Saving the NDP—and the Senate?

It took some digesting. Long-time New Democrat Robin Sears tried his hand in the Toronto Star the other day at damning Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau while hoping to rescue NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. As a long-time Liberal Party apparatchik, we can only admire Sears’ pluck in taking on the task. And as a fellow public relations practitioner, we can only hope he was paid more for the task than the Toronto Star’s usually miserly pittance for such gratuitous op-eds.

What Sears attempted in his opinion piece was to claim that Justin Trudeau should have used party manipulation and process to sell the dumping of the Liberal Senators. He suggests that Justin Trudeau did the act as a stunt. He rudely accuses Trudeau of stuntsmanship on a level with Ted Cruz and Rob Ford.

While it is easy to visualize someone such as Sears’ former leader Ed Broadbent using party manipulation to achieve change, he might not be aware we have moved into a new century. Trudeau was up front and honest with everyone concerned.

Trudeau asked the Senators from the Liberal Caucus for a meeting. He went to that meeting and told the Senators what he intended to do. Did they react in outrage? Did they complain loudly and vociferously? Even after some sober second thought, most of the Liberal Senators accepted the action as reasonable. As many of them point out, this was the original intent of the Senate. Trudeau simply asked them to do their job.

Sears suggests that Justin Trudeau just looks like a student politician desperately trying to ape the adults. He seems to believe that Trudeau is attempting to sidestep any controversy should any Liberal Senator be caught by the Auditor General diddling his or her expense account. Sears can be reassured that the Conservatives, especially Mr. Harper’s more recent appointees, are far more likely to be caught up in any expanded scandal. They seem to have a much larger sense of entitlement.

While Justin Trudeau is reluctant to open the constitutional question at this time, he does acknowledge that Canadians need Senate reform. Sears seems to act like Trudeau is the leader of the opposition. He should worry more about his own leader Tommy Mulcair.

It was very generous of Sears to suggest that the Senate chamber could make an excellent wedding banquet hall. He should realize that there have been far too many bodies buried under that red carpet over the years to ensure wedded bliss.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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