“Warren Kinsella's book, ‘Fight the Right: A Manual for Surviving the Coming Conservative Apocalypse,’ is of vital importance for American conservatives and other right-leaning individuals to read, learn and understand.”

- The Washington Times

“One of the best books of the year.”

- The Hill Times

“Justin Trudeau’s speech followed Mr. Kinsella’s playbook on beating conservatives chapter and verse...[He followed] the central theme of the Kinsella narrative: “Take back values. That’s what progressives need to do.”

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“[Kinsella] is a master when it comes to spinning and political planning...”

- George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC TV

“Kinsella pulls no punches in Fight The Right...Fight the Right accomplishes what it sets out to do – provide readers with a glimpse into the kinds of strategies that have made Conservatives successful and lay out a credible roadmap for progressive forces to regain power.”

- Elizabeth Thompson, iPolitics

“[Kinsella] deserves credit for writing this book, period... he is absolutely on the money...[Fight The Right] is well worth picking up.”

- Huffington Post

“Run, don't walk, to get this amazing book.”

- Mike Duncan, Classical 96 radio

“Fight the Right is very interesting and - for conservatives - very provocative.”

- Former Ontario Conservative leader John Tory

“His new book is great! All of his books are great!”

- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD

“I absolutely recommend this book.”

- Paul Wells, Maclean’s

“Kinsella puts the Left on the right track with new book!”

- Calgary Herald


Trudeau Senate gambit: lotsa fun when you’re in Opposition, not so much when you’re governing (with bonus free cynical update)

As Ms. Kirbie just reminded me, Trudeau’s plan is terrific and bold and whatnot when he’s in Opposition, and the Liberals represent a minority in the Senate.

But when he’s Prime Minister – as I believe he will be, one day – he’d better get ready for the sort of gridlock and legislative intransigence Obama was decrying in last night’s SOTU.  There will be no more Liberal Senators to whip: they’ll be independents, and I guarantee you they will be working hard to live up to their name.

Flashy, short term gain for chronic long term pain.  Increasingly, that seems to me (and others) to be how the Trudeau folks do policy.

FREE CYNICAL UPDATE: As a couple smart readers/friends just told me: “Man, that AG audit of Senate expenses must be brutal.

 

 



125 Responses to “Trudeau Senate gambit: lotsa fun when you’re in Opposition, not so much when you’re governing (with bonus free cynical update)”

  1. Nothing stopping those now independents from switching teams. Part of me wonders how much dirt is in the audit of senator’s expenses and whether or not that was part of the motivation. Anyway, interesting times ahead.

    • Kevin T. says:

      I think the AG report might be the equivalent of a zombie bite on the arm, a swift amputation is definitely required to avoid complete infection.

      • Ottawa Civil Servant says:

        But doesn’t the LPC constitution have something to say about this? Can a party boss decide who is in his caucus on his own, without showing just cause?

        And, of course, what about the press simply refusing to forget that Senator ‘X’ was appointed by John Turner…..? A rose by any other name?

    • Robin says:

      The Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson once said: “I despise making appointments to the Senate because you make dozens of enemies and end up with one ingrate!” Maybe Senators have always been somewhat independent after their appointment.

    • Robin says:

      Canada West Foundation based in Calgary lauds Trudeau for his action which they say is “at least doable and an improvement. It is hard to see it making the situation worse.” They went on to criticize, yes, that’s right, Harper’s fixation on a Single E (elected) Senate that “legitimises an institution that is deeply undemocratic in its representation…and will not help the West be heard in Ottawa. In fact, it will diminish its voice.”

      Harper is not a leader. He’s in over his head.

      Read more here:

      http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/01/31/western-think-tank-praises-trudeaus-senate-reform-plan-disses-harper/#.UuutRhBdXE2

  2. Doug Bies says:

    Interesting. Is there an end game to this move?

    • Matt says:

      I assume like others have stated, the AG report into Senate expenses will be damning with lots of Conservative and Liberal senators caught up in it.

      Maybe they are thinking that by dumping them now the party will somehow be insulated from criticism. But the fact will remain – IF the report nails them, they would have done it while sitting as Liberals.

      • Kaspar Juul says:

        Oh and doing noting Tory style is a better move?

        Or maybe just buying off your expenses. All good it was my money

      • Matt says:

        Speaking of dim bulbs…….

        An interm report on the first audits is due out in DAYS.

        • heather says:

          Senate Board of Internal Economy confirmed this morning that it’s months away. Auditors are still figuring out how it’ll work; they aren’t examining anything yet. Senator Cowan confirmed to media yesterday that he’s in the “first batch” of those being audited and if he’s been audited already, it’s been done without talking to him.

    • Ottawa Civil Servant says:

      ROOT CAUSES!!! He did it again. JT has announced the “root cause” of the expenses fraud as being “partisanship and patronage”!!
      “…Trudeau says extreme patronage and partisanship are at the root of the Senate expenses scandal, which has engulfed the red chamber for more than a year.”

      What? How does he do that? How does he connect completely different subjects and claim that one is the “root cause” of the other? By that measure, Layton, Baird and Eugene Whelan would be some of the most currupt politicians in Canadian history. Except they were (are) not.

      It does nothing about fraud and abuse of Crown resources and is 100% about distancing the LPC from the abuses.

      If he had real cahones, he would have said “enough, shut it down. I agree with the CPC and NDP and want it gone.” But that would screw Québec, so it is an impossibility.

  3. Arnold Murphy says:

    I agree again in premise Warren, but not in whole. I agree that J.T. will be P.M. one day, but also that legislation being put forward will be straight forward and succinct as it should be. This will allow Senators to face the direct influence of the public, who they again will have no fear of but should develop if they do not already have a distinct legitimate virtue of fidelity to the nation. If a leader is wise he will not turn the Senate into a larger supreme court if you will, with biases based upon historical political leanings worthy of appointment. Instead, I would like to see gentlemen and ladies worthy of the post, first worthy of being called Canadian second worthy of being called independent. I believe that decisions have outcomes, they are the result of planning which is the result of goal setting, if the goal is good for Canadians it should be something that senators support, in theory. So the game is changed, this is a game changer, because open partisanship in the senate will now resemble its U.S. cousin if something is not done to limit lobbying of senators. I suggest that lobbying be limited to government officials, re-defining the roles of MPs and Senators in relation to each other and deferring to the historical intent equivalent to the House of Lords in Britain where only govt. people have contact in a lobbying scenario and if we are to evolve we should look to recent scandals in both cousins houses. So all that being said, game changer, and a chess move worthy of a Classical Liberal, this is a move that Harper cannot and will not follow but will kick and scream to avoid but a move that is allowable now rather than as a result of constitutional chaos. So the only change that Justin has made really is to return to the original intent and operational procedures of the Senate, when originally conceived as Parliament put party after the people. Consider at one time an elected MP would travel to Ottawa and determine upon arrival and consideration which party to align with, and often it was based on a case by case basis. It will be messy, but as we are finding fuzzy logic yields new questions as well as new answers.

    • MaryLS says:

      ” if the goal is good for Canadians it should be something that senators support” But there is no agreement on what is good for Canadians. There are only different viewpoints and constellations of interests — often as defined by the parties. Is “gay marriage” good for the country? I think this initiative results in more confusion and less accountability. It is nice to think that there is a group of wise masters out there who only have our interests in mind, but reality does not work that way. You could of course simply turn the Senate into an advisory think-tank, but that would require changes in how the Senate operates. Without the accountability that parties (ultimately beholden to the electorate) bring to the table, the Senate should have no role in the formulation and passing of legislation.

      • Hmm, right now there are a bevy of public servants vetting and drafting legislation at the behest of their political masters. The results are plenty of seriously flawed new laws. So long as the Senate limits itself to an editing role, then they could actually help with issues like laws being drafted and passed that have less than a 5% chance of surviving a Charter challenge. But to have unelected Senators actually proposing new legislation would be out of the question. Lets face it, we already appoint Judges, with the expectation that they will impartially apply the law. Why can we not circumscribe the Senates powers but trust them to improve bills? So long as the House of Commons can over-ride the Senate, say at a third reading, then why not?

  4. dave says:

    Sometimes people get caught doing something, and one of the ways of wriggling away is to pretend the act was an anomaly. The idea is to make people think it does not happen often.

    But the Gerstein thing about trying to interfere with the audit in the senate makes me wonder if it was done, because it happens lots of times.

    So, I look at the audit of senate expenses, and what will come out of it, with caution.

  5. WDM says:

    So, Trudeau wins the 2015 election. Who introduces the Speech from the Throne legislation in the Senate? Oh, and committees could be inhabited entirely by Conservatives unless a Senate caucus organizes itself.

    • Robin says:

      The Northwest Territories legislature operates in a non-partisan fashion without political parties, so it’s feasible, if Harper releases the Conservative Senators. I am sure the Senators can figure it out and adjust to a more collegiate approach to committee work rather than maintaining arbitrary and superficial partisan political differences. They might actually apply themselves based on merit rather than party discipline. What a concept?!

      The independent appointments process would be similar to the appointment of Members of the Order of Canada where the Governor General make the final decision from a list of recommended candidates, therefore, the Prime Minister still makes the final decision to appoint Senators however it will be from a recommended list of candidates vetted and screened based on established criteria.

      Through this process, accomplished, respected, distinguished and reputable citizens will be appointed taking into account that the Senate should reflect the demographics and geography of Canada. By this measure half the Senators would be female, four or possibly more would be Aboriginal, twenty-five or more would be Francophone, etc.

  6. MississaugaPeter says:

    Senators are over 45.

    Trudeau brain trust doesn’t need anyone over 45 (was 40 before but many have reached that plateau now).

    Less fossils, more hipsters.

  7. james curran says:

    You, my friend, can be cynical all you like. He just became Prime Minister.

    However, I’m certain the long knives of some of those senators will surface at the convention in Montreal. Fun times.

  8. Malcolm Barry says:

    Mr. Trudeau answered all questions from the media after stating Policy on Senate reform. Polievre had a difficult time answering questions and left quite abruptly.

  9. Ridiculosity says:

    A brilliant strategic move that will garner support from coast to coast to coast.

  10. Should have mentioned … I honestly can’t see how the 2015 election won’t include a referendum on abolishing the Senate.

  11. Iris Mclean says:

    Maybe Harper will follow suit?
    Viola!… Instant Senate reform!
    No, eh?

  12. Matt says:

    Lots of very loyal Liberals, Liberal operatives and fundraisers just got booted.

    Might come back to bite the golden boy in the ass.

  13. Tiger says:

    Well, at least Ottawa isn’t dull today!

  14. KenzoS says:

    a life-long, and card carrying Lib here, and I have to admit I don’t even see the short term gain in this. If it comes in conjunction with a damning expense audit and criminal charges against Mac Harb, people are just going to see through it as a quick and easy ploy. I doubt it will add support to our cause. And it sounds like it has been misplayed- loyal Lib Senators not informed. Many of these people have worked very hard in these dark years of opposition, now to be tossed aside. Warren, you’ve waxed eloquent over the years about political loyalty. They are not all sleazeballs by a long shot, some very decent people in there. It’s not been easy times to wear the brand and fly the flag.

    I may be dead wrong, but I think this is short sighted, over-reaching (or over reacting,) and gratuitous. And I really don’t see even the short term gain.

  15. david ray says:

    today veterans in Ottawa said they were bushwhacked by Julian Fantino. Has there ever been a better word used to describe the Harper Government. sneaky, underhanded, secretive, two faced etc etc

  16. !o! says:

    I think it is mostly smart.

    It could backfire, depending on how much of the audit is public. If a lot is, and it gets a lot of coverage, it’s good, it will implicate Conservative and Liberal senators at least equally at worst (though there are more conservative senators being investigated) so the fact that Trudeau booted them from caucus when Harper kept them in his fold makes for good narrative. If a lot of it is NOT public, and does not get discussed in the media, then it could be bad, the CPC spin machine can capitalize on what people DONT know, and ask the question what he’s hiding over and over.

    I think the former is more likely, so it’s probably good for headlines. As has been pointed out, the report probably IS brutal.

  17. Joel Parkes says:

    The clarity of this move is what I find most appealing. It’s very nice to see a party leader make such a decision.

    • Lance says:

      Really? Under the LPC’s constitution, senators are considered members of the national caucus and enjoy a number of special privileges, including being automatically entitled to attend Liberal conventions and having an equal say with elected MPs in choosing interim leaders. These were loyal people that ran national election campaigns, overseen various Liberal party headquarters, served previous prime ministers, given up holidays, weekends, and YEARS, the whole nine yards. Then……………BOOOOM!!!!

      Now that’s all gone. Some of these senators apparently had no idea what was happening up until it actually happened.

      What a piss poor way to treat your own people. Wow.

      • Lance says:

        My apologies for forgetting forgot to source some things I mentioned in that post

        “Under the LPC’s constitution, senators are considered members of the national caucus and enjoy a number of special privileges, including being automatically entitled to attend Liberal conventions and having an equal say with elected MPs in choosing interim leaders.”

        And

        “…..run national election campaigns, overseen Liberal party headquarters, served previous prime ministers…..”

        Credit to – http://www.newstalk650.com/content/trudeau-boots-senators-liberal-caucus

    • Matt says:

      What clarity?

      What happens to those Senators staff? What happens to their budgets? How is this possible AND constitutional now, when Trudeau said it was impossible and unconstitutional back when the NDP proposed it it October? Lots of questions unanswered

  18. Kelly says:

    I like it. All politics is short-term politics, now. Harper trip to Israel? There was one? Who cares…? the words Harper and Senate and scandal are back in the news. Along with Trudeau, reform, non-partisan.

    I dare the leftovers in the Senate to stonewall any future government until they get there through an honest process. Trudeau just cut off the senate’s balls.

  19. William says:

    Pretty clear on its face that it’s a tactical move but it will resonate with us common folk.

    If he’s ever PM and needs them to fall in line, you speak to the voters about how important it is for non elected senators to do what’s best for the country.

    But he has Harper behind an 8 ball here exactly when Harper thinks he’s done with talk of the Senate.

    Score one for Trudeau on this.

    • Kelly says:

      Exactly. The public has had it with parties. They vote for leaders now. They don’t seem to like Harper and Mulcair that much anymore. I think they like Trudeau even more, now.

  20. David Harvey says:

    How can Trudeau unilaterally do this? Caucus is defined in the LPC constitution:

    ““Caucus” means those members of the Party who are members of the House of Commons or the Senate of Canada.”

    Doesn’t this require an amendment? Has anybody from Trudeau’s camp explained how they think they get around this? Or didn’t they bother to think about it?

  21. Matt says:

    The, I guess “former” Liberal Senate leader has confirmed to CBC they will be calling themselves the LIBERAL SENATE CAUCUS and the party whip will still be in place.

    So, how exactly are they now independents?

    And how does this equal Senate reform when the senators will still be appointed? Trudeau can claim his appointees will be “non partisan” but someone gives you a cushy job for life, they are going to expect you to play ball with them.

  22. Paul Brennan says:

    wow ..very disloyal to his own troops ..this will be good for Mulcair ….

    maybe they are all looking poor in the report .. me thinks the upper chamber may be full of issues beyond what we have seen … and for years and years .. right now it looks bad on every senator …there seemed to be some very conscientious and dedicated people in there ..

  23. Al in Cranbrook says:

    If I’m Harper…

    I congratulate him for breaking a gridlock, and match him.

    An independent senate truly becomes a chamber of second sober thought.

    • smelter rat says:

      Stop the presses!!! Al and I agree on something!

    • Matt says:

      Except the Conservatives did what they said they were going to do on the gun file. End the long gun registry.

      The Conservative Party of Canada has never had any other gun control policies. The Reform Party and the Alliance had policy to rewrite C-68 aka the Firearms Act, and even Harper himself as a member of those parties supported that. But it has never been Conservative Party of Canada policy.

  24. james Smith says:

    The senate as an issue is nothing the present PM wants. On the “short term front” it keeps the Senate as a ligit issue until the AG report or the RCMP starts the perp walk.

  25. Lance says:

    Talking to some people today who said that they like the idea of a fully independent senate divorced from political parties in it’s entirety. I have to admit that the idea has some appeal.

    The issue I have with that is that with senators being affiliated with political parties you pretty much knew what you were going to get. With independent senators, wouldn’t that just encourage more pandering, and more influence peddling?

  26. frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

    Wow……Justin pulls a Cromwell on Liberal Senators……Im impressed…….shows the man can be ruthless when he wants to be……just what is needed when battling “Dear Leader” and his cabal…….

  27. Niall from Winnipeg says:

    A pre-emptive strike against (long-time) crony allies.
    Justine learned well, as a pre-school teacher, how to play ‘Hot Potato’.

    In WK’s own words, a few days ago: “In politics, the only currencies that count are loyalty and trust. Nothing else matters.”
    – See more at: http://warrenkinsella.com/#sthash.2vpgW3xw.dpuf

    Only a fool has imagined that it was just CPC Senators who troughed up these past many decades (Remember the “Mexican” Lieberal Sen.?)

    What a shambles (and what comically transparent Lieberal/Lamestream Media Spin.)

  28. Matt says:

    Name one piece of legislation passed by the HOC that was the eefeated in the Senate.

    They have on occasion sent legislation back to th House for retooling, but I’m not aware of them ever defeating HOC passed legislation.

  29. Kaplan says:

    I think Trudeau’s gambit here could work, precisely because it will “hurt” not only when he’s in power, but it will have the same impact on every party that assumes party from here on out (should his gambit work).

    Had Harper blown up the Senate in some way shape or form in 2006, he would’ve had the same problem, but he’d have gained tremendous goodwill and political capital – and passed off the same weakened patronage machine to a potential Liberal successor.

    I give real kudos for Justin for taking the action he did, which so far is far more than any PM or opposition leader has done.

  30. Matt says:

    Warren, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t independent senators forbidden from sitting on Senate committee’s?

  31. Matt says:

    Even Liberals don’t see this changing much.

    “Depth of change questioned

    Liberal Senate Leader James Cowan admitted Trudeau’s decision was a surprise for senators, who he said were not consulted in advance.

    Cowan said senators were becoming increasingly comfortable with the decision, the longer they had to think about it.

    “What Mr. Trudeau has courageously done today is to set us free and allow us to do the job we’re here to do – without any interference or direction from colleagues in other place,” Cowan said.

    But Cowan then went on to cast doubt on the depth of change suggested by his leader. There will still be a Liberal Senate caucus, he said, and it will be populated by the same group of Liberal senators, who will each remain a member of the Liberal Party of Canada.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justin-trudeau-removes-senators-from-liberal-caucus-1.2515273

  32. Steven says:

    If Harper’s sock puppet Pierre Polievre hates it, I like it.

    • debs says:

      lol, me too!

      • Robin says:

        Good point Steven. By the way, an elected Senate, if the Alberta experiment is any indication, will result in a monochromatic Senate comprised of wealthy middle aged white males: Stan Waters, Bert Brown, Scott Tannas, Doug Black, and one exception Betty Unger.

        If this outcome if repeated in every province and the Senate begins to exercise its full powers then the Parliament of Canada would be controlled by 53 wealthy middle aged white men who can afford to run province wide campaigns to be elected to the Senate.

  33. Niall from Winnipeg says:

    Oh,

    And the Dauphin’s clunker also has the useful ancillary purpose of deflecting (needed) attention away from the Lieberal Byelction disasters in two Manitoba ridings last night:

    ARTHUR-VIRDEN:
    Doyle Piwniuk, Conservative — 3,137 votes
    Floyd Buhler, Liberal — 738 votes
    Bob Senff, NDP — 480 votes
    Kate Storey, Green Party of Manitoba — 245 votes

    MORRIS:
    Shannon Martin, Conservative — 2,642 votes
    Dean Harder, NDP — 488 votes
    Jeremy Barber, Liberal — 422 votes
    Ray Shaw, independent — 138 votes
    Alain Landry, Green Party of Manitoba — 85 votes

    Didn’t WK pen a wondrous column not too long ago about how the recent Fed. byelections indicated a Western Canadian Lieberal renaissance ?!?
    Is it to laugh.

    • Kelly says:

      There’s really no point in explaining why you’re an idiot. Is there?

    • GPAlta says:

      This does not appear to be related at all.
      The Liberals only have 1 seat in the Manitoba legislature, and they haven’t been in government there since 1958.
      This is a provincial by-election in a province where the provincial Liberal party is not competitive, in Conservative ridings that did not change party.
      Justin has nothing to do with this, and this has nothing to do with the Senate.

    • Steven says:

      Niall:

      It was a Provincial by-election in ridings where the Manitoba Liberal Party had only faint hope in support.

      You should come up from the basement once in a while. Maybe get out of your bathrobe, have a bath and get some fresh air.

    • smelter rat says:

      Bozo. Those 2 seats have been Tory since God was a boy.

  34. Ridiculosity says:

    If anyone doubts that this is a game changer just check out any news site in the country. The comment sections are filled to overflowing with positive comments about Trudeau’s announcement.

  35. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    I wonder if industrial-strength robes are in style these days?

    Ah, decisions, decisions. Abolition, if only it was actually possible…at least I can dream.

  36. Matt says:

    When the dust settles here and people take the time to look at this they will realize nothing but what the Liberals in the Senate call themselves has changed.

    They’ve gone from Liberal senators to senate Liberals.

    • Thor says:

      A coalition if necessary, but not necessarily a coalition…..where did I hear that? ……hmmmmm…distinctions without differences methinks

  37. Matt says:

    Warren, I just watched your segment with Lilley.

    My TV’s audio must be on the fritz, because I swear it sounded like you said you AGREED with Pierre Pollievre, that Trudeau’s committee idea for appointing senators moves the senate further away from democracy by not only having unelected senators but having unelected people appoint them.

    I know its been cold out, but I didn’t realize hell had frozen over.

  38. Ann says:

    Apart from the potential of legislative gridlock, I think there could be an unintended consequence – that the unelected and appointed Senate becomes more powerful than the elected HOC. If an elected government is frustrated by the Senate in fulfilling its mandate to govern which involves getting legislation passed into law and the Senate has both the authority and ability to make or break a government then in practical terms which would be the more powerful house?

    Media outlets would be accessing Senators to find out their opinions on proposed policies and legislation in order to try and determine the viability of a piece of legislation.

    It seems odd that a political leader and party would want to give up its power and then be seen as subservient to an appointed independent Senate.

    • Ann says:

      “We have a constitutional convention that the Senate tends not to defeat legislation.”

      This is true for government sponsored bills, however, we did see the Senate defeat a private members bill recently. We will never know if events concerning the Senate had a role in the defeat. This defeat might just be a new convention given that there appears to be an increase of private members bills making it to the Senate.

  39. Lance says:

    Justin Trudeau – “There are no more Liberal Senators”

    James Cowan – “We are the Senate Liberal Caucus”
    ———————–

    Gee, glad we cleared THAT up LOL

  40. dave says:

    I think, one generation later, Judy LaMarsh had it right.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Dave,

      Trouble is, that bastard knew how to win elections. It’s probably catching in that family! Darned shame for some people.

  41. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Can anyone really make the case that some of them are actually independents??? Other than Rivest and perhaps McCoy, the answer is a big, flat no. Reminds me of my time on the local Council for Canadian Unity…we were independents too. Right.

  42. Lance says:

    Its not a smokescreen, its a frigging cloud of tear gas –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZNqzWRY5DU

    Shouldn’t everyone have been reading from the same page before this got rolled out? Geez.

  43. Cam says:

    I think Trudeau’s move is brilliant.

    If gridlock and legislative intransigence is going to result, then I fail to see how anything has gotten through the Senate in the past when the majority in the senate was the opposite party from the majority in the house.

  44. Yukon Cornelius says:

    So, as usual I expect I am completely out of step with my fellow citizens but I don’t have a big problem with the Senate as currently constituted. I think a bright light should be shone on their expenses (and where warranted criminal charges should be laid) but otherwise, I’m fine to let the dusty old institution be. Why? Well, something really registered with me following Hurricane Katrina. I don’t remember the individuals name but it was a discussion about US and Canadian politics and the point that the US commentator made was that patronage will always be with us and that in the US those people get put into real positions – ‘you’re doin’ a helluva job Brownie’. Those appointments don’t always turn out well. In Canada we can plunk them into the Senate where they are relatively harmless and, I’m about to sound elitist here, they really aren’t paid that much money.

    Oh, and with respect to Trudeau’s announcement today? i really don’t know what to make of it but the cynic in me suggests that the upcoming audit report has to be a factor.

  45. Kev says:

    My Tory friends are shocked and awed by this.

    This is a very big, very good thing.

  46. Sean says:

    Amateur Hour

    Trudeau told a gathering of high school students not to listen to old people with old ideas, or something very close to this. And on this edict Trudeau seems to be walking the talk-whomever he’s listening to, doesn’t strike me as a seasoned policy advisor, who has carefully cultivated his/her craft via years of careful scrutiny re how things mesh together. In fact his advisor (s) strikes me as wet behind the years, idealistic, naive and perhaps as out to lunch as the Meathead from All in The Family. It’s truly tragic because the LPC has an abundance of well seasoned, highly talented individuals, who’s political skill level ranks with the best in the business.

  47. e.a.f. says:

    whatever the rationale, I like what he did. He has distanced himself from any fall out from any audit, something Harper won’t be able to do. He is sending the message, the Senate needs to change, without abolishing it. as one of the former Liberal senators said, she liked the idea, now she can represent British Columbia. Being from B.C., sounds good to me. It frees Trudeau to appoint senators and not have to appoint ones which he owes something to because they are Liberals. He is signaling a change and as they say, sometimes a change is as good as a rest.

    If Trudeau becomes P.M. in the not too distant future, he would be more free as to who was appointed to the Senate and he could have provinces vote on who they would want appointed, as Alberta did a number of years ago. Having distanced himself from the current crop of Senators, he no longer owes them “loyalty” and can say what he wants, if there is a bad report,without appearing disloyal. ?the kid maybe smarter than some think.

    • Ottawa Civil Servant says:

      Jt mentioned nothing about electing senators or choosing from a list voted on by the provinces. That is a Tory policy and the provinces, other than Alberta, are threatened by its ability to diminish the power of the premier as the voice of the province.

      JT’s idea is an elected partisan parliament would develop a system to appoint politically astute, but magically non-partisan people to a body that would have the power to appoint people versed in parliamentary procedure, but somehow also non-partisan, to an unelected body, that has powers to stop the elected parliament!

      Yikes.

  48. steve says:

    As a focus group of one I think its brilliant, the medium is the message. Bold and fresh rules. First pot, now the Senate, go for proportional representation and bring democracy to Canada. Or how about putting Canada’s foreign aid in one container?

  49. dave says:

    Jt,JT, Justin, Justin, Trudeau,…Justin…

    From Bertolt Brecht’s PLAY GALILEO the lines are something like:

    Character: Pity the land without a hero.
    Galileo: Pity the land that needs a hero.

  50. EstellaB says:

    I find the Wikipedia article titled, “Senate of Canada” to be a useful reference.
    The article states: Like most other upper-houses worldwide, the Canadian formula does not use representation by population as a primary criterion for member selection, since this is already done for the lower house. Rather, the intent when the formula was struck was to achieve a balance of regional interests and to provide a house of “sober second thought” to check the power of the lower house when necessary.

    My interpretation is that the Senate provides “sober second thought” solely with respect to the issue of regional representation. The number of Senators is set to provide regional balance. In this context, “sober second thought” provides balance for regional/provincial interests based upon very simple mathematics.

    Since the function of an independant auditor is a modern one, there is no foundation for imposing that functional role on Senators.

    • Les Miller says:

      “Regional representation” as practiced by the Canadian government is so grotesquely skewed as to make a complete mockery of democratic principles.

  51. Bold thinking that may engage the non-voting public who have become disillusioned with politics? Appointing intelligent and more independent people can’t be a bad thing.

    • Lance says:

      Non-elected officials appointing non-elected officials. What could go wrong?

      • Are you happy with the status quo?

        • Lance says:

          Who frigging cares WHAT the status quo is when this particular window dressing “cure” to the issue is nothing but an inert placebo and changes nothing.

      • Lance says:

        Oh please. Trudeau doesn’t need to see the AG report beforehand to know somewhat where his Senators are in terms of where they sit in regards to it, just by talking to them candidly.

        Come on. We can see the worried puddle of piss on the floor from here.

        • Lance says:

          Well so what? They are Liberal Senators (oh wait…………Senate Liberals LOL) and he inherited them.

          Keep dreaming. It is no coincidence that the AG report on Senate spending comes out just after this announcement. There is a reason that most of the media is commenting on it.

  52. MgS says:

    On the other hand, JT’s maneuver with the Senate could also serve to make the HoC more honest about its intentions as well.

    I don’t think it would be a bad thing for the governing party to have to persuade Senators of the rightness of their legislation. It might actually get the Senate doing its job – acting as a filter that stops the worst predations of a partisan government such as we have today.

  53. Paul Brennan says:

    Lets see the damn audit and get on with this…there are so many other things need doing that impact day to day lives of Canadians …

  54. Sean says:

    It seems to me that for far too long, Justin has developed a false sense of confidence from an overabundance of patronization. Is this good for him? Well, Paul McCartney said that after the fab four broke up, he was being told that his compositions were just great. Then he realized that he was being told a bunch of crap because people were afraid to be honest with him. In effect, McCartney was saying, give me an honest person to tell me to my face, that what I’m writing is either good or not so good.

    This is exactly what Trudeau needs-to have someone who will level with him, not manipulate him, or kiss his derrière just because of who he is. And just who is he? Yes, we know the family name, and the media generated mythology about him. But can he carry a tune, can he carry a bucket full of water up a long steep hill, can he handle the truth? How does he fair when someone looks him in the eye and tells him straight up that he’s not god almighty and needs to consult much wider before making a serious move such as firing his own senators? And If he can’t take an average jab to the jaw without crumbling to the mat like a wet noodle, then maybe he doesn’t have the resolve to be prime minister. In my opinion he needs someone such as Kinsella to level with him and toughen him up-of course without knocking his block off.

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