Trudeau’s Senate surprise: ‘PR manoeuvre’ or principled reform?

Ottawa bureau chief John Geddes on the many questions circling the Liberal leader’s gambit

Justin Trudeau’s startling move today in kicking all Liberal senators out of his parliamentary caucus adds an unexpected new dimension to the already complex debate around reforming the discredited upper chamber.

Trudeau is positioning himself as determined to cleanse the Senate of what have always been its most fundamental traits—partisanship and patronage. The first part would be eliminated by having all senators, starting today with those 32 former Liberals, sit as independents.

The second would be accomplished if Trudeau ever became prime minister, and was able to implement what he’s formally proposing: a new process for selecting new senators that would be based on public input beyond the control of the ruling party

“This is not a decision that I’m making lightly,” he told reporters on Parliament Hill. “And I’m not doing this for any personal benefit or advantage. I’m doing this because I firmly believe this is the way we will be better able to serve the people of Canada.”

Of course, his avowal of pure motives was not accepted at face value. Reporters asked if he was motivated by the examination of senators’ expenses now being conducted by Auditor General Michael Ferguson. Trudeau denied he was acting on advance information that Ferguson’s findings on Liberal senators’ spending would prove embarrassing.

“No, I have had no Liberal senators come and tell me anything about any expenses,” he said. “The issue of expenses is one that needs to be taken care of and is being taken care of. What I am taking care of today is the partisanship and patronage.”

But Pierre Poilievre, who is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s point man on Senate issues as minister of state for democratic reform, reacted by slamming Trudeau’s surprise announcement as “a public relations manoeuvre in order to avoid accountability, which the Auditor General will deliver.”

Still, the deeper question isn’t about what’s in the A-G’s report, but rather what’s actually politically and legally feasible when it comes to revamping the upper chamber.

Poilievre repeatedly alluded to Harper’s decision to ask the Supreme Court of Canada, in the so-called Senate reference, for guidance on reform. He repeatedly touted the Conservatives’ hope that the court allows them to go ahead with their plan for provinces to hold consultative elections that would choose the senators future prime ministers would appoint. Making the Senate an elected body is the very heart of the Harper approach.

Yet constitutional experts interviewed by Maclean’s after the Supreme Court held its hearings on the reference late last year tended to doubt the Harper government would get the answer it wants from the court on its model for electing senators. “My hunch, based on the hearings,” said McGill law professor Robert Leckey, “is the government is not going to get the non-binding elections.”

David Smith, distinguished visiting scholar in politics and public administration at Ryerson University in Toronto, was harsher in his characterization of the federal government’s push to introduce such fundamental reforms without seeking provincial approval for a constitutional amendment: “There is just such a lack of constitutional sensitivity in this that it is almost mind-boggling.”

Trudeau repeatedly said that the Tory bid to elect senators would require opening up the Constitution and embarking on a decade of negotiations with the provinces, something he refuses to contemplate. He also said the NDP preference for abolishing the Senate is equally impractical, because it would also require major constitutional reform.

So he positions the new Liberal model—a Senate made up of members detached from the parties in the House—as more practical. In fact, the idea has been floating around for some months.

Late last winter, when the scandal surrounding the spending of senators Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin was erupting, Sen. James Cowan, then the Liberal leader in the Senate, told Maclean’s he was urging changes to end the venerable tradition under which prime ministers “just name their cronies,” in favour of a committee of eminent Canadians recommending nominees.

As of today, Cowan will have to pitch that idea, and any others he might have, from outside the Liberal caucus.




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Trudeau’s Senate surprise: ‘PR manoeuvre’ or principled reform?

  1. LOL Does it matter? This is what…the 4th or 5th article on it?

    • Yeah, and why can’t it be both principled and PR-friendly? I am positively giddy at how he controls what media, and the rest of us, talk about. Keep the “no substance pretty boy” comments coming, cons, while you weep in to your oatmeal.

      • Further to my point: There are already more than 1200 comments on this at cbc.ca. Attention-grabbing future pm in action.

        • Yup, people have taken notice of it….something innovative for a change rather than ‘we can’t do anything’

          • This comment was deleted.

          • This is a party matter, and a party decision….and he is the party leader.

            It is not party policy, or a votable matter in a general election. It’s internal.

            It doesn’t require consulting every Lib in the country. Sorry.

          • He has stated he likes the Chinese style of governing so why should he consult any one?

          • Time for some new talking points there, bud.

          • Don’t lie….when you have to lie you’ve already lost.

          • Ricky! Wow you’re late today! Had to find new trousers didja?

            Oh….PS
            “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”

            Dubya Dec 2000

          • Is that a good idea? Do we want (another) controlling, dictatorial party leader? Would JT be any better than Harper as Prime Minister?

          • Well, if you’re not an MP what possible difference would it make to you?

          • He might become the next Prime Minister and then he won’t just be running a political party, but ruling the country. The one good thing to come of this is that it has the potential to curb the power of all future governments/Prime Minsters/PMO’s of any ideological stripe.

          • There are rules on running the country….what happens within the Liberal party is internal party business.

            Making all his senators independent doesn’t curb anyone’s power. We’ve had independent senators before….

          • Never had 39 independents before (32 former Libs + 7 others; also 9 current vacancies, plus 5 mandatory retirements in 2014). They might actually use the power that the Constitution gives them (doubtful, but possible)

          • Most votes in the Senate aren’t partisan. Harper made them so. They can’t stop anything anyway….never could

          • Well you are not an MP, so what do you care if Harper does not consult his caucus.

          • I don’t

          • Not only does he not consult his caucus, he doesn’t listen to anyone. He knows it all.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Mmmm I didn’t say that hon….yer foaming from yer ears as usual

          • That’s the difference between the Grits and the other two parties, they(grits) know how the constitution works and the other 2 parties just like to talk about it. The liberal party of Canada are full of constitutional lawyers(Dion, Pettigrew, Chretien, even Clyde Wells from NL.), all professional constitutional lawyers. Trudeau just has to look over his shoulder to get any advice on the constitution. this was a good and very bold move, its called progress. The grits may have a small caucus, but they have a smart caucus. This is a new liberal party from the top down.

          • Of the group you mention only Wells I would think of as a constitutional lawyer.

            Dion and Pettigrew are not even lawyers.

            But there are others . .. Deborah Coyne comes to mind.

          • I think it’s fair to say Dion is quite well versed in constitutional law.

          • Sign of a good leader, doesn’t make simple decisions a bureaucratic mess.

          • Yikes…he’s starting to behave like Harper in that regard, isn’t he?

          • And refreshingly, this solution is what I proposed back when Preston Manning was pining for his triple E. This is such an obvious solution, and I’m happy a political party has finally come around to it. And like usual, it happens to be the LPC.

          • I’d prefer abolishing the place, but given that we’ve painted ourselves into a corner on it…..this decision at least moves us closer to an exit window. LOL

          • Abolition is a bit of a fantasy, though less unrealistic than reforming it to be elected and representative. This measure requires no constitutional change and would most likely yield a Senate that is less objectionable.

          • We don’t need one. It serves no useful purpose. It just costs money and takes up space.

            Eventually we’ll figure a better way out of our cramped corner.

          • Realistically, we’re not going to abolish it. This move makes it easier to live with the Senate while we spend our attention on more important matters.

          • We’re stuck with it because we want to be….or because we’re too lazy to fix it.

            There is always something more important…..so things go on and on and on……until suddenly it stops. As the tsar said to the tsardines.

        • or media bias action

        • did you know the tories expelled all senators out of cabinet last year??

      • Well, it is good to know that Justin Trudeau no longer uses the excuse when making decisions that he needs to consult the Liberal grass roots.

        Justin Trudeau is now free to answer as many questions as the media is willing to ask him.

        What a relief that the excuse of “consulting with the grass roots” is now no longer applicable when the media asks questions.

        Finally Trudeau will now start giving answers.

        • One day you’ll look back on that response and smile at how utterly dumb it truly is.

          • No, she really won’t, kcm2. That would require some actual reflection, not knee-jerk reaction.

          • Being dumb doesn’t impress Cons. supporters.Harper has known this for a long time hence he continues to play them for what they are. FV likes the fact that, Majority of Canadians does not take her seriously but like a true dumb Cons. she is, will continue on her dumb ways believing in what she is saying.

  2. blackadder – I’ve got a plan so cunning, you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel!

    • -
      Cunning would be correct judging by his own track record.
      When caught with false expense claim he fessed up some 5 weeks later.
      -
      Junior Trudeau cashed in early in his political career. As soon as his hat was in the ring he DOUBLED HIS SPEAKING FEES. This was no small amount of money; probably hundreds of thousands of dollars and mostly to CHARITIES or other government funded groups. Not behaviour we should condone.
      -
      Has he ever given the excess back to show moral fabric.
      NO – but willing to throw his senators under the bus to make himself look good.

      PR stunt.

  3. So one thing we do know for sure now:

    Justin does NOT have to consult fellow Liberals and grass roots when making decisions.

    The members of the media will remember that much next time they question Justin on decision making practices.

    • You have no idea what you’re talking about , do you? If you’d bothered to look at his soapbox thingy you’d see all kinds of evidence he has been soliciting ideas on all kinds, not least what to do with the senate. Sitting as independents was a common bit of advise.
      So you moan he’s taking too much time not presenting policy; he says he’s consulting. Now when he takes a risk laying out policy he hasn’t consulted enough? Sorry, i guess you’re saying he should have only consulted with the senators. As for the grass roots, he’s been talking to us, you just weren’t a part of the discussion at all.

    • Are you saying he just like the Dead Leader?

    • Okay, that’s twice – how many times will you be repeating this here and at the NP?

      • Based on past history I would say between 3500 and 4500 more times.

        • Based on past performance, yes. :-(

      • She is the Queen of Cons. talking point from the PMO’s office. She like all Cons. supporters have no original thoughts. They are Harp[er’s sheepie who will follow the Dear Leader no matter what. We in Ontario, we have the FRAUD NATION will stop at nothing to deflect, blame, lie to protect their lying/morally bankrupt leader. They have no shame, power by any means.

      • Thank you for reading my post.

        Repetition works, as writers at Macleans understand well enough.

        • No, it really doesn’t, because no matter how many times people call you an idiot, you still persist.

  4. The SCC has not ruled on the possible senate reforms yet. Why not wait until they do?

    Why the need to endlessly speculate?

    • You’re 8 years late with that excuse for Harper. Better get back to calling Justin a robber of charities.

      • So you are in favour of Trudeau making these decision without consulting the Liberal grass roots or the caucus?

        If you do, then why was Trudeau so proud of saying he needs to consult with grass roots Liberals before making announcements or before making decisions?

        You really do want it both ways, don’t you!

        • You can’t possibly know who he did or did not consult about this, since it’s only currently apparent he didn’t consult with the senators, possibly his full caucus.
          As always you’re confused. Consultation does not mean that any leader is ever actually absolved of having to make a decision on just about anything. Otherwise why have leaders at all? Sooner or later someone has to pull the trigger.

          • Actually, it’s not even apparent that he didn’t consult with them. The bit about James Cowan up there actually suggests the opposite. I submit you don’t pull a move like this out of thin air unless you’re looking for a lot of knives in your back.

            To me, this move explains why they were against the NDP motion to do exactly this. Had the motion passed, it would have stolen their thunder when they wanted to do this.

          • Agreed. However,the sight of conbots yelling about lack of consultation has given me a bit of nausea for some reason.

          • Reading the Wells article, it looks like there may be a bunch of senators who weren’t consulted ahead of time on this. I’m pretty surprised about that.. that changes this from an extremely good move to one that does have some risks for him.

          • Risky yes. But if he’s trying to sideline those who wont see change is acoming, it may be a very good move.

          • Because when Harper does it he is pilloried and vilified, whereas when Trudeau does it it is bold, decisive leadership?

          • Them’s the breaks. Harp’s lost all his curls too…sucks to be him guess.

          • Thanks. A damning indictment of Canada’s “un-biased media” when clear examples of unfair and /or unequal coverage gets a “yawn” from people like you.

            I’m sick of both poles of Canada’s political system. The right justifies examples of Conservative studipidy by saying “Chretien’s Liberals did it too,” and Liberal stupidity gets a pass from certain media and an uncaring and unthinking left-wing electorate.

            “Them’s the breaks.” Pathetic.

          • You might want to sharpen up your observation skills before you blow there Sig. Just my little joke. Being facetious. I completely agree excusing or giving a pass to “Your” brand of truth is a bad thing.

          • Thanks :)

          • Now i’ll give you a serious answer…that’s just your perception, not a fact. Trudeau is often mocked in media, you can’t be looking hard enough for it.

          • If Cowan was part of the Liberal caucus up until today and if Trudeau had spoken about this new move or if the party had debated it in caucus, Cowan would have known about it before today. Cowan says he did NOT know about it until Justin announced it.

          • Maybe he was napping. Apparently old men, senators and Rob Anders do this quite a bit.

          • I missed that. Did the ndp have a motion to make all senators independents? May be they wern’t ready either but it strikes me that it might have been useful to support that ndp move, now anyway.

          • HUH?

            Cowan said he was taken by surprise, and Cowan did attend caucus meetings when he was a Liberal senator, which was up until today.

            You people don’t realize you contradict yourself at every turn. Really too funny.

          • Cowan himself raised the possibility months ago. Just because he was surprised by the decision and the timing doesn’t mean he had no input into the decision.

          • Yup, he did. Which was reported in articles after this one, and which I acknowledge later on in this very thread.

            Do try reading.

          • Well, I know for certain that Trudeau did not consult his Liberal caucus on sending his Liberal senators packing. Because if Trudeau HAD consulted his caucus, the Liberal senators would have heard about it and would not have been taken by surprise.

            (Hint: Trudeau kicked the senators out of his caucus AFTER Trudeau had made the decision, not before during caucus meetings which senators attended. but perhaps you cannot think logically)

          • Hint: He could have asked them all kinds of questions on how they viewed this or that, without giving away his intended direction. The questions and answers would still be a form of consultation. He didn’t need to ask “Which Senators want to be kicked out of caucus?” to get a sense of where they stood.

        • I am in favour of Trudeau making these decisions without consulting grass roots or caucus. This is not policy that will end up as legislation affecting the lives of Canadian. This is internal to the party, and he is the leader.

          • Good point. It will be interesting to see if Trudeau gets any blowback from the membership. Even if he does the worst thing he’s done imo is not consult the senators. But for FV to spin that as not consulting anyone is silly, and dumb.

        • You are question-begging, to a pathetic degree.

          • That’s how she rolls – and rolls, and rolls, and rolls…

          • So Cowan simply plugged his ears over the past weeks or months when Justin discussed and consulted Liberal caucus members about making Liberal senators independent.

            “Hey, Cowan, plug your ears, we Liberals are now discussing in caucus to make you and all the other Liberal senators independent. Tell Liberal senator Grant Mitchell to plug his ears as well.”

            Something like that, eh.

          • Really. So if Liberal senator Cowan sat in the Liberal caucus until today, how then could the Liberal caucus have discussed this issue without Cowan having known about it? Cowan sat in on Liberal caucus meetings until the announcement was made. LOL

        • He didn’t tell them what was coming; that doesn’t mean he didn’t solicit their opinions.

          • HUH? So what then are caucus meetings for?

            When Harper does not consult his caucus, you all him a control freak, and when Justin does not consult his caucus he is your hero?

            Oh, my, Houston ,we really do have a problem with the reasoning skills of KeithBram.

          • Hey – I’ve been consulted on things by my bosses many times over the years without my knowing why they wanted the information or what they planned on doing with it… until they announced their decision. That’s how the world works FV. For a party that claims to have so much business savvy, you sure don’t know much about how leaders make their decisions…

          • This surprises you? She doesn’t even know how they get paid.

      • LOL. take that Francien. I am surprised she has not said that line today.

    • Some people want to see some change – Harper hopes to delay and use the reform mantra for as long as it has political mileage – i.e. indefinitely. Trudeau just pulled out and passed him.

      • Harper does not consult his caucus means he is a control freak, right, according to you.

        But when Justin does not consult his caucus he is your hero.

        I understand how it works for you. Canadians will wake up to who Trudeau really is and they will also figure out how your thinking lacks basic logic.

    • The SCC has not ruled on the possible senate reforms yet. Why not wait until they do?

      I seem to recall the Tories actually TABLED SENATE REFORM LEGISLATION back in 2011, and yet they didn’t ask the SCC if any of it was remotely Constitutional until letting it languish for two years first.

      If the Tories didn’t feel the need to wait for the Court before actually tabling their reform legislation in the House of Commons, I fail to see why anyone would expect Trudeau to wait for the Court before deciding who is and is not going to caucus as a Liberal.

  5. “Still, the deeper question isn’t about what’s in the A-G’s report, but
    rather what’s actually politically and legally feasible when it comes to
    revamping the upper chamber.”

    Indeed it is the only question that really matters since if anything this move is likely to result in JT getting even more, not less, egg on his face if the AG digs up more Harbs.
    So once the predictable moaning has died down[ is there anything more revolting than the sight of PP standing on his hind legs like a man and praising Harper's record on the senate?] once the ndp have had their turn at pi**ing all over this as an unprincipled move by Trudeau to avoid accountability, when in fact it represents a huge risk, amplifying any bad news to come on more Liberal senatorial entitlement scandals, once that has happened[i imagine there will be one of two grumpy Liberal senators over this move too] we can deal with the deeper question of has Trudeau received good advise on this file. Are there any constitutional impediments to separating current senators from the party structure? Because if there aren’t and he weathers the AG report reasonably well, this could be a big win for him with the public.

  6. So Justin Trudeau thinks that the Liberal caucus and the Liberal grass roots no longer have a say.

    Talking about throwing people under the bus! More like pushing the Liberal grass roots under the bus. LOL

    Trudeau is now the control freak supreme. Justin says the LIberal senators are no longer Liberals! Just like Peter Pan, he waves his wand and pooofff – all Liberal senators gone.

    Canadian politics is alive and well.

    • Peter Pan didn’t have a wand…..but you are certainly Tinkerbell

      • More of a Smee, really.

        • LOL well she is certainly confused!

          • Cons. mantra, repeat lies often and hope it becomes the truth. Canadians are wising up to these phonies in Govt.

          • True…..we’re getting down to the Koolaiders and the Wind-ups now.

          • It is quite remarkable how much the tone has changed, on comment boards, over the past year.

          • Yup…..optimism and pessimism have changed places. Heh.

          • Yes, the truth is being told now. Get used to it. No more corners for you people to hide in. LOL.

          • What lies are you talking about?

            The lie that Trudeau supposedly consults his caucus before he makes decisions?

            LOL You people really crack me up.

      • This comment was deleted.

        • John! Yer back from Florida!

          Didja get caught in the snowstorm?

          • Still here Emily using the latest technology to see how you’re doing.

            It’s raining, the Gulf is calm and the temperature is around 60F.

          • Ahhh well don’t drive home then. Southerners are overnighting on the freeway.

        • Insults that don’t make any sense are lame, John.

          • The day you can conjure up a greater insult to Canadians than one of those loopy Trudozeys, you let me know.

          • That’s why you do it so much?

          • Wow – you’re just racing down the list! In a hurry to get somewhere?

    • You are a haggard, hypocritical old mouthpiece. If Harper had done this you’d be praising him to the heavens. But Trudeau, you call a control freak.
      You are some piece of work Francien, some piece of work.

      • HUH?

        It is you people who constantly say that MP’s and caucus should be consulted when leaders make decisions. Heck, even Trudeau scores so high because he insisted before today, that caucus should be consulted.

        Now Trudeau clearly did not consult his caucus (or else the Liberal senators would have known about if before today) and you consider him to be your ideal leader.

        Your hypocrisy cannot be any more clearly exposed.

        • But the fact remains that you see the name Trudeau and reflux up your partisan spew and start handing out your pamphlets.

          Your wool is dyed blue and that is fine, except you love to portray yourself as an even-handed purveyor of “truth.” But your spin never passes the sniff test: If Harper had made this move would you have trumpeted it as proof of his commitment to transparency and accountability?

          So save your “hypocrisy exposed” line of BS for your next pamphlet and take a look in the mirror once in a while.

    • “Justin says the LIberal senators are no longer Liberals”

      No, there is nothing stopping them from being members of the party.

      All he is done is to exclude them from the Liberal caucus.

      • So then is this move anything more than a PR exercise?

        • Yes it does; it means they don’t get to sit in on the decision-making process that the MPs engage in. Like the rest of the unelected but card-carrying Liberals across the country.

          • What decision making process? Justin did not consult his caucus when he made this decision.

          • “Consult” does not mean “take a vote.” From the article:

            “Late last winter, when the scandal surrounding the spending of senators Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin was erupting, Sen. James Cowan, then the Liberal leader in the Senate, told Maclean’s
            he was urging changes to end the venerable tradition under which prime
            ministers “just name their cronies,” in favour of a committee of eminent
            Canadians recommending nominees.”

            So Cowan raised this with Trudeau – and Trudeau apparently listened. That’s a form of consultation. Maybe not the form you’d like, but too bad – if you don’t like it don’t vote Liberal (cuz I know you were gonna ;-)).

            Changing the Senate appointments process has been Liberal policy for some time now – Trudeau has been saying for some time that he would look to improve the Senate via the method of appointing Senators. Today he reiterated the policy, added to it – and actually started the reform process.

            The Senators may have been somewhat surprised – but the direction Trudeau was heading was already clear, and Cowan himself was advocating it. Not telling them in advance meant no leaks from disgruntled Senators (there will surely be a few) and thus maximized the impact of the announcement.

            I know how disheartening it must be to see JT come up with an idea and act on it while being the leader of the third-place party – while Harper has failed to accomplish anything of significance in eight years. I hope you can get past the bitterness.

    • So when Harper decided the Senate leader would no longer be a member of the Cabinet he did so after consulting with who? Or is it whom?

      • You miss the point entirely.

        Was it not you who complains and calls Harper a control freak for not consulting his caucus?

        So Trudeau is a control freak now. As if we did not see that coming. LOL

    • You’re totally demented.

      • I am demented?

        I would say that considering Harper a control freak when he does not consult his caucus but calling Justin’s decision making practices bold and brave because he does not consult his caucus a silly move on your part.

        Silly, because you obviously don’t understand how you contradict yourself at every turn. Keep steering. LOL

        • I hope you enjoy your conversation with yourself. You seem to be reading things I did not write.

    • “Canadian politics is alive and well.”

      Indeed it is – on the Opposition side of the House…and judging from your frantic spamming all over media comment boards, you seem worried about that.

  7. May well be motivated by a cynical PR maneuver, who knows–perhaps time will tell (and if so, he should suffer for it)–but as a separate issue, it’s an excellent reform I’ve been in favor of for some time. However it came to be proposed, I would love to see the other parties adopt this same approach.

    • If, by some miniscule chance, you are referring to me. Nope. It’s my initials. If not, carry on.

      • Try the link for an answer.

        • Ah, I see! Wow, it’s not often you see a Progressive Conservative in the wild anymore.

  8. I’m thinking the article addressed the real reason for this move…….I suspect, that when the AG report comes out….what the LIberal Senators have been doing with the expense accounts will make Duffy and Wallin look like pikers in comparison.
    That being said, I think it’s about time the folks who actually tell Trudeau what to believe in provided him some type of idea or policy….even if the motive was simply a defensive maneouvre to the AG report.

    • It is possible this is nothing more than just trying to get out ahead of bad news. But ask yourself why he would take such a huge risk for that motive alone. If there are more bad news stories to come the odds are there will be both Liberals and Conservatives implicated[ very likely more Harper appointees too. How many now since he promised to appoint none?] IOWs if that is the case the smartest thing would be to wait – the sh*t storm will tar everyone. Why stick your neck out like this then? It wont give him much cover. In fact it will damage his credibility since he didn’t appoint those Liberals but Harper did appoint many of those Tories.
      It makes no sense to me that he would do this only to avoid accountability. I think he’s simply being an opportunist, seizing the moment to burnish his own little accountability lamp. To the degree he gets any cover at all it will be merely incidental. Winners take big risks at times. Not stupid ones.

  9. Obviously a PR move, but I think that this is a good thing overall.

  10. I think it’s a great idea but I doubt anything will really change. It’s not like their beliefs will suddenly changed, but at least they won’t have to toe party line.

    Unfortunately it comes off a bit cynical considering the recent senate scandals, and the fact it’s the senate so it’s really irrelevant.

    • The key is what he promises to do re future appointments, should he become PM. It will be a slow process – more an evolution than a revolution, as he can only fully implement the change as sitting Senators retire – but I think it will give the Senate back some relevance.

      • “The key is what he promises to do re future appointments.”
        Very true. The problem is that his gesture of kicking the current Liberal senators out of the Liberal caucus is a bit problematic because 1) They are Liberals (appointed by a Liberal PM and members of the Liberal Party and as such they vote together as Liberals. 2) Canadians know that a PM of the Liberal persuasion appointed each one of these so-called independents so should any one of them become enmeshed in scandal, the headlines will undoubtedly still identify them as former Liberal senators, now seating as an independents, Further there will be questions about why JT really made a preemptive move to kick all these Liberals out of the Liberal caucus when a Liberal senator by another name smells as sweet (Sorry Shakespeare).

        • I don’t think he’s trying to avoid the AG report fallout, as some have suggested. Like you say, if there’s anything untoward that comes out, they were Libs when they did the deed and the party will wear it regardless.

          If anything, he’s taking a big risk and hoping that nothing turns up, precisely because the spin his opponents will give it is exactly that he was trying to dodge it. And that would undo every bit of good PR this move may have gotten him.

          He might have been wiser to wait for the report, deal with any fallout – and then made this announcement.

  11. Anyone believes Ottawa is capable of senate reform must be taking serious delusional inducing drugs. I cite history of do nothing constructive of senate.

    The only real answer is to eliminate the senate, so simple even Ottawa might get it right. That is, if we had an ethical leadership to push for taxpayers savings.

    But all we have on the ballot is who gets more of our money to do less for us. Its the only option. Not a single credible option for less waste, less corruption, less inflated contracts, less bailouts and less taxing government.

    If people were left with less hidden taxes driving inflated prices, and more money left int heir pockets, we could spend more on other peoples jobs.

    But the only result form theoprions we have is statism-repression and more taxes and debt. More for the government and less for the people who support it.

    Our rigged ballot doesn’t represent people managing government, it represents government managing us.

    • Abolition is as simple as getting any constitutional change through. Which is not very.

  12. I think it is a smart political move but it doesn’t do a thing for Canadians. Now we have a bunch of senators who answer to no one. Mr. Trudeau pretty has pretty much turned them out and said they don’t belong to me and anything they have done is not my problem. What happens when the Cons do the same thing to their caucus in the senate? Is no one going to answer for future scandals?

  13. I wish I had a dollar for every time Liberals have lied and deceived to us in the past.

    Yet Harper is like a bad poker hand, a zero…. sometimes its best just to fold. I am a disenchanted with Conservatives conservative and seeking better options on the ballot.

    Can one of these corrupt parties stand up for the middle class, the people who make this country work and mean it with more than deception, lies and cheap talk?

    As the reality of why we don’t have jobs, is we don’t have money left over from taxes, inflated prices due to hidden taxes, devalued money…..we don’t have the money to spend on other peoples jobs any more.

    As Conservative politics are clear, devalue us for statism bloat, let the disabled, retired, low income people lose homes so we have over sized governemtn waste.

    We need better choices on the ballot than who gets more of our money for doing less for it.

  14. obv PR move. he cant actually do anything as the leader of a 3rd place party. all hes doing is waving his magic wand, but at the end of the day the senators he ‘kicked out’ are still senators who will vote liberal regardless. they still also have there party memberships which i doubt him standing in front of a tv will revoke. i think he thinks everyone is either a sheep or stupid

    • Yup. And if he were by some miracle able to win the next election, he’ll have to deal with a Senate that’s full of either Conservatives, or a group of “independents” that he kicked out of caucus. In other words, the entire red chamber will be lining up to obstruct his agenda.

      • hes just backed himself into a corner. the senate could bring down his government

        • You guys wanna catch up plse?

      • Also, Trudeau just moved us closer to the US system.

        Both the Republicans and Democrats in the US have separate caucuses for either House.

        The Liberal independent senators have already admitted to setting up a Liberal senate caucus.

        Is that what Canadians want?

        Is that what the Liberal caucus has agreed on before Justin decided?

    • You’re the second Con to use the “magic wand” line on this thread. Is that an official TP now?

      • no its called pointing out what he is doing. is using gimmicks and smoke and mirrors part of liberal politics?? its justins fav thing

        • ‘Smoke and mirrors’ – that’s the other one being repeated. It’s amazing how insync Cons are with each other.

  15. If it’s one thing that’s most pressing to the Canadian family trying to make ends meat, its…..the composition of the Senate. First pot, now this. Who says Justin is a silver spooned Ottawa insider detached from ordinary Canadians? He has his finger on the pulse I tell ya.

  16. Former Liberal Senator James Cowan doesn’t think all that independently after all.

    Senator James Cowan’s exact words on CBC TV at 6:37 pm EST: “No we’re not freelancers, we’ve decided as a group of Liberals that we’re going to form the Senate Liberal Caucus. They’ve elected me as their Leader to continue as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.”

    So what’s going on?

    • Smoke and mirrors.

      Cowan also said it is all about perception.

      Really! Watch Power and Politics with Evan.

  17. Skippy , the minion of democratic reform , still looking for a root cause . 3 cheers for the number 8!

    • Are you name calling again? Of course you are.

  18. The idea of a Senate made up of members detached from parties is unrealistic. Such people don’t exist, everyone will be attached to one party or another whether it’s official or not. I say abolishing the senate is the best move. It is a practical idea. It will take a long time to do this, since negotiating with the provinces will take a long time, but that does not make it impractical. If the process of abolishing the senate does not start soon, then it will be just as difficult to abolish the senate later on.

  19. I see this as extremely adroit politics. It is a good bet that the Auditor General’s audit of the expense claims of Liberal Senators will include some findings that embarrass the Liberals. Now, no matter what the Auditor General reports, Trudeau is way out ahead of the story. Whether a principled move or a purely political move, it is a very smart political move. It not only gets JT out from under embarrassing stuff in the AG’s report, it steals the “abolish the Senate” story from Harper.

  20. Will not change a thing all Trudeau did is excite his groupies and make his critics hate him more

    • It changes everything and it just gave a tremendous boost to Dear Leader’s self-destruction.

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