Why Colin Kenny’s sober second thought won’t matter

Tease the day: Mike Duffy’s expense scandal overshadows everything else in the Senate


Senator Mike Duffy. (Devaan Ingraham/CP)

Colin Kenny is a vocal senator, and he writes a lot. Kenny has spent nearly 29 years in the Red Chamber, including a long stretch as chair of its national security and defence committee. No one produced more reports than that committee with Kenny at its helm. For parts of nine years, the committee commented on defending coastlines, bolstering airport security, improving land border crossings, taking a “hard look” at the war in Afghanistan, assessing emergency preparedness across Canada, and much more.

Kenny eventually stepped down as chair (and Pamela Wallin—formerly Conservative, now Independent—took over, and herself stepped down a few months back). But he hasn’t stopped commenting on things. Today, in the National Post, Kenny writes that the Conservative government is foolish to buy Arctic patrol ships, and should instead look to fix up its ageing fleet of destroyers, frigates and submarines. Kenny resisted the urge to resort to ad hominem attacks on government; instead, he kept to policy.

If ever there were an example of the kind of sober second thought the Senate’s meant to apply to the governing of the country, that’s it. Kenny’s intervention on fixing up the navy won’t make much of a fuss in Ottawa this week, though. Not when there’s a crisis of confidence to be debated. Not when the legitimacy of the whole institution is up in the air. Whatever its value, Kenny’s opinion is just background noise as the elected folks in the House of Commons trade barbs about just how much work needs to be done down the hall.

Not a fun time to be a Senator. Not an easy time to talk about policy.


What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with harsher rules for Senate expense claims, expected to be approved this week. The National Post fronts rockets fired into southern Beirut suburbs, a potential spillover from Syrian hostilities. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Toronti Mayor Rob Ford’s contention that no video exists that features him smoking crack cocaine. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the Senate’s new expense claim rules, as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s return to the House of Commons this week. iPolitics fronts the federal government’s removal of in situ oilsands development from its list of projects requiring environmental assessments. CBC.ca leads with a renewed focus in the House on the Senate expenses scandal. National Newswatch showcases The Globe and Mail‘s report that police spoke with a senior Ford staffer about an apparent connection between a video where Ford allegedly smokes crack cocaine and a recent Toronto homicide.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Hospital waste. Knee surgeries in Canada may have produced more than 400,000 kilograms of waste in 2008-09, according to researchers who argue hospitals produce too much waste. 2. Social security. At least half of a new tribunal that hears appeals of EI, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security claims comprises Conservative patronage, including failed candidates.
3. Maple bills. The Bank of Canada has responded to dozens of inquiries from Canadians who claim that the new $100 bill carries an odour of maple syrup—a myth, according to bank officials. 4. Housing. Two levels of government are hoping to quash a Charter challenge that argues housing is a fundamental right. Ontario and the feds both say social housing is, instead, a political matter.

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Why Colin Kenny’s sober second thought won’t matter

  1. There are thousands of Canadians who offer informed opinions every day! One does not have to sit in an unelected senate for writing informed decisions. .

    How long ago was it that Bert Brown wrote his informed opinion into his farmer’s field? Twenty years ago? How soon informed opinions are forgotten about unless those informed decisions are made by elected officials!

    Here’s an informed opinion:

    Justin Trudeau knows that the 1867 implemented senate system is broken and that’s why he likes to keep it that way.

    Stephen Harper knows that the 1867 implemented senate system is broken and that’s why he wants to change it.

    Now, tell us who is the modern Canadian!

    • “Stephen Harper knows that the 1867 implemented senate system is broken and that’s why he wants to change it.”

      He SAYS he wants to change it, but what he has DONE? From his first week in office when he appointed Michael Fortier to the Senate, all he has done is appoint failed candidates, fund raisers and the operatives who designed the party’s election financing irregularities. He could have made good appointments but instead he chose to intensify the corruption. The modern Canadian is apparently the biggest hypocrite in the history of Canadian politics (and that says a lot)!

      • And when Harper wanted to change the term of senators to 8 years, why was that defeated by the NDP and Liberals? Because Ignatieff wanted 10 year terms and therefore he voted the CPC initiative down?

        Justin knows that the outdated senate system benefits Quebec and that’s why he won’t change it because Justin is beholden to Quebec to get votes. But you must be ok with that. We will find out how others Canadians think about that one, if the news about Justin ever gets out.

        Have you read here on the Macleans blog about Justin’s comment about the senate?

        • No, I don’t obsessively follow every word of Justin Trudeau. I might have to track his comments or take him seriously if he was prime minister and running an operation rife with corruption and cover-up.

          Meanwhile, back at reality perhaps your modern man can man up and tell us:

          1. What was the deal between his office and Mike Duffy?
          2. Was there a similar arrangement with Pamela Wallin? (If not, why did he defend her use of Senate funds?)
          3. What has the Prime Minister told his Senators about campaigning for the party and their expenses?
          4. As the person in charge of the Conservative Party of Canada, when is he going to investigate and turn over the identities of the person or persons in the CPC who planned and executed the fraudulent use of robo-calls during the last election?

    • Partisan received wisdom is not necessarily “informed”, m’boy.

      • So, Justin’s partisan comments about the senate are not very wise!

        Hey, we agree on something! That’s a first!

        • no.

        • I hear Justin is personally coming after Albertans of Dutch ancestry. Your vigilance is warranted!

          • And will he go after Ms.May as well. Ms.May wasn’t born in Canada. Ms.May lives in BC. That other part of the west Justin wants to have less senators for than Quebec.

            But Quebeckers are the best Canadians ever! Go Justin go!

          • As a native-born Quebecois, I thank you. But Albertans are awesome too!

    • “Stephen Harper knows that the 1867 implemented senate system is broken and that’s why he wants to change it.”

      Yes, that’s why he introduced legislation to do it and worked tirelessly, almost obsessively, using every procedure in the book to push it through as fast as possible, so that the legislation would pass . . . wait . . what? he didn’t do that? oh. nevermind.

  2. 11 am eastern time and Aaron Wherry has yet to write an article about Justin Trudeau’s comments made about the senate and how the outdated senate is fine because it benefits Quebec!

    Here I was thinking now Wherry has something for Justin’s campaign slogan:

    “The west is out!” and Wherry doesn’t take full advantage of it for Justin’s sake.

    Something is not going as usual at Macleans this morning! LOL

  3. This might be a good time to offer my apologies to the Liberal Party and their supporters in the media.

    I called them hypocrites a couple weeks back because I thought they were calling for a reformed Senate while doing nothing to cooperate with first the opposition Reform Party in 1993 and then the minority Conservative Party that needed cooperation from Liberal Senators and Provincial governments to fix the broken institution.

    Now it appears their new leader has said that Liberals and specifically Quebec liberals have never had any intention of trying to fix an unequal and unelected and ineffective Senate.

    Apparently Liberals are quite happy to keep the Senate the way it is. I suspect that this is something the Canadian public should be made aware off.

    I was wrong to call them hypocrites. They have been true to their word. They enjoy having a corrupt Senate for their old bagmen and they intend ti fight to keep it that way.

    • When you called the Liberals hypocrites four fingers were pointing back at you.

      • Actually, it’s when you POINTED then THREE fingers were pointing back at you. The thumb is not a finger and it usually sticks up while pointing. Liberals never are good at details or facts!

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