? Aren't there any honest Conservatives that will stand up against this?

    The second is that, while I disagree with the NDP position on abolishing the Senate, surely they have every right to feel aggrieved given they have no voice in the Upper House and can only watch while their member's initiative is quashed by a snap vote of whipped partisans. It strengthens their argument for abolition even if I wish it weren't so.

  7. Traditional conservatives might, but the nu-cons, like their counterparts to the south, care only about beating the libtards. They'd happily sell their mothers if it gave them a chance to point across the ideological canyon and do a Nelson laugh. Winning is their only remaining principle, and the more anger and indignation it inspires, the better the win. It's what happens when you let children do the work of adults.

  8. Two things, and two things only, that I ever agreed with the NDP on….get out of Afghanistan, and abolish the Senate.

    And today they're even fudging on Afghanistan.

  9. "Not much to be proud of here"
    I recall feeling very proud when Liberal Senators blocked the GST bill in 1991 obstructing the will of Parliament. Mulroney had to get royal assent to appoint 8 new Senators to obtain a plurality. Life sucks doesn't it.

  10. I think Nelson on The Simpsons TV show could sum this up nicely, "Ha ha".
    Time to suck it up, libs and dips, senate reform may seem like a good idea now, no?

  11. Mulroney didn't spend twenty years running on Senate Reform. Nor did he maintain that the Upper Chamber be a daily rubber stamp of the PMO on some days and of the House of Common on others as it suited his talking points.

    Mulroney was a lot of things, but nobody could be as spectacular a hypocrite on a single issue as Stephen Harper is on the Senate.

  12. Couldn't be bothered to read the other comments, eh? Halo_Override was 40 minutes more on the ball than you, and a great deal more insightful, too.
    Better luck next time, little man.

  13. While the stupid, stupid Conservative fans do not realise how much harm they are doing to their children by supporting Harper in delaying action on climate change. The longer he stays in government, the worse it will get.

  14. I thought that Harper wanted to abolish or at least re-fashion the Senate into a triple-E body. He blew that ideal in his first act as PM a few years back when appointed his campaign team guy to the Senate.

  15. Yours is one of the stupidest comments (outside a Steyn column) I've ever seen around here. Do you know nothing of Harper's own actions in terms of appointing senators?

    I guess you are a perfect example of the new "Sun TV" conservative. You don't give a sh*t about facts as long as you perceive a "victory" for your team.

  16. The biggest thing blocking Senate reform to date has been Liberal Senators. Harper tried staring them down but their entitlements and opposition to government policy were too much to overcome. Term limits and elections please.

  17. Stephen Harper said that global warming was the greatest threat facing humanity a couple of years back… he's crapping on two supposed 'principles' in one fell swoop: senate reform and climate change.

    Principled my a**.

  18. Liquor prices keep going up around here, so he's failing me on that issue. Maybe I should save my liquor store receipts and claim them as Conservative party donations.

  19. The biggest thing blocking senate 'reform' is the constitution. Lib senators had nothing to do with it.

  20. I'm pretty sure one of the Maclean's team [ Geddes?] conclusively showed just what a load of bull that was – liberal senators blocking the crime bills as instance.

  21. Wrong.

    Instituting term limits or elections doesn't require a constitutional amendment.

  22. I remember Stephen Harper starting up the the Reform Party to stop that very sort of thing. The Conservative Party sucks doesn't it.

  23. I'm kinda surprised it took this many comments for someone to pull out the classic "It's OK because the Liberals used to do it" argument.

  24. As a matter of fact, Harper's track record in appointing elected Senators is 100% in cases where such Senators have been made available to him.

  25. Is it a Con job?
    False idolatry?
    Cool, fashionable and trendy pragmatism?

  26. Yes, it does. And provinces are prepared to go to court over it.

  27. This is an open question – one Harper has been too cowardly or crafty to direct a reference question to the Supreme court about.

  28. 1 man who was elected in an undemocratic way. Big deal. Harper is a liar and a hypocrite.

  29. The biggest thing blocking Senate reform to date has been Liberal Senators.

    Even dastardly Liberal senators can't block something that was never put to them.

    Next thing you know, somebody's going to blame Liberal Senators for the fact that we don't have any unicorns in Canada.

  30. "…senate reform may seem like a good idea now, no?"

    So harper's dasterdly plan is to make the senate even more disfuntional/ undemoratic, in order to show us we should have allowed him to reform it…

  31. Possibly the more literate ones among the Herperites noticed this in the G&M article:

    "…Although the Liberals used the majority they enjoyed in the Senate during the first years of the Harper government to suggest changes to a couple pieces of legislation, and one or two bills were delayed, they never killed bills that had been passed by a majority of the Commons…"

  32. oops… dastardly, dysfunctional, democratic…that went well.

  33. It would be nice to hear the Senate explain themselves on this, perhaps our fearless MSM could ask them?

  34. The Conservative members of the Senate are a team of fools.
    They, like Prime Minister Harper, believe man-caused climate change does not exist, and some misuse information in a recent edition of the Scientific American.
    The truth is:

    "Misreading Climate Change on Scientific American

    By Mariette DiChristina Oct 28, 2010 10:11 AM 27

    We appreciate the attention that the November feature article "Climate Heretic," by Michael Lemonick, is receiving. But some have misread Scientific American's intent.

    For instance, two sites, Climate Progress and FAIR, accuse Scientific American of having "jumped the shark" on climate.

    In actuality, Scientific American reports on climate-related science in depth in nearly every issue and frequently online. You can see a sample list of past print and online-only articles at "Want to Learn More about Climate Change?," including coverage of carbon and climate back to 1959. Climate is the issue of our time. We covered the debate surrounding Judith Curry as a news event in this topic area—and as a way to foster discussion of climate issues in general. As is clear in the article, the vast majority of the scientific community—and Curry herself—believe the evidence supports the reality of anthropogenic climate change."

    Clearly, not the Conservatives in the Senate.

  35. It's entirely possible the CPC senators didn't even realize it was about climate change – they just saw the word "accountability" and knee-jerk struck it down.

  36. Ha ha, good one, Mike.

  37. I'm also pretty sure that Mulroney never said that climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity, as a certain more recent PM named Stephen has.

  38. Here is a summary of major effects of anthropogenic global warming / climate change: decline in phytoplankton and thus in marine life, devastating droughts, ocean acidifying, sea level rise, species extinction, killing heat, and more.
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/11/15/year-in-cli

  39. Proroguing all the time doesn't help his legislative agenda either. For a guy who never loses in the house, eventually you have to figure that the legislative failures are basically self-inflicted.

  40. That's exactly right. The offensive aspect isn't actually the act of the Senate blocking a Commons bill it's the hypocracy of PM Harper who proclaimed that the Senate should not do that and swearing that he would not appoint those who would do such a thing and then doing just that.

  41. Wouldn't it be humiliating to be a Conservative senator today? I mean, you're secretly whipped, even though they can't really force you to do anything. And all to shamefully kill a viable house bill, all while caucusing with a party that used to run on Senate reform.

    Aren't there any who are willing to call the others out? Is there no shame? No sense of pride? If I were a PC senator, justifiably aggrieved by all of the shenanigans, wouldn't today be a great opportunity to stick it to the others?

  42. Even if it doesn't (and I agree with Emily and the provinces that it does), it still requires the cooperation of the provinces to hold elections. Besides that, what good is an elected senate while there is still such an imbalance of representation by the provinces? Why should we give PEI more power than Alberta?

    If Harper truly believed in Senate reform he would tell us where he stands on a Triple E, and then he would try to amend the constitution to get there.

  43. Although they can't take away your position, Mike Duffy is under strict orders to sit on any dissenter until they cease to draw breath.

  44. It's actually the old Reformers who actually believe in their old principles that need to suck it up… they're the ones that need to look upon the folk they voted and watch them become everything they proclaimed to hate.

    And no, Senate reform isn't any better of an idea now then it was yesterday.

  45. Does anyone here think that the targets in Bill C-311 (reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels, and 50% below current levels, all within ten years) were obtainable?

  46. Doesn't matter what the bill said, the HOC passed it.

  47. I'd always put that down to our diminishing numbers of virgins per capita, but you may be on to something there. Damn those Liberal Sentors!

  48. Shhhh, don't distract from the Two Minutes' Hate with your so-called "facts" or "logic."

  49. No no you have it mixed up – VPC correlates with ogre and dragon terrorizings in small towns. The fewer virgins, the less ability to ward off the monsters. Unicorns are primarily a function of the fairy imbalance. because Unicorns are under provincial jurisdiction, and Quebec doesn't receive a proper share of Enchantment payments, access to Unicorns is subsequently unequal in have-not provinces.

  50. So you're happy an unelected body killed a bill passed by the HOCs? No debate, no 2nd reading, no attempt to ammend what they didn't like, no accountability, no respect for democracy – it's Stephen's law now is it?

  51. he asked a question about the possibility of a future occurence (one a significant amount of CPC MPs must have thought likely…) – the question did not turn on facts or logic.

    He may be right (there are counterarguments, and good reasons to set goals, as well), but the real issue is conservative duplicity.

  52. Shorter to just write "ADSCAM!"

  53. So CR, why didn't the Conservative Senators suggest amendments? You know like other Senators have done to Conservative bills? Why do they show such contempt for Parliament? Of course they follow their contemptuous boss in that.

  54. No, Emily, it does not.

    In fact, the Senate has been reformed various times throughout Canadian history, often without any amendment to the BNA act.

  55. So then you DON'T give a sh*t about facts as long as you perceive a victory for your team.

    There was nothing at all undemocratic about the way Bert Brown was elected.

  56. Yes, Patrick it does. Harper is talking through his touque and so are you.

  57. Surely, also, the response to "The Tories have done something bad" should be more than "Oh yeah, well nanny-nanny the Liberals did bad things too." I mean, that's the consistent Tory refrain about everything. Why can't desire good governance, not we-can-be-bad-because-they-did-it-too governance?

  58. I note that nobody has actually answered my question, so I'll ask it again: Does anyone here think that the targets in Bill C-311 (reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels, and 50% below current levels, all within ten years) were obtainable?

    Do I support an elected, accountable Senate? Absolutely. Are we going to see one in my lifetime? Hopefully, but I doubt that Harper will be the one who does it. Am I going to shed any tears for the death of this unrealistic, unachievable, largely symbolic legislation? No.

  59. There is not a real grown-up amongst the lot of them.

  60. Considering the vast amount of actions which could have been taken, this gesture is best described as "token".

  61. They're not answering yoru question because it is intended as a distraction.

  62. Hmmm, saying what I said about someone else back to me, but with CAPS. Well played.

    Harper appointed his campaign manager to the Senate almost immediately. He has no principles when it comes to patronage. Unlike many Conservative voters, I don't have a team. I voted for MacKay in the last federal election. I will not do it again.

    Please help make the Wildrose party stronger, Pat. Canadian voters do need a wake up call.

  63. One of the reasons the Senate now has a Conservative majority is that previous prime ministers have appointed a mix of Conservative and Liberal senators – more from their own party than the other of course, but always a mix. Until Stephen Harper, that is. If Chretien and Martin had been as partisan as Harper, we wouldn't be in this position.

    There is even a New Democrat named to the Senate, but the NDP won't allow their party name to be used there.

  64. Nobody has answered your question because the topic isn't about Climate Change it's about the Senate and more specifically Harper's now broken promise to "name senators to ensure that the elected will of the House of Commons and the people of Canada is reflected in the Senate".

  65. Actually, I appreciated his proving me right on that one. As much as anyone can "appreciate" any aspect of this squalid event.

  66. I remember it very well; Klein called it at the last minute, we had only a few rightwingers to choose from (and I wonder if they were told ahead of time so they would have more time to prepare for it) and I refused the ballot, as did thousands of Albertans. It was rigged and undemocratic.
    http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/11/17/todays-constit

  67. Most of them are too stupid to notice.

  68. We have got to work as hard as we can at reducing emissions now, because the longer we put it off, the harder it will be in future. We haave one hell of a climate crisis coming, and stupid Conservatives who refuse to face reality are doing us harm.

  69. And what a surprise… No reporter bothers to get a printable question/answer from Harper or his minions about his aboutface on using the Senate to thwart the HoC. MSM = Fail.

  70. The liberal senators in 1991 did not block the GST bill because they didn't even see it until Mulroney stacked the Senate with PC supporters. Whereas the Senate today has received a bill that was approved by a majority of elected representatives and chose to block it. That is a major difference.
    In 1991, the liberal senators may have been blowing hot air by threatening to block the GST bill but may not have gone through with it because if they did there would have been a political uproar then too. But we'll never know since Mulroney decided to avoid that democratic crisis. Harper on the other hand does not seem to hold the same scruples.

  71. I refused the ballot, too. It was very satisfying.

  72. No, Emily, it doesn't.

    You're very clearly ignorant concerning the evolution of the Senate as an institution, and about the nature of the Canadian Constitution.

    I'll tell you what: I challenge you to identify any portion of the Canadian Constitution that prohibits Senate elections. I also challenge you to identify any portion of the Canadian Constitution that prohibits term limits.

  73. Listen up Pat ol' boy…he needs the consent of the provinces, and that he won't get.

    So don't waste your time telling me about our govt and how it works. I've been in govt, unlike random bloggers.

  74. You refusing the ballot doesn't make the vote undemocratic.

    You were provided the opportunity to vote: you declined. That was your decision.

    Left-wing parties were provided every bit as much opportunity to run candidates and, again, declined. That was their decision.

    You can't declare democracy to be undemocratic just because you refuse to participate in it.

  75. A quote from it:

    "…When governments "fall into step" democracy withers. Since many public policy issues affect property rights, these investment treaties restrict the ability of government to regulate finance, the economy, employment, taxation, natural resources, health, social policy and environmental protection.

    "The threat of incurring large financial penalties to compensate foreign investors for losses stemming from regulatory measures casts a significant chill over policy-making," the study continues…"

  76. "…In plain language, Chapter 11 repeals huge tracts of the democratic commons — the right of citizens through their governments to determine the management of their society. It constitutes a fundamental abridgment of government of the people, by the people and for the people…"

  77. That's not an intellecually serious argument. We aren't talking about the "vast amount of options that could have been taken".

    The objective fact — OBJECTIVE FACT — is that when Harper has the opportunity to appoint an elected Senator, he has done so 100% of the time.

    You can try to spin this however you want to refuse credit where it is due, but you cannot change what the facts are.

  78. So you're very clearly declining to put your money where your mouth is.

    I'll propose this challenge once again: identify any portion of the Canadian Constitution — within the BNA Act or otherwise — that prohibits Senate elections. Idenitify any portion of the Canadian Constition — within the BNA Act or otherwise — that prohibits term limits.

    I'm waiting.

  79. The Triple E Senate was already rejected by Canadians during the referendum on the Charlottetown Accord.

    Elected Senators, however, is something that polls have indicated over and over again that a vast majority of Canadians support.

    Furthermore, Saskatchewan now has Senate election legislation on the books.

  80. why don't you identify the section that allows for them. I don't know about he constitution, but i'm pretty sure she's correct on majority of the provinces.

  81. No, you're changing the question.

    However, none of it is doable without the consent of the provinces.

    'The Harper government suggested its reforms would not require formal changes to the Constitution, or, in the worse case, would only trigger the last of these constitutional amending formulas. Hence, according to the Conservative government, there would be no need to formally change the Constitution, nor seek provincial consent, in order to implement this type of Senate reform. Several of the provinces, however have disagreed. In 2007, the governments of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, publicly stated that any change to the terms and selection of Senators would require provincial consent, and have requested Prime Minister Harper's government to consult with the provinces before making any changes to the Senate.'

    And with that, you're dead. Sorry

  82. . We aren't talking about the "vast amount of options that could have been taken".

    ***

    Funny, that was exactly what I was talking about. You made a technically true but also vapid and stupid point (although in restating it as "when having the opportunity" its' a misrepresentation). I – against my better judgment – responded. This is how discussion and argument work.

  83. Poor Frustrated Harper haters heads exploding everywhere – The best part is that iot's Iggy who will be blamed for being asleep a the wheel again HAHAHAHA!

  84. Process matter CR – that's the point.

  85. No, Emily, you're refusing to support your argument with anything substantive.

    The provinces of Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan very clearly disagree that the constitution needs to be amended in order to elect Senators — they can do so voluntarily. All three provinces have Senate election legislation on the books.

    Fact.

    There is nothing in the constitution that prohibits this. You very clearly cannot identify anything that prohibits the election of Senators.

    Likewise, you very clearly cannot identify anything in the BNA Act, or any other element of Canada's broader constitutional framework, that prohobits term limits.

    If you could, I suspect you would have produced them by now.

  86. When Canadians are given the choice between our current Senate and an elected Senate….they pick elected.

    When abolishing the Senate is added….they pick abolishing.

    Sask is neither here nor there.

  87. I'd be more than happy to explain this to you, if you can help us solve another problem we're having in this conversation:

    Help convince Emily to stop being an intellectual coward, and I'll happily explain it to you.

  88. Pembina Institute points out the bill had not even been debated yet; and also explains why it was important:

    "…C-311 would have set a science-based national greenhouse gas emissions target for Canada for 2050. It would then have required the government to adopt annual plans and implement policies to reach the target, and to report on their progress.

    Anyone who's serious about cutting greenhouse gas pollution would agree that we need a long-term goal and a transparent plan to meet it. Indeed, that's exactly why the bill has won consistent support from all three opposition parties, who have passed nearly identical versions of the bill twice now (the first version was lost due to the 2008 election.) Polls have consistently shown that Canadians worry about climate change and want to see their government take stronger action to tackle it…"
    http://www.pembina.org/blog/430

  89. Iggy may be farther right than some LPC party members would like, but he's hardly a Conservative senator.

    (oh, why do I even bother?)

  90. Mike, to attempt to disregard objective fact in preference of purely theoretical conjecture is vapid and stupid.

    We are talking about Stephen Harper''s record of appointing elected Senators 100% of the time he has had the opportunity to do so. That's an objective fact.

    Sure, we could be talking about Harper allegedly having the option to instead appoint a non-elected Senator. If you want to do this so desperately, I'll indulge you. Theoretically, Stephen Harper could appoint a non-elected Senator even when he has the opportunity to appoint an elected one. Stephen Harper has a record of appointing a non-elected Senator over an elected Senator 0% of the time.

    That is also an objective fact.

    Spin THAT.

  91. I hate to break it to Holly, but there's actually nothing in there that supports hers OR Emily's argument,

  92. Interesting, but that does not answer the question. Where does Harper stand on the Triple E? What about the provinces that do NOT have senate elections? You still need them to cooperate, and they clearly are not.

    As an aside, several provinces (who have people in their employ who probably know a little more about this issue than you do), say provincial consent is required. While I agree there are a couple who do not, it should be pretty clear to you that this is not a cut and dry issue.

    It appears you are suggesting the only reform Harper believes is necessary are term limits and elections. I find it astounding that Harper would be so unconcerned about how unfair that will be to the prairie provinces. I could not help but notice you failed to answer my question, so I will ask again. Why should PEI have more power in the Senate than Alberta?

  93. it is also a true (and far more relevant) fact that Harper could have attempted to get the issue of consitutional amendement settled by the supreme court, but has utterly refused to do so despite being in power for over 1000 days.

    it may have gotten harder after today to play his supporters for fools, but don't underestimate their capacity to swallow bafflegab!

  94. There it is hon…..most populated provinces…another requirement

    Course if you'd actually read the constitution, you'd know the GG appoints senators

    Alberta once thought it could print it's own money, too. LOL

  95. I'll answer your question: I don't think so but that's because I can think! :)

  96. As long as we're playing fast and loose with constitutional interpretation, really there's no reason senate elections would have to be conducted by the provinces.

    There's layers of hypocrisy in Harper's position.

  97. What's there to debate?

    How to or how not to fool us folks?

  98. First off, appeal to authority is a fallacy.

    Secondly, this actually relates directly to a bit of evasiveness being employed by Emily, who's been challenged to produce any element of Canada's Constitution — within the BNA Act or otherwise — that defines the term length of a Senator.

    I'll let you ponder this for a few minutes before I fill you in on how this relates to the answer to this question.

  99. The Harper Effect:

    Supporter reaction to all reversals of action, deed, policy or principle will be that the change was justified because similar tactics were employed by the previous government.
    Curiously, the fact that the current transgressors attained power by vowing to end such underhanded practices, and by also committing to uphold transparent and accountable government seems in no way to diminish partisan support, despite the obvious hypocrisy.

  100. Not at all, Emily.

    The answer actually lies with the question of whether or not the Constitution contains any element that prohibits the implimentation of term limits.

    Here is a little hint for you: try to produce something that substantively defines the term of a Senator.

  101. Saskatchewan's still one province out of ten though right?

  102. Seeing as how you're more interested in arguing points of fiction than fact, I'm not at all surprised that you find the facts boring.

  103. Still haven't read it eh?

    Says 75 I'm afraid.

  104. Really? You think stories about Harper approving the actions of an unelected, unaccoutable conservative dominated senate to kill a bill passed by the elected representatives of the people are somehow going to make him look good?

  105. Somebody pass the remote to CR!

    You people aren't going to make him change the channel all by himself are you!

  106. LOL yeah we all know how Cons hate experts.

    And the constitution says 75

    Don't pick fights you can't win, boyo

  107. By the by, Emily, in a formal sense, the Governor General appoints Senators.

    …But who selects them? This is a broader question of constituional practice that is about to reveal for us whether or not you actually understand Canada's constitution (despite the fact I've hinted at this numerous times).

  108. You appear to be the one avoiding the question.

  109. I think it's hilarious the the Conservative unelected Senate just defeated a bill passed by the elected House of Commons under Prime Minister Harper, whereas the Liberal unelected Senate never did that.

    I guess Harper's problem with the unelected Senate wasn't so much that they're obstructionist, it's that they WEREN'T OBSTRUCTIONIST ENOUGH!!! Delaying democratically passed bills was terrible, but KILLING democratically passed bills is the new black!

  110. I could care less that the unelected Senate killed the Bill. We, as Conservatives, have watched Liberals kill Conservative bills ad nauseum. So now there is payback taking place and that is good for a a change.

    Of course the idea that this may be a bad bill which would hurt the economy somehow doesn't register on most of the anti Conservative crowd on this blog.

  111. Don't bother. We all know what Ignatieff is and it sure isn't being an effective leader of the opposition.

  112. Couldn't agree more. This would be a good time for Harper to force an election. The Liberals are not going to differentiate themselves under the lead singer of Spandau Ballet.

  113. '•Majority Federal/Provincial Consent: Other changes to the Constitution require unanimous consent at the federal level, but only majority consent at the provincial level. They include changes pertaining to the method of electing members to the House of Commons, the powers of the Senate and the method of selecting Senators, provincial representation in the Senate, extending existing provincial borders into the territories, and the creation of new provinces. For these constitutional changes to be approved, they must be consented to by the Governor General, the House of Commons, the Senate, and at least two-thirds of the provinces representing more than 50 percent of the Canadian population.'
    http://www.mapleleafweb.com/features/senate-refor

  114. Just so I am clear. When an unelected unaccountable liberal dominated senate kills a bill passed by the democratically elected House of Commons, that is bad. When an unelected unaccountable conservative dominated senate kills a bill passed by the democratically elected House of Commons that is OK?

    I ask because you cannot have it both ways. Either Harper was wrong then or he is wrong now.

  115. I see where you both are on this issue

    The Constitution indicates that the GG will appoint the senators, there doesn't seem to be anything against provinces electing which senators they want appointed. Doesn't Alberta do this?

    Strictly speaking, they wouldn't be elected though, and they still wouldn't be able to be taken out of office by losing any election. As I understand it, once appointed, they can't be removed unless they resign, turns 75 or a couple other things, including, declaring bankruptcy or not owning real property of more than $4,000.

    So Patrick, we could quasi-elect them, but we'd have no recourse to boot them out of office.

    Obviously the perfect solution is to only elect people who are 71 years old. That way they could only serve for one term. There are no flaws in that plan. I think I just solved Canada's electable Senate debate.

  116. Ineed it does, Emily. Sort of.

    The BNA act states that Senators must mandatorily retire at age 75,

    However, the BNA Act says NOTHING about the length of their term.

    Which is where I'm afraid I have to reveal Emily to be largely ignorant regarding the Constitution of Canada. See kids, Canada has a British-style Constitution. What this means is that there are numerous written and unwritten, formal and informal, elements of Canada's constitution.

    It includes the British North America Act (a written document which includes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms), Constitutional convention (an informal process), Parliamentary procedure, rulings by the Privy Council, Parliamentary precedent, various formal provincial agreements, etc.

    Any portion of Canada's constitution that isn't stipulated in writing via the BNA act is often covered by other elements of the Constitution — including Parliamentary procedure.

    Here's a fun fact that very few people know about a British-style Parliament. Such a Parliament decides its own rules, and such a Parliament decides its own composition.

    Parliament can actually decide to refuse to accept any member, and can refuse to seat them at any given time. (This actually happened to George Galloway in the UK.)

    So, should Parliament decide — by passing a piece of legislation explicitly stipulating so, or even through an informal agreement — to withdraw recognition of a Senator following the expiry of an 8-year term, Parliament has the option to do that. There is nothing in the BNA Act that prohibits Parliament from doing such.

    Now, if Emily can find another element of Canada's Constitutional framework, I'm willing to consider her submission, but she'll have to come up with a better one than the one she's offered.

  117. Ineed it does, Emily. Sort of.

    The BNA act states that Senators must mandatorily retire at age 75, You can't honestly have thought I'd challenge you to produce this if I didn't know it to be the case.

    However, the BNA Act says NOTHING about the length of a Senator's term.

    Which is where I'm afraid I have to reveal Emily to be largely ignorant regarding the Constitution of Canada. See kids, Canada has a British-style Constitution. What this means is that there are numerous written and unwritten, formal and informal, elements of Canada's constitution.

    It includes the British North America Act (a written document which includes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms), Constitutional convention (an informal process), Parliamentary procedure, rulings by the Privy Council, Parliamentary precedent, various formal provincial agreements, etc. Hell, the Magna Carta is informally part of Canada's Constition. Very cool, yes?

    Any portion of Canada's constitution that isn't stipulated in writing via the BNA act is often covered by other elements of the Constitution — including Parliamentary procedure. Which is, I'm afraid where Emil;y is about to lose this argument.

    Here's a fun fact that very few people know about a British-style Parliament. Such a Parliament decides its own rules, and such a Parliament decides its own composition.

    Parliament can actually decide to refuse to accept any member, and can refuse to seat them at any given time, although such refusal is expected to be linked to some specific cause. (This actually happened to George Galloway in the UK.)

    So, should Parliament decide — by passing a piece of legislation explicitly stipulating so, or even through an informal agreement — to withdraw recognition of a Senator following the expiry of an 8-year term, Parliament has the option to do that. There is nothing in the BNA Act that prohibits Parliament from doing such.

    Now, if Emily can find another element of Canada's Constitutional framework, I'm willing to consider her submission, but she'll have to come up with a better one than the one she's offered.

    She'll have to save the preening until then.

  118. You have provided no facts, merely unsupported assertions.

  119. I find it quite amusing that nobody wants to discuss the actual bill that got killed.

  120. Harper wanted (wants) to change the make-up of the Senate. However, others don't seem to agree with his intent. Therefore the status quo is in effect and that includes the going-ons we witnessed by this particular vote. Indeed, you can't have it both ways.

    When not enough people supported Harper in changing the Senate, then don't cry now if the status quo is all we've got.

  121. Right. They never explicitly killed anything, but they changed the entire meaning of bills, and delayed many to the point where they died because of election calls. By that logic, Stephen Harper has never appointed any senators, the GG did.

  122. "…We, as Conservatives, have watched Liberals kill Conservative bills ad nauseum…"

    What Bills exactly? When?

    When stupid Harper prorogued Parliament and killed his own bills?

  123. See Albert, you're mistaken about this.

    Any British-style Parliament decides its own composition. The Senate can quite easily decide — beit by passing a piece of legislation or via an informal agreement — to refuse to continue seating any Senator following the expiry of an 8-year term.

    You're right about one thing: Alberta does elect Senators. However, Alberta's legislation has a key weakness, recently exposed to us by Premier Stelmach. The legislation gives the Premier the authority to extend the tenure of any elected Senator.

    So this is something that reminds us that while Alberta's example of electing Senators is a superior model to appointing Senators, Alberta's specific example — as it pertains to this particular weakness — is not one to be blindly followed.

  124. Not at all. I've merely been stringing Emily along so she can reval the full extent of her ignorance on this issue.

  125. Notice how Patrick Ross sounds creepier and creepier as he goes along? And he never provides exact references.

  126. An opinion piece by the Communist Frances Russell is not "evidence". It's nothing more than the ramblings of a deluded old white lady.

  127. What bills did theychange the entire meaning of? And Harper murdered his own bills by proroguing twice.

  128. I have no problem believing that you have no idea what a fact actually is.

    Here are two basic objective facts raised in this conversation:

    1. Stephen Harper has a record of appointing an elected Senator 100% of the times when he has had an opportunity to do so.

    2. Stephen Harper has a record of appointing a non-elected Senator over an elected Senator 0% of the times he has had the opportiny to appoint an elected Senator.

    These are both facts, Holly. Would you care to dispute either one?

    The problem is that he's had far too few opportunities to appointed elected Senators.

  129. I agree with your contention that the Senate can formally or informally agreeing on x-year term limits.

    Would something like that be anything more than window dressing though? Could the Senate not revoke that formal or informal agreement? Would something like this have any more teeth than fixed election dates?

  130. You are avoiding MY question. Asked twice. Answered never.

  131. Trudeau's plan was to change how Senators WILL be selected.

    Harper's plan is to change how Senators CAN be selected.

    You have to pay attention to the nuance. (Although I'm glad you brought this up.)

  132. Effective enough to get the bill passed back in May.

  133. Any level of GHG reduction is achievable, theoretically. It's a matter of how much of our economic resources we'd need to dedicate to the task.

    That said, practically the 2020 target is likely unachievable. That this is irrelevant. Harper has used the Senate in a way he promised he would not, to thwart the will of the democratically elected House of Commons. It could have been a bill to criminalize masturbation and it would not have justified this intervention, according to Harper. Our undemocratic (read: illegitimate), appointed Senate has expressly thwarted the will of our democratically elected House of Commons.

  134. That is an interesting way to totally avoid the question.

    If Harper agrees it is appropriate to continue with the status quo, why all the complaining about the senate killing or delaying crime bills?

    Of course since the senate did neither of those things, it is quite clear Harper was simply lying about what the liberal dominated senate did, so I guess I can understand why he would be hypocritical about it now. Consistency and intellectual honesty are not his strong points.

    (it really never ceases to amaze me how much Harper supporters can contort themselves)

  135. I think you're right about such a method being mere window dressing.

    Please keep in mind that I'm not proposing this as a means by which Senate reform SHOULD be done — simply as a means by which it COULD.

  136. There hasn't been a bill 'killed' by the senate – which is to say the will of the elected legislature has not been so subverted – since 1925. You must be very proud.

    As for this bill being 'bad for the economy', that's certainly a fact-free assertion. Oh, wait….

  137. I would just like him to tell me how Harper's brilliant plan to give more power to smaller provinces like PEI, in the process diminishing the power to provinces like Alberta is a good thing.

  138. Please give an example of a single bill that was killed by Liberals in the Senate during Harper's tenure.

    I'm waiting.

  139. *snicker*

    Emily STILL doesn't have it figured out.

    If the Harper government passes legislation allowing ALL OF Canada's provinces to hold elections to choose Senators, provinces will demonstrate their consent by holding those elections.

    Emily seems to be missing a key detail: the legislation in question provides the OPTION of holding such elections. It doesn't make them mandatory.

  140. What is factually wrong in what she wrote?

    Smears don't work, they just demonstraqte that you are a jerk.

  141. Even further, the cancellation of the bill will probably be the final nail in the Montreal Carbon Market, the last of the Canadian carbon markets, 7 years after its inauguration. We need those markets more than ever and who knows how long it will take to get them back up again.

  142. Of course it is a good question … Which is better :- 1) targets that are difficult and
    unlikely to be achieved… Or 2) targets that are non-existent and unlikely to be achieved ?

    Or:- Is it better to be a frog or a toad ? Difficult to answer since both are in process of
    environmental mutation and who knows what the end result will be ?

  143. I did post elsewhere a link explaining why the bill was important:

    "..C-311 would have set a science-based national greenhouse gas emissions target for Canada for 2050. It would then have required the government to adopt annual plans and implement policies to reach the target, and to report on their progress.

    Anyone who's serious about cutting greenhouse gas pollution would agree that we need a long-term goal and a transparent plan to meet it. Indeed, that's exactly why the bill has won consistent support from all three opposition parties, who have passed nearly identical versions of the bill twice now (the first version was lost due to the 2008 election.) Polls have consistently shown that Canadians worry about climate change and want to see their government take stronger action to tackle it…"
    http://www.pembina.org/blog/430

    So CR, are you going to make the stupid Conservative argument that AGW is not taking place, or are you going to propose a beter way to cut emissions?

  144. I'll be impressed if he can find a bill that was killed by Liberals in the Senate since the repatriation of the Constitution in 1982!

  145. Are you saying there was no other way to change or prevent a bill the govt thought ineffective? It's the i had to do it there was no other choice defence is it? It's a minority parliament. If this were to set some sort of precedent it could be said to be ok to do an end run on parliament whenever you thought it absolutely necessary – there are elections designed to deal with such eventuallities i do believe.

  146. once again, a conservative ignoring their past and their supposed principles and repeating the tired refrain "well the Liberals did it too so that makes it okay." I'm surprised there isn't a reference to the sponsorship scandal here too, or a claim that Liberals want the terrorists to win.

  147. Blah blah blah. Any Liberals out there proposing Senate reform? No? Complaining about the status quo while supporting it en mass isn't a wee bit hypocritical?

    Has it occurred to anybody that if Liberal senators would you know, actually show up for work, this would be a non-issue? But no, lazy Liberal Senators get a free pass, while "the media" chastise Conservative Senators for voting their conscience.

    Until the Liberals are willing to support Senate reform, this is nothing more than hallow partisan sniping. Just another wonderful example of how the Liberal party has no principals.

  148. Setting legislative targets that can't possibly be met (i.e. Bill C-311's 50%-60% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020) is useless and accomplishes nothing. Without a credible plan and reasonable targets, it's all just an exercise in futility.

    The bill itself is nothing more than empty symbolism. It deserved to die. If you're serious about GHG reduction, you should ask the opposition parties to come up with credible plans instead of silly political posturing.

  149. 41. An amendment to the Constitution of Canada in relation to the following matters may be made by proclamation issued by the Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada only where authorized by resolutions of the Senate and House of Commons and of the legislative assemblies of each province:

    (a) the office of the Queen, the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governor of a province;

    (b) the right of a province to a number of members in the House of Commons not less than the number of Senators by which the province is entitled to be represented at the time this Part comes into force;

    (c) subject to section 43, the use of the English or the French language;

    (d) the composition of the Supreme Court of Canada; and

    (e) an amendment to this Part.

    42. (1) An amendment to the Constitution of Canada in relation to the following matters may be made only in accordance with subsection 38(1):

    (a) the principle of proportionate representation of the provinces in the House of Commons prescribed by the Constitution of Canada;

    (b) the powers of the Senate and the method of selecting Senators;

    (c) the number of members by which a province is entitled to be represented in the Senate and the residence qualifications of Senators;

    (d) subject to paragraph 41(d), the Supreme Court of Canada;

    (e) the extension of existing provinces into the territories; and

    (f) notwithstanding any other law or practice, the establishment of new provinces;

  150. She didn't write a single fact, that's why it's called an opinion piece. You do understand the difference between opinion and fact, right? But how about we start with the idea that the purpose of democracy is NOT tor the masses to trample on the rights of the few. But greasy old Communists like yourself and Fran Russell will never understand that democracy is about freedom.

    Oh, and saying that "smears don't work" in the same sentence as calling me a jerk is just hilarious. I'm actually glad that deluded old white Commi ladies like you think I'm a jerk. It means that I'm right, and you don't have a leg to stand on.

  151. Interestingly enough, none of this actually prohibits in the implimentation of term limits (it helps that the length of a Senator's term isn't defined by the Constitution).

    Nor does any of this prohibit provinces from VOLUNTARILY electing Senators — a detail that, I'll reiterate, Emily seems to have missed entirely.

    Nor does would any of this prohibit the Senate from refusing to admit any non-elected Senator.

  152. How about 3) targets that are reasonable and likely to be achieved?

  153. What evidence do you have that Russell is a Communist. You have none that I am, liar.

    I said that people who smear are jerks and reveal themselves to everyone as jerks. Everyone who reads your posts knows you are a miserable little jerk. You brought this upon yourself.

  154. Well, so what? You did not in fact provide evidence to support your assertions, and your assertions are meaningless anyway. What a waste of time you are.

  155. Harper is doing SFA about the climate crisis. He probably figures he will get raptured away before it happens because of his great love for Israel.

    His inaction on climate is betraying all of us and our children. And it is the job of the government to come up with credible plans, not to sit on their fat asses doing nothing because they think God will fix it for them.

  156. So why didn't they amend the bill? Oh, that's right, they didn't even bother to debate it.

    Democracy is dead.

  157. So you'd agree with me that Communism has failed as an economic system and ideology?

  158. Oh. My. DEAR. Lord.

    These are not mere assertions, Holly. They are facts.

    Objective. Facts.

    Stephen Harper has had one (1) opportunity to appoint an elected Senator. That was when the last vacancy opened in Alberta, and he appointed Bert Brown.

    No other province has (yet) elected Senators-in-waiting.

    This makes Harper 1 for 1 on appointing elected Senators. You do the math, Holly. This is fourth-grade material. I'm not sure how you fail to understand it.

  159. I don't necessarily disagree with most of your post… except for your last sentence. Your party just took a gigantic dump on one of its most fundamental principles today. If the Liberal Party is synonymous with being unprincipled, then your party has never looked more Liberal than it does today.

  160. Actually, Holly, I take it back. I DO know how you fail to understand this. It's because you're a moron.

  161. You do not know the meaning of the word objective or fact.

  162. Isn't 2020 the date for the plan, not the ultimate goal?

    (GAH! The frog tricked me into helping him take the focus off!)

  163. No you don't.

  164. Gee, Mike. The facts speak for themselves on this one.

    On one (1) occasion, Stephen Harper has been presented with an elected Senator to appoint to the upper chamber. On that one (1) occasion, Harper appointed him.

    This is objective. This is factual.

    Just do yourself a favour. Stop humiliating yourself.

  165. Oh, that's too clever.

  166. Oh, I agree that the Conservative party has been far from consistent on this file. But again, what alternatives are you proposing? The way I see it, the only other way this could have gone is that Conservatives vote against their conscience to pass the legislation, contrary to everything they believe in, and thus turning the Senate into an official rubber stamp. And I wouldn't be completely opposed to this, IF the Liberals were to agree that the Senate has become antiquated and should be abolished. But not a single Liberal would agree with this, so the point becomes moot.

    Their essential argument is that the Liberals support the Senate in it's current form, therefore they should be the only party who can use the Senate to their advantage, which is of course absurd.

    And for a party that seems to think the Senate is so bloody important to our democracy (while at the same time being so irrelevant that Senators shouldn't vote their conscience) they might demand that their Senators show up, or face punishment.

  167. Yes. Because first you break the system, then show how the system doesn't work.

    But of course the obvious answer to that is to put the system back the way it was before you broke it.

  168. Only a partisan creep would characterize what happened as justifiable 'payback'.

  169. Unless of course, they purposely not showed up to defeat this bill without having to suffer the taint of being anti environment? They retain those portion of party voters without actually having to antagonize another? Brilliant, I would say.

    It is either time to abolish this house of senate, or let these seats be up for election.

  170. Well, the fundamental problems with the senate have been laid bare today… I think you might see a few Liberal converts to the senate reform gospel. Hopefully this will get people talking. If the Senate goes against the H of C, it's undemocratic… if if goes with the H of C as a rubber stamp, then why do we have it? I agree… it should be abolished.

    I'll be interested to see how this all shook down… if it was a case of the Liberals procedurally pooching it, then the Liberals should wear it. If it was a case of Harper using the Senate to kill a bill he didn't like, though… that's about as ugly as it gets.

  171. But Crit, now you're running into the problem of the sober second thought.

    And if you see the merit of taking another look at what populist-focused MPs passed (and yes, I think this is a fairly good example) you must surely agree that having another chamber also populist-focused would do us a disservice in the long-run, although they would be sure to be popular at the time. And, if this second chamber is not going to be elected, then they must defer to those who are, suggesting changes and returning it to those elected officials, rather than simply over-riding what the people's representatives put forth.

    So, let's put the Senate back the way it was, where it can do the job it was intended to do.

  172. "Complaining about the status quo while supporting it en mass isn't a wee bit hypocritical?"

    I wonder if you are aware that you have just described Harper's actions today.

    You do know that senate reform has absolutely nothing to do with the fact Harper just did something he swore he would not do, and something for which he has unjustifiably criticized the liberals for, right?

    PS – The previous two liberal leaders both went on record supporting the notion of senate reform. It is just that they want to do it legally and stuff, which requires a constitutional amendment. But then again Harper has no intention of reforming the senate at all, so I am not sure why you think his is the principled position here.

  173. Hehehe. I gotta giggle at the idea of the Liberals demonstrating brilliance through incompetence. Though it's tough when the party is split dead down the middle on so many important issues.

    Personally, I think I'm in favour an elected Senate, though I do know that our current Senate system is broken. I favour an elected Senate, because I think that the Senate as a house of sober second thought is a good idea, and abolishing it entirely would lead to more partisanship and extremism, and less reasoned debate in the long run.

  174. OK… but this is the first time in 70 years that the senate has killed legislation from the H of C. Even if you think it deserved to die, a majority of democratically elected MPs in the HofC voted differently. Some of this Tough on Crime agenda being pushed forward by the Conservatives, in my opinion, deserves to die. I wouldn't support the senate killing it, however, if it a majority of MPs supported it in the House of Commons.

  175. Precisely what I thought. Why should Ignatieff give him cover for that?

  176. Agreed, if this doesn't get a few Liberals on the Senate reform bandwagon, nothing will. The longer the Conservative's are appointing Senators, the more Liberals should be rethinking their position as well.

  177. I wonder if you are aware that you have just described Harper's actions today.
    Except that the Conservative's have been in favour of Senate reform, while the Liberals have not. Though the Conservative's are definitely using the current system to their advantage.

    You do know that senate reform has absolutely nothing to do with the fact Harper just did something he swore he would not do, and something for which he has unjustifiably criticized the liberals for, right?
    So if Harper's criticisms were unjustifiable, how are the Liberal gripes more justifiable? If anything both parties have unjustifiably used the Senate for partisan advantage, but I would say that all criticism in that regard is quite justifiable.

    PS – The Conservative's have actually tabled legislation regarding Senate reform, which is more of an effort than paying the concept lip service.

  178. the attempt to justify doublethink – IT BURNS!!!

  179. What part of the phrase "snap vote" do you poor rightwing dimwits not understand?

  180. The idea that a constitutional amendment is merely an option but that Federal laws forcing the provinces to hold elections is mandatory is…odd, to say the least.

  181. What part of the word "incompetence" do you leftwing loons not understand? If the Liberals can't be bothered to show up to the Senate, or didn't know that this vote was a possibility, that's incompetence. Or, I suppose it could just be negligence. Trying to blame this on the Conservatives is just silly.

  182. One question:
    1) What do you believe would have been the principled thing for the Conservative's to do, and would you hold the Liberals to the same standard?

  183. The senate is thwarting the will of the House of Commons by killing this legislation. It's the first time the senate has done this in 70 years. 70 years! Regardless of either party's past or present views of the senate and senate reform… is this a good thing? Again, if the Liberals just muffed it procedurally, that's one thing. It just speaks to that party's incompetence when it comes to having its ducks in a row for votes. If the government went out of its way to get this result — if Harper directed his senators to kill this thing — it stinks to high heaven. It's inherently undemocratic, and it's indefensible. The PM shouldn't be actively trying to pull end-runs around the House of Commons.

  184. Good points, Jenn. Certainly, the danger of a populist-focused senate mirroring the HOC is one of the strongest arguments against an elected senate. However, I still think that an elected senate, if done right, could add vitality and democratic legitimacy to the upper house while the HOC would still be the dominant chamber.

    Honestly, I'd have to study the issue quite closely before I could take a firm stance. Here in Alberta, Triple-E has always been political gospel, but I can certainly appreciate that the current system has some advantages.

  185. Getting legislative targets that can't possibly be met and are useless and accomplish nothing passed in a minority Parliament is an interesting trick. Apparently a majority of elected, multiple party Parliamentarians were persuaded the legislation had merit.
    Dismissing the MLF census against the objection of the majority of elected, multiple party Parliamentarians is also an interesting trick.
    Sometimes the issue of how you conduct your affairs is what raises the pitchforks and lights the torches.

  186. Was Jim Prentice working on those?

  187. They call it an "ambush" vote, but it looks more like the work of pros, don't you think?

  188. Wow, that's even better. I respect you even more now.

  189. Except that it's even worse than that in that here, the famous "the Liberals did it too" argument is being used in a case in which the Liberals DIDN'T do it too. I'm pretty sure no Liberal Senate has killed a piece of legislation passed by the House in my entire lifetime, never mind during the reign of Stephen Harper.

  190. Mike, I'm not sure if you can't read properly, or if you're deliberately distorting the argument raised here.

    Considering your failure to comprehend what a fact actually IS, it could easily be either way.

  191. Right. Because THAT's why I do what I do — for the respect of crybabies.

  192. I think, if a party's stated preference is that the unelected Senate not be allowed to overturn the will of the elected House, then they should get their Senators not to overturn the will of the House.

    Has it escaped your notice that while the Tory Senate just killed a bill passed by the House of Commons under Stephen Harper, the previous Liberal Senate NEVER DID THAT?

  193. Senate reform has nothing to do with it. You are trying to justify Harper's complete about face with some irrelevant factor. It is kind of sad.

    But while we are on a completely different topic (that does not justify Harper's hypocrisy), the CPC did NOT table any workable or legal provisions regarding Senate reform. They tabled something that, even if it did pass (and Harper clearly does not want it to), would actually make the senate much worse, and would put some provinces in a weaker position than others, which, you know, makes no sense.

    The LPC did come up with workable reforms that do not require legislation. Actual, substantive reform would require a constitutional amendment. The liberals are funny about stuff like that – they like it to be legitimate. Harper could not care less.

  194. If Harper's criticisms were unjustifiable, how are the Liberal gripes more justifiable?

    Because the Tory Senate actually DID the thing that the Liberals are griping about, whereas the Liberal Senate never once defeated a piece of legislation that was passed by the House of Commons under Stephen Harper.

  195. The principled thing to do is to act the way you say you are going to act, and to keep the promises you made.

    The unprincipled thing to do is to whine, complain, and LIE about the unaccountable unelected liberal dominated senate blocking bills as being an affront to democracy, and then go ahead and get the unelected unaccountable conservative dominated senate to do that instead.

    Do people really have to spell that out for you? Or are you just playing at being too thick to understand.

  196. And for myself, I don't have a problem with the concept of electing Senators (I do with the logistics of it–the covering of an entire province supposedly without party support, such as a party leader would have). Where I see the problem is in re-electing Senators. Also, I like a longer term for Senators than the usual four years. Easily solved, though. Just don't let a candidate be under 60 years old.

  197. And you reveal yourself as the schoolyard bully that you truly are.

  198. Okay, but the Conservative party is also on record saying they'd vote against this legislation. So if they'd let it pass, they'd be being attacked for lying about that. So he was damned if he did, damned if he didn't.

    Another thing that I think that should be noted, is that this legislation is a complete farce anyway. The targets in it were completely unreasonable and unachievable.

  199. The Conservative's have a responsibility to vote the way they've said they would on bills. If they'd let this pass, they would have been accused of being liars by those who believed they would vote against this bill. They had to make a decision with only two crappy options to them. They chose one. You don't have to agree with it, but you also don't have to talk as if the Conservative party is linked to only one single promise, and not a bunch of others that at times conflict with one another.

  200. 'this legislation is a complete farce anyway. The targets in it were completely unreasonable and unachievable'

    I don't think you can say the senate's move today was justified because you don't think the legislation is good legislation. Let me explain. I think the much of the Conservatives' law and order agenda is ludicrous. But if the Liberals in the Senate got together to kill that legislation after it had been OK'd by the House of Commons, I'd be the first guy howling from the rooftops. MPs are elected. Senators aren't. If my side loses in the H of C, that's democracy. I can live with that. Senators shouldn't be pulling an end-around, even if it happens to result in the death of what I consider to be bad legislation.

  201. "Senate reform has nothing to do with it."
    Since this whole issue is based on Harper's previous comments in regards to Senate reform, I'd say Senate reform has absolutely everything to do with it.

    the CPC did NOT table any workable or legal provisions regarding Senate reform. They tabled something that, even if it did pass (and Harper clearly does not want it to), would actually make the senate much worse, and would put some provinces in a weaker position than others, which, you know, makes no sense.
    You realize that you just claimed that the CPC did not introduce any Senate reform legislation, and then immediately indicated everything about that non-existent legislation that you disapprove of. Kinda conflicting statements.

    The LPC did come up with workable reforms that do not require legislation. Actual, substantive reform would require a constitutional amendment.
    So after having a majority in parliament for well over a decade, the LPC was completely powerless to even introduce changes to the Senate? Uh huh, sure.

  202. But where do you draw the line between killing legislation, and obstructing, amending, delaying and gutting legislation? Because the Liberals have used those tactics, and there was certainly no uproar about it from anyone within the Liberal party.

    As a general rule though, I would agree that the piece of legislation in question is pretty much irrelevant. When I originally read the G&M article this morning, I thought it was a pretty crass move by the CPC. But once I saw the content of the bill, I could only laugh.

  203. http://www.parl.gc.ca/common/..%5C40%5C3%5Cparlbu…

    If anyone, including you, Aaron, bothered to read Hansard, you would notice that it was not the Conservatives that called the question. Senators Banks and Mitchell, both very veteran senators, motioned to have second reading with 16 members of their caucus missing. This was an egregiously stupid move on their part, calling the question with so many missing. Indeed, they could have called this when the Conservatives were missing.

    All that notwithstanding, what's more outraging about this, is that 16 Liberals, 11 Conservative/PCs and 3 Independents decided that 132k/yr plus benefits wasn't enough to get them to drag their sorry asses to work for one day. I get fired for skipping work, I don't know about you guys…

  204. Take your Liberal hat of guys for just one second guys and imagine a Liberal opposition allowing a totally unrealistic NDP bill to go to the Senate and then instructing the Liberals there to force a vote on it—all in an effort to embarass the Conservative Gov`t.

    Now that`s a most likely scenario—political games—even Jack gets to play in this one.

  205. Yeah, but what might be 'obstructing, amending, delaying and gutting' to me might be 'sober second thought' to you. Kinda depends whose team you're cheering for. Very subjective. Also, if it was wrong for the Liberal senators to obstruct, amend, delay and gut legislation, it's just as wrong for the Conservative senators to obstruct, amend, delay, gut or (in this case) kill legislation. Not unless two wrongs do make a right.

    If the Conservatives orchestrated this, it was totally crass. That said, the more I'm reading and thinking about this, the more the questions I have of the Liberals' handling of this affair. I'll be interested to hear from someone not affiliated with a party weigh in on what happened and cut through some of the partisan BS that's flying about.

  206. *snicker*

    I almost forgot how gracefully the left absorbs defeat.

  207. Good lord, do you even listen to yourself?

  208. This entire post contains about one sentence that isn't malarkey.

  209. I admit the post doesn't quite spoon feed the reader as much as some might like. If you think about it long enought it may come. If not, get somebody more indulgent of your tomfoolery to explain it to you.

  210. Speaking of snickering and accepting defeat, I could not help but notice how you totally ignored Pat's question above. It is almost as if you have no answer or something.

    But maybe in your world ignoring questions and/or pretending they do not exist because you know you cannot answer them is different from accepting defeat.

    Ha ha ha

  211. So being too thick to understand is not an act.

    Good to know.

  212. Sigh.

    This whole issue is about Harper saying one thing and doing another. It is called hypocrisy. Look it up.

    What I claimed is the CPC did not table WORKABLE or LEGAL senate reform, and they didn't. What they tabled were junk bills that were never intended to pass and would never be upheld by the courts if they did.

    Finally, maybe you forget this, or are too young to know it ever happened, but before the LPC won a majority in 1993, the previous government tried twice to bring in constitutional reform, and failed miserably both times, sparking another national crisis leading to a referendum in Quebec in 1995. Now maybe in your world senate reform is worth going through that mess again, but luckily wiser heads prevailed and determined the country was in no mood for a third kick at the can.

  213. An informal agreement wouldn't even need to be revoked – any individual senator could merely ignore it as he or she saw fit.

    A law to the same effect may or may not be constitutional (on one hand the Fed. level of government has some authority to make constitutional amendments regarding matters regarding itself (that's why the provinces' consent wasn't required to alter the sitting age of the senate). On the other hand, it's such a fundamental change to the nature of the body it might be considered so enormous that it requires use of the amending formula. Harper certainly hasn't been doing much to finally answer that question.

  214. Nor does would any of this prohibit the Senate from refusing to admit any non-elected Senator.

    ***

    Now you're just practicing typing.

  215. Yes yes.. technically you're correct. Big hurrahs to you.

    Now, back here in the real world, any government that starts this is going to have a hell of a court case to fight vs one or more of the provinces, and the supreme court, in case you forget, doesn't just look at technicalities, but also strives to make clear the intent of legislation. That the constitution doesn't say "They can't be booted before they're 75" in no way suggests that the courts will conclude that it means "They can be booted before 75, but must be booted by then"

  216. The objective fact is also that he has no trouble with appointing unelected people as senators either.

    The objective fact is also that, 100% of the time, any person diagnosed with cancer has drank water previously in their life-time. To suggest this means the two are related is pretty stupid.

  217. Well.. it's working well for the house, why not the senate too?

  218. Isn't it the government that's supposed to come up with plans?

    Or do you want the opposition to be the government too?

  219. Try reading a book, Mike.

    It won't make your head explode.

  220. Got to give him this much.. he's at least consistent. Before when he didn't have control of th senate, he had to kill his own bills by proroguing. Now he can do nothing without even having to make an effort.

  221. I'm glad you mentioned the word "technically", because apparently you don't have a nose for technicalities.

    If the Senate is going to start refusing to admit non-elected members, it will be the Senate that utlimately makes that decision.

    The government actually has very little hand in it. And I'm not sure if the Senate, as an institution, can be sued by any government.

  222. You really don't get the whole concept of sober second thought do you?

    Which one gives you trouble? Sober? Or thought?

  223. Oh.. I don't know.. maybe debate the bill? Pass it back to the house with adjustments they thought were reasonable for Canada's situation? You know, what the Liberal dominated senate did the few times Harper managed to send them stuff without first proroguing it out of existance.

  224. Holy crap.

    It's like Mike is a complete illiterate or something.

    Let me state this quite clearly, Mike: I didn't say that the government could use the legislation in question to force provincial governments to hold Senate elections. I actually said the precise OPPOSITE.

    Put your bifocals back on and read it again. I'm sure you'll get it right eventually.

  225. My bad. I kind of forgot the extent to which left-wingers are hostile to expertise and facts.

  226. That's a false equivalent argument, Thwim. Not worthy of further consideration.

  227. Really? How is it false equivalence? You're basing your grand 100% arguments on a single case. Had he not appointed any unelected senators, you'd have some tiny bit of support. But he has, so Brown is as likely to be fluke as pattern.

  228. Are you really going to argue that the senate will refuse a member appointed from Quebec? Seriously? Do you have any connection with the real world at all?

    Again, technically they can do so. Realistically, there's more chance that Harper will admit he orchestrated the attempt to bribe Cadman.

  229. No. George Costanza sinking a free throw from centre court would be a fluke. This is a matter of a principled decision by a public figured.

    A "fluke" is not a rational explanation. This is simply not an intellectually serious argument, and is being disregarded.

  230. It is not in the hands of the individual Senator to ignore such an agreement whether it's formal OR informal. The Senate decides its own composition, and an individual Senator cannot seat him or her self.

  231. Yes, but you continue trying to make it anyway. That's what has me curious.

  232. Oh, you mean the alleged bribe that Cadman's wife insisted he was never even offered? That bribe?

    Moving along, IF Parliament were to implement such a policy, one would expect them to implement in all cases.

    This being said, you're evidently very confused about the conversation to date. No one is suggesting this is how Senate reform would or even SHOULD be implemented — merely that it COULD. Merely that it's POSSIBLE.

    To be frank with you, I think this is the absolute LAST means by which Senate reform should ever be attempted.

  233. You're the one arguing fluke. Seeing as how you can't have possibly proposed it in good faith, I'm simply going to disregard anything further you have to say about this.

  234. So.. as I said before.. you're techically correct. Huzzah. Now join us in the real world about what might actually occur..

    Or if you want, we might as well discuss the mating habits of unicorns, since it contains the same relevance.

  235. You flail with all the expertise of and epileptic trout.

    You realize that when you admit that I'm technically correct about what COULD happen, you've conceded the whole argument. Choosing to ignore my notation that it probably WOULDN'T happen, and probably shouldn't doesn't change anything about that.

  236. Provincial laws to voluntarily elect Senators are of no force and effect – they are window dressing. The only way a person becomes a Senator is if the Prime Minister appoints them.

    There is nothing preventing the Prime Minister from using paper scissors rock to choose Senators – the result is the same. And the Senate cannot refuse to admit someone appointed by the PM. I would love to see your source for that.

  237. ……sourstud has made more sense on this one subject then you and Emily have made all year.

  238. ……or just let the H of C know that it was an unrealistic garbage bill—–and the sober second thought will be that maybe next time the NDP and Liberals will construct a Bill that has some basis in reality.

  239. …….so maybe this unprecedented move by the Senate is just the way that the Master Chess Player has to force the Liberals to cooperate in a way to reform the Senate.

    Everything is part of the Master Plan. ( i`m mostly just stirring the pot )

  240. you know nothing.

  241. I guess, then, that declining to continue a childish name-calling spat is losing, though having the maturity to refuse to spit in someone's eye and call them names is hardy defeat. It's not a quality of 'the left', but it is a quality of an adult.

  242. I'm really not sure he is even correct by technicality. The idea that the senate could use its seating power to reject anyone not elected might actually be considered an abuse of power – it's certainly an insane suggestion.

  243. Unfortunately, this is probably only just the beginning.

    If the Conservatives gain control of the Senate, and the Liberals gain control of the House, what's to stop the Senate from killing every bill sent to them out of pure partisan spite?

  244. So you've got nothing to add to my point? Thanks for agreeing.

  245. That doesn't make sense.

  246. Um, okay? Or are you just trying to be defiant in the face of reason?

  247. The bill was an absolute joke. The Conservative's did the responsible thing by killing a bill that's only purpose was to embarrass the CPC. And as usual, it's backfired in Iggy's face. What else is new?

  248. That's hilarious! You STILL have not answered Pat's question. Do you actually think referring to me as pathetic hides the fact you cannot answer his question?

    ha ha ha

    You are such a loser.

  249. Of course it doesn't make sense to you. That's the point – subtleties are beyond you.

  250. Perhaps if you would have formulated a proper sentence, I would be able to pick up on said "subtleties". As it stands, it reads more like gibberish than a coherent point.

  251. Wherry says: "This will no doubt outrage the Prime Minister, Mr. Harper and his government having periodically lamented the tyranny an unelected Senate can impose."

    Indeed, Harper is not in favour of our outdated Senate system and he has tried to make some changes to that system. Not enough people supported his ideas for them to be implemented. And so the status quo remains and Harper is therefore bound to the workings of this outdated Senate. That includes the vote which took place just the other day.

    If more Canadians would possess intellectual honesty and if more Canadians would be consistent when wanting to make changes to our democratic system, Senate reform would be a no-brainer. I am no longer amazed that people such as yourself cannot understand such simple logic. You are afraid of logic.

  252. You poor stupid rightwingers are still chanting that there's no such thing as AGW/climate change, aren't you, you frightened delusional dummies. You do not have the guts to face the reality that our world is changing fast and we need to adapt our ways in order to survive.

  253. They are certainly immature enough to do that.

  254. Yes, the timing of his resignation gets more interesting. Maybe he couldn't bear going to another world environment meeting at Cancun and working to destroy any good it might hope to achieve in the name of the lying oil corporations?

  255. These Conservatives always lie.

  256. Funy to hear a lying Conservative complaining about people not having intellectual honesty. God knows Harper has absolutely none.

  257. "…The Climate Change Accountability Act passed through the House of Commons to the Senate in the spring of last year. Because Conservative Senators had chosen not to take the opportunity to debate the bill, the bill had not yet been referred to a committee for study. Instead of doing so, Conservative Senators called a surprise vote last night, and managed to kill the bill while many of its supporters were away from the Senate…"
    http://www.pembina.org/media-release/2117

  258. …….and you poor stupid leftwingers still think that you can sit in your comfortable chairs and change the world by passing laws that have zero possibility of being acheived. It may make you feel good but you are really a big part of the problem—-please adapt your ways.

  259. Reducing emissions to 80% below 1990 levels is impossible. And the bill shows that the NDP and Liberals are less interested in responsible change to improve Canada than playing political games.

    But I appreciate your enlightened and thoughtful response, you smelly Communist Left-Tard.

  260. …..maybe next time you can link to a Suzuki blog—-you know, for some balance.

  261. I think you're helping prove his point with you're uninformed vitriolic nonsense. You know that name-calling doesn't help make your point.

  262. Holly Stick, Mr.Coyne seems to be disappointed in Canadian politics (as stated recently in one of his blog writings). Why does he seem so surprised? I would say the writing has been on wall for some time. One has to go no further than to read all of Holly Stick's posts to get a good indication of what's going on with Canadian politics.

    You go girl!

  263. British-style Parliamentary bodies decide their own composition. My source is the rules of Parliament. Look it up.

    The practice is that the Senate does not refuse to admit those appointed by the PM. This isn't to say that it could not make that decision.

  264. Look it up, Mike. Read a book.

    It won't kill you.

  265. Yawn.

    No, I suppose you're right. The adult thing to do is to wade into an argument in the concluding stages, and chide the victor for treating the loser with the contempt they've earned.

    Naturally overlooking the obnoxious conduct of that loser.

    Seriously, Doug. No one CARES what you think. Take a hike.

  266. I didn't consider Pat's question to be worthy of further attention then, nor do I now.

  267. How incoherent of you.

  268. Conservatives are happy Harper violated one of his longstanding promises (which most support), while Liberals are angry that Harper violated one of his longstanding promises (which they do not support).

    Maybe you guys should just switch parties.

  269. Which is the same as admitting you do not have an answer.

    Way to accept defeat gracefully.

  270. Actually, it appears you think the adult thing to do is avoid uncomfortable questions and then feign some moral superiority when confronted by others, almost as if you are not the one guilty of being childish and evasive.

    I am on to you.

  271. You are getting lost in your own argument. I understand why. Contorting yourself in the way you have starts to get confusing after a while.

    Harper said he would never do something, and then he did it. No matter how much you try to justify that with irrelevant information, it boils down to that. In any event, Harper has not made any sincere attempts to change the senate. Do you really think Harper thinks it is a good idea to give senators more power and democratic credibility while so many provinces are under-represented in the Upper Chamber? Is it your belief that Harper, a good ole Alberta boy, believes that it is perfectly acceptable that Alberta have less power in the Senate than PEI?

    Intellectual honesty is lacking in the Prime Minister, not the liberals.

  272. I will help you out. She is saying you really are too thick to understand. It is not an act on your part.

    It would help if you read the entire thread.

  273. Recognizing that the question is not worthy of serious consideration is not the same as not having an answer.

    If anything, you're just trying to be annoying. I suppose it must be irritating that I haven't indulged you.

  274. *snicker*

    You're on to diddly squat, although I think we've all concluded that preening as if you are is pretty much what you're going to do from here on out.

    Preening being the full extent of what you do.

    Who's on to whom? Really?

  275. So it took two of you to form a sentence. Congratulations!

  276. Patrick – you may think you are being clever, but I assure you that everyone can tell you are just running from a question you cannot answer.

    I am not irritated. I am amused.

  277. Let's see. You have continuously refused to answer a question about the fact that some provinces in the Senate are under-represented, and some are over-represented. Somehow the fact that there will be a power imbalance in the Senate, to the detriment of your own province, is not a serious question to you. Instead of answering you resort to name calling and personal insults.

    Yeah. I think I am on to you. You could not be more obvious if you tried.

  278. Thank you. Next time I run across Gayle I will remind her that you would understand better if she held your hand and walked you through it. I mean, she already figured out you are too thick to understand. She should have dumbed it down for you.

  279. Ha; that's great! – looks to me from reading Handard that the Lib Senators accidentally killed their own legislation HAHAHAHA

  280. That'd be great.

  281. No, this country is getting lost in its own argument. It doesn't want the Senate to act as it does, yet it does not want to seriously reform the Senate. What gives?

    Look, Harper has been in favour of Senate reform for a very long time. He would like to reform much more than what he has proposed so far. But he cannot get anywhere regarding Senate reform if he is opposed from all corners. Yes, Canadians interested in democratic reform need to get on board, yes, the provinces need to get on board, yes, the EEE senate is still a very good idea.

    All I'm saying is that Canada is not ready to have a serious look at itself. That's the sad part of it all. Don't blame Harper for this. God knows he's tried.

  282. He has not tried at all. He has zero interest in senate reform beyond its use as a fundraising tool. You know how you can tell that? By the way he steadfastly refuses to put anything substantive on the table, by the way he steadfastly refuses to even acknowledge true senate reform requires a constitutional amendment, and by the way he insists on tabling legislation, that if constitutional and passed by Parliament, would put certain provinces at a terrible disadvantage. Finally, Prime Minister Harper has never set out for Canadians what his vision of a reformed senate even is.

    How can you get Canadians interested in democratic reform and provinces on board when he does not even set out a vision? He has absolutely no interest in doing any of this. Stop being so naive.

  283. He's a coward.

  284. Gayle, Holly Stick and Emily are all one and the same person. That's giving it my best guess.

    When you're ready to discuss Senate reform, give me a shout. Untill then.

  285. *sigh* fine.. we'll play it your way, you want semantic games? Here we go:

    The problem we're having is that we disagree on the nature of the argument. So.. if we scroll way back, we see this all started with you disagreeing with Emily that the constitution was the biggest problem blocking reform of the senate.

    Technically, you were correct that the constitution doesn't explicitly ban it. Unfortunately, she didn't say the constitution bans it, she said it's the biggest problem. In that, she's actually correct, because you know as well as I do that the constitution would be the grounds on which various provinces would challenge any changes to the senate.

    Whether that challenge would be successful is a more difficult question — but there is no denying that the constitution is what the provinces would challenge it on, thus it is the biggest obstacle, there not being any others.

  286. "That's my best guess".

    I know. It's kinda sad.

    Anyhoo, since the actual topic of this post has nothing to do with senate reform, I am not sure why you keep flogging that one, other than the fact that doing so allows you to somehow convince yourself Harper was not conducting himself in a hypocritical manner.

    That said, if you want to discuss real, doable, legal senate reform, you can start any time. You will have to work to catch up however since most of us are way ahead of you on that one.

    But hey – way to totally ignore that whole "Harper's so called senate reform is just a waste of paper" thing.

    ha ha ha ha ha

  287. Oh. My. DEAR. Lord.

    You evidently need to re-read the argument. Emily insisted that the Constitution would need to be amended I demonstrated that the Constitution would NOT need to be amended.

    If Canadians wish to make the election of Senators mandatory, the best method is amending the constitution. The proposed legislation does NOT make those elections mandatory. They make those elections voluntary on the province's part, wherein the provinces can either embrace or reject this under the principles of open federalism.

    By this means, the constitution is not an obstacle at all. Nothing is being imposed on the provinces against their will. They are being given an option they may choose to exercise, or they may not.

    I think Emily's hostility to that option — to the mere option — is actually rather comical.

    As for you, the next time you want to wade into an argument in the later stages, then reprise it for the participants, the least you can do is get it right.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *