Friday, July 09, 2010

Senate standing

Prime Minister Harper just appointed former Conservative candidate Salma Ataullahjan to the upper chamber.  She has committed to senate reform as has been done with the other senate appointments.

This appointment makes the current standings in the senate as follows:

52 Conservatives
49 Liberals
4 Independents

And this is when the senate is about to vote on the recent budget passed in the house. But in the senate five Liberal senators and a PC (not Conservative) are wanting to pull out some provisions of the bill and send it back to the house.  The Conservatives are threatening a fall election over this.

A couple provisions are to end Canada Post's monopoly on international mail and to sell off Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL).

Note that the Liberals in the House let the budget bill slide through by having just enough members not show up and now they're using their unelected senators to stall it and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff isn't doing anything about it.

The point here isn't whether you agree or disagree with the budget provisions, it's whether you think unelected legislators should be allowed to change bills that elected ones have already approved.

If the senate were elected and equal and wanted to make changes, then this is an acceptable democratic practice.


Jeff said...

The diplomatic side of me wants to give these 5 Liberals and 1 PC the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps this is a principled stand. Perhaps there's something in this budget bill that shouldn't see the light of day.

Sadly this loathe-worthy Liberal Party has done nothing to deserve any benefit of the doubt. May their tribe decrease, wither, and go away for a long, long time.

Mike B. said...

Jeff, I hear ya. I don't necessarily disagree with the stance of the 6 senators on policy, but I do disagree with their unelected position, especially being that most of them have no desire to change anything in that chamber.