NDP not cashing in on Senate outrage - Macleans.ca

NDP not cashing in on Senate outrage

Tease the day: The Official Opposition isn’t front and centre during the Senate’s darkest hours


Fred Chartrand/CP

The NDP is no fan of the Senate, that much is not news. The Senate’s having a particularly bad few days. You might expect the Official Opposition’s approach to Senate reform—namely, abolition—to gain steam. As it happens, abolition has wedged its way into the national conversation on Senate reform. Just this morning, Postmedia‘s Andrew Coyne muses about abolition as a useful starting point for a renewed Red Chamber. This week’s Senate madness  is a mixed bag of allegedly inappropriate expenses, allegedly unaccountable Senators, and allegedly inappropriate Senate appointments. Given its historical, and current, disdain for the Senate, you’d expect the NDP to be front and centre this week.

To be sure, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and his team are thrashing and yelling during Question Period, as is normal. They don’t pull any punches during scrums following QP, as is normal. But they’re not holding gimmicky press conferences or otherwise trying to grab Canadians’ attention on the file, and the result is a bunch of morning papers bereft of NDP voices. Perhaps the party is just not saying the things that reporters want to hear, or perhaps its MPs are laying low after a tough week of debate over their decidedly controversial proposals for Quebec sovereignty referendums. Perhaps they’re letting the scandals down the hall speak for themselves. Either way, the Official Opposition is not front and centre. When Senate reform is the story of the week, that’s surprising.

UPDATE: A couple of folks remind me that the NDP has, in fact, whipped up a side project called, appropriately, the Senate Hall of Shame. Worth noting its existence and some resulting media coverage.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Canada’s refusal to provide European countries with special treatment on foreign takeovers. The National Post fronts Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apparent desire to move into election mode, starting this summer. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Harper’s support of Pamela Wallin’s travel expenses. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Liberal leadership contender Justin Trudeau’s considerable personal inheritance. iPolitics fronts valentines from Parliament Hill. CBC.ca leads with the murder charge levelled against South African Paralympic phenom Oscar Pistorius. National Newswatch showcases The Globe and Mail‘s story about Wallin’s expenses.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Goose Bay. The federal government is hoping to secure a $1.8-billion maintenance contract for Labrador’s military base, even though its future military role is unclear. 2. Shale gas. New Brunswick’s moving to evaluate the potential of controversial shale-gas development in the province, a move supported by Environment Minister Peter Kent and former premier Frank McKenna.
3. Arctic science. An American researcher is refusing to sign new confidentiality provisions imposed by the feds related to a Canada-U.S. Arctic research project. She claims they harm academic freedom. 4. Delisle. Jeffrey Delisle, the former soldier and confessed spy who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for various espionage-related crimes, has been stripped of his military rank.

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