10.24.2013 03:54 PM

The chamber for self-interested second thought

The reason why so many Senators – including Conservative ones – are now speaking out against suspending Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau without pay?

Because there’s a big Senate-wide audit out there – by the AG, no less – that’ll catch some of them, that’s why.

And they don’t want to set a no-pay precedent.


  1. Chris says:

    Ugh, and now my local turd of an MP Greg Rickford is being quoted as saying he “hopes the liberals handle the situation appropriately”.

    I’m not sure if he thinks we are stupid or just ignorant. I can’t wait to fire this guy.

  2. smelter rat says:

    Rickford may be the stupidest Con ever.

  3. Tiger says:

    Wallin’s speech was about that, if you look closely at what she said — she basically said that the auditors will come after you, too, to her colleagues.

  4. Chris says:

    Most corrupt government ever

  5. sean says:

    Who is really at fault for this massive circus which has hijacked the agenda of the nation? Ahem. Sir John A MacDonald… and he is laughing his ass off in heaven.

  6. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    The Auditor General should set his own parameters. What will be covered? How about 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013? Notice how I’m not holding my breath. This is Ottawa we’re talking about…

  7. Robin says:

    Although I agree with Senators Segal, Plett and the other Senators’ positions regarding due process and fairness, it seems somewhat disingenuous for them to argue now for due process and fairness since they voted for mandatory minimum sentences. Due process isn’t only about process it’s also about a fair outcome.

    Due process and fairness demand discretion by an impartial arbiter who is empowered to issue a fair sentence once ALL the facts are presented according to rules of evidence and the character and remorse of the accused are taken into consideration in the context of what is ultimately in the public interest and is appropriate for the accused given the nature of the crime.

    The Conservative Senators at the centre of this controversy and those that are defending their right to due process did not have these concerns when they voted to deny thousands of Canadians the same right to due process by voting for mandatory minimum sentences.

    This is something for Senators Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau to reflect on now that a quasi-judicial proceeding is taking place in the Senate which is arbitrarily making judgements and imposing sanctions against them in the absence of due process, a fair hearing of all the facts and evidence, their remorse and acts of restitution.

    I don’t have sympathy for them but I don’t like the arbitrary and vengeful disregard for the rule of law, the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    • smelter rat says:

      “I don’t have sympathy for them but I don’t like the arbitrary and vengeful disregard for the rule of law, the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms” – Excellent rebuke of the Harper time in power.

  8. JH says:

    WK – just read Terence Corcoran’s piece in the Financial Post. He takes a tact I think you’ll agree with after your recent comments on Sun TV. The press is completely embarassing itself. Now they chose to make victims out of Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau? How do they expect to retain any credibility with Canadians I wonder. I mean they have been like a pack of hunting dogs running prey to the ground for months now and suddenly this? Amazing.
    So to is the NDP’s change in position being reported. Now apparently they plan to build Duffy up as a statesman worthy of trust and belief. And they think Mr. and Mrs. average will believe them?

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      Just read that, too. Reminds of a Conservative MP whose career went up in flames prior to the last election. Essentially the entire MSM wanted her head served up on a platter…right up until the moment PM Harper handed it to them, at which point they immediately did a thoroughly shameless 180 and began portraying the PM as some sort of heartless bastard for actually doing it. Naturally, followed hot on their heels by the opposition parties.

      IMHO, this whole affair is about most trumped up garbage I’ve yet to witness. It is, more than anything else, a predominantly Liberal press gallery (almost all of whom esteem themselves as somehow God’s gift to the body politic in this country, and whom pretty much think their own unowhat don’t stink) going for blood on two of their own for having the audacity to accept roles as Conservative senators. In good part evidenced by the fact that the Liberal senator up to his butt in more serious trouble barely gets his name mentioned anywhere. The MSM thus far (and as per usual) is exhibiting all the class. discretion and civility of a pack of hyenas on a three day old carcass!

      And the very same clowns will barf up columns pontificating ad nauseum as to why turn out at the polls is so low, and their pitiful opinions on the matter of an increasing disinterested electorate. Pitiful in that nary a one of them has the GD guts to start by taking a look in their own mirrors!!!

  9. I can’t help but think this whole mess is designed to get people so sick of the Senate they’ll either want it reformed or done away with entirely. Hell of a thing to run on in the 2015 election.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      Exactly. And the elimination of that chamber of checks and balances will give a majority governmnet absolute power.

      • Robin says:

        Germany in the 1930s watched complacently as incremental and unrelenting dismantling of their democratic institutions and checks and balances occurred. When people finally became concerned it was too late. The rest is history.

        An appointed Senate, the Office of the Governor General and the Queen are the only independent checks to absolute power in the Canadian system. A majority of Members of Parliament can defeat a government and remove a Prime Minister in the subsequent election, however, as we have witnessed, a wily Prime Minister can prorogue Parliament to prevent a majority of MPs from voting (Thank you to Governor General Michael Jean). A majority government caucus can remain loyal to a very unpopular Prime Minister, note Mulroney in the early 1990s and Harper now. The leader of the party, Stephen Harper for the Conservatives, must sign the nomination papers in order for candidates to be official Conservative candidates, this keeps them in line. One rare exception is former criminal trial lawyer Brent Rathgeber from Saint Albert, Alberta (adjacent to Edmonton’s northern boundary).

        Ironically, Canadians will now see why an appointed Senate is essential for it to be a reliable check and balance against an elected House of Commons and a Prime Minister who have no regard for the rule of law, due process, Parliamentary traditions or Parliament itself. The Senators can vote their conscience since they do not rely on the Prime Minister to remain in Parliament. This is why an appointed Senate is an asset as a check and balance in our system.

        The National Press Gallery is also an essential check and balance. Whenever it does its job effectively, it is attacked as “liberal media” because they are usually protecting and upholding the rights and freedoms of Canadians against the abuse of power by government and politicians. Anyone who thinks the Canadian media is liberal must live under a rock or in a cave and read the Sun most of the time; then, when they read actual journalism, they are shocked and dismiss it as “liberal”. Writing in complete sentences with investigative research supporting ones assertions must be “liberal”.

        Harper knows, the longer he is Prime Minister, the more he can do to attain absolute power. It is time to stop him. The Senate is our only hope now.

  10. Eric says:

    Here’s the thing that gets me – I don’t get due process from my employer if they choose to fire me for cause. I am summarily dismissed. If I disagree with their decision, I take them to court for wrongful dismissal and I get due process from the system of the courts.

    • You can be fired for cause. That is the due process. Your employer is obligated to show cause, or face sanctions for unjust dismissal. But Senators are not in Ottawa cleaning the windows, or digging a ditch. They are legislators. In this case, cause has not been established. The process has been laughable, and believe me, I have been laughing! The Conservatives twisting every rule in the book to screw their own.

  11. I bet there are a few Senators who are fearful, whether their expenses are 100% clean or otherwise. I have occasionally wondered just how the heck does the Government whip a senate vote? There is minimal leverage, which is the original intent of appointing Senators. In this instance, what I see is the Government of the day trying to establish control over the Senate. It will be no big trick to whip a Senate vote in the future should the Senate knuckle under and kick these three prize pigs to the curb. There will be a credible threat to those who refuse to toe the partisan line. It will only take two words whispered into the ear of a ralcitrant Senator: “Remember Wallin?”
    So if you ask me, there are some smarter (or more conscientious) Senators of whatever political stripe who recognise that this vote is intended to destroy the Senates independance, and believe their Institution plays an important role that requires independance. There are others who are terrified of losing their entitlements due to their own shall we call them ethical lapses who will echo the principled arguments. Then there will be some partisans who will be happy to concentrate yet more power in the current PMO’s hands. It is not lawful to offer inducements or sanctions to an MP or Senator in exchange for his or her vote. I am willing to bet folding money that all the stops are out at this moment, and inducements and sanctions are a thick as flies on shit around the Senate right now. I guess so because how else do you whip a Senate vote, and the Harper NEEDS this vote to go his way NOW.

    • Tiger says:

      The government can’t whip a Senate vote.

      If senators decide to go against the PM’s wishes, he has no recourse — except to have them thrown out of the Tory caucus (if caucus is amenable). Other than that, that’s that.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:


        In that eventuality, it becomes an accurate barometer of how Harper’s leadership is faring both in caucus and within the party. Not exactly comforting from a CPC perspective.

        • By the same argument the Government cannot whip a HOC vote either. But they can and do because they have the power to withhold signature on nomination papers. If the Government acquires the power to dismiss Senators, then they have the ability to control their Senate caucus (actually, the whole senate falls under their control). Right now, they can influence, they can twist arms big-time. They can cut individuals from caucus, they can limit the political power and influence of ‘mavericks’ but they cannot compell because they do not have any overwhelmingly effective sanctions in their hands. Let Senate caucus ONCE boot a sitting Senator from his or her seat as is currently mooted, then the threat changes from a far-fetched theoretical possibility to a proven means of control. In short, the Governments Senate whip must rely on persuasion and influence today. By the end of next week, every sitting Senator will know what happens when you fail to vote the Party line in the senate, and the institution will be effectively dead.

  12. Scotian says:

    This comment by Bluegreenblogger raises a very important issue IMHO regarding Senate independence being under serious attack by the government of the day in direct contravention of what the reality is supposed to be. We are seeing a PM forcing his majority side leader of the Senate to impose what is clearly an inherently unfair and arguably illegal (on several levels from the Constitutional to the statutory regarding blocking Senators pay) removal (but not firing just removal for 2 years without pay) of political problems for him, one of whom is directly tied to a scandal that has his Chief of Staff at the time and therefore Harper himself directly implicated in a bribery/influence peddling action, which makes the PM’s efforts to gag and remove the ability of that Senator to fight back have the appearance of a criminal act to protect the damages crated by a criminal conspiracy that certainly is involving the PMO and the PM himself since he appointed his Chief of Staff (and the fact that he accepted his resignation after 4 days of supporting him AFTER the PM publicly acknowledged awareness of the fact that his CoS made what by law is an entirely illegal action regardless of supposed motives gives the appearance of agreement with the action in deed despite what he actually says about it, hardly the first time any politician or PM has said one thing publicly while feeling the opposite privately) and never fired him for this action.

    It is serious enough that we have the at the absolute minimum the appearance of a criminal conspiracy acting to protect itself starting with the PM of this nation in the actions involving this Senate motion, and the closure invocation only adds to that. However, in some ways the undermining of the role of the Senate to act as an independent body, the sober second thought aspect of the government of the day body is also at stake here, and as important as the due process argument is for the three Senators involved I would argue that this aspect may be even more important. Say what you want about the Senate as so many do, but it does have a specific role in our system of government, and the actions being currently taken clearly undermine that role at a fundamental level, and one cannot help but wonder if that is an additional benefit being sought by this approach being taken by the PM. The whole point about Senators being unelected and essentially life appointments is so that they CANNOT be pressured by the government of the day into being their lackeys, whether it is of their party or not, and what we are seeing in this current actions does more to undermine this basic element of the Senate’s role in government than anything I have ever seen. I’m one of the minority out there that thinks this is actually an important check in our current system as it exists and to undermine it like this appals me greatly. If the Senators support this vote they are whether they realize it or not essentially giving the PMO/government power of them that they are not supposed to have, and that they have betrayed fundamentally their role as Senators and their sworn oaths as set out in the Constitution. This has nothing to do with the subjects of the action, it is the action itself that is the betrayal.

    This government in this action is showing yet again its complete contempt for basic process issues and consideration whenever they get in the way, which is what makes this government so dangerous to Canadians and the health of our democracy (as unhealthy as it may already be, what this does can be likened to intentionally weakening the immune system). Whatever you may think about the Senators involved in this action they are entitled to the precepts of due process (and there really is a fundamental difference between people with the powers and responsibilities of legislators and those in the private sectors so trying to say there is no difference in how they should be treated may sound good but in reality demonstrates a serious lack of that understanding, and no it isn’t that I’m saying they are better people, just that their situations are not so easily compared let alone equated as so many people have been doing), and the method that the PM is using to defeat this has the additional aspect of fundamentally undercutting the fundamental powers of the Senate as laid out in the Constitution. The combinations shows just how complete the Harper governments contempt for following the rule of law in anything when it gets in its way of what it wants truly is, and that is a threat to all Canadians, NO government can be seen to lat alone actually act that way and not be a threat to all, because if they don’t follow the laws they are entrusted with creating and observing then they lose their meaning and then what do you have? Not a society of the rule of law and justice, that is for sure.

    • deb s says:

      Scotian, you are seriously one of the most thoughtful political commentators I have ever read. Thank you for taking the time to share, I feel like I gain 10IQ pts every time I read one of your messages.

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