Posts Tagged ‘Senate of Canada’

Danger signs of elitism in the Senate.

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Prime minister Justin Trudeau is facing enough problems without his elitism coming back to bite his ass. We saw in the Senate last week where one of his elite appointees forgot who appointed her to the sinecure of the Senate. Supposedly independent senator Paula Simons from Alberta torpedoed the liberal ban on oil tankers off north-west B.C. on the senate transport committee.

This might be a bit of a sou’easter that will soon blow over but Trudeau’s environmentalism is already skating on thin ice, as it is. He hardly needs to be stabbed in the back by his own elitist choice for the senate. He would much prefer to be showing us sceptics that his elitism is paying off for Canadians as well as these people who act like the senate is their personal playpen and piggy bank.

We used to have some very conscientious senators who liked being part of the liberal caucus and did a good job of reviewing and making recommendations on new legislation.

But school teacher Trudeau did not agree. He thought we should not have liberals in the senate. He wanted them all to be elite. These elites would be chosen by an elite committee to enable the prime minister to select the best elites for service in the senate. They answer to nobody. They are beholden to nobody. They do what they want with legislation sent to them from the commons.

And this is hardly the first time the prime minister got a wake-up call from the senate that some key piece of legislation the liberals wanted was being screwed around by his elite senators. You would hope that the liberals would want to rethink this dumb elitism.

He would certainly get some support if he wanted to make the senate a form of a house of the provinces. This would be something like the American system but with more power ultimately in the hands of the house of commons.

Alternatively, we could just abolish the senate. There might be more of an argument about that but giving Canadians the right to vote on the proposition is the ultimate threat.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Watering the wine of Canadian politics.

Monday, March 11th, 2019

Canadians deserve better. We are promised much but so little is delivered. Prime minister Justin Trudeau promised doctor assisted suicide to relieve people the pains of protracted death and all Canadians got was some comfort for the rich. He promised voting reform but had never thought it through. He has talked about the middle class only because most Canadians think of themselves as middle class. He goes where the votes are.

But you cannot declare yourself a feminist and show yourself to be impatient with the women who work with you. You cannot promise to protect the environment and then push pipelines for the highly polluting tar sands bitumen.

It is surprising that there are not more liberals across Canada wondering where the Justin’s liberalism went. The steadiest hand in the federal cabinet is that conservative Goodale from Saskatchewan. The finance minister is an elitist neoliberal from Toronto’s upper crust. The foreign affairs minister is a reporter. Reporters are people who write stories about what is happening; foreign affairs ministers have to solve problems with diplomacy.

And when does she and that pussy of a prime minister get to read the riot act to that jerk in the American White House? Do we let that guy screw around with us because we are such good neighbours? Good neighbours tell their neighbours the truth.

Failing us in Senate reform was one of the problems that brought down the Harper government. Trudeau’s solution is elitist. He has an elite committee that looks for appointments among the elite and then he appoints them as independents to study and approve laws passed by the elected House of Commons.

And when is Justin going to unwrap the Pharmacare plan we have been waiting for? Everything we are hearing about this meager plan has us more and more concerned that it will be just another half step. More water in the wine of liberalism.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

The Senate of Canada sleeps on.

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

It was surprising. A regular reader who frequently agrees with Babel-on-the-Bay has changed his mind about the undemocratic anachronism of Canada’s Senate. Now he thinks he likes the elitist appointments. He met a Senator he likes.

I used to know a lot of Senators I liked. That hardly means that I think it is right to have an appointed Senate in a democratic nation.

But this chap thinks that because he met one Senator who seemed to have her wits about her and knew a few things, the Senate is some how necessary.

But the opening question is: Why do we need a Senate? It seems it was suggested by Queen Victoria’s ministers to slow down the impetuous actions of those people who were elected. It was to be a House of sober(?) second thought. It is for a serious (supposedly) non-partisan review of legislation. The Brits have a House of Lords. And how well does that work?

Our reader was impressed that this Senator he met was neither a lawyer nor a politician. All this meant was that she had neither the training to understand the legal structure of laws nor the easy familiarity with the political implications of the bills the Senate was asked to review. And why do we tenure these people until age 75? There is nothing magical about that age.

I seriously believe that the Senate is just one of those hold-overs from the Victorian era that should be studied and modernized or abolished. And if we need review of legislation, we could hire independent panels of people with expertise in the subject matter to review legislation at a much lower cost than the Senate of Canada.

Canada is a large and complex country. I like to think that it is a country with good instincts. It is the ability of a country to change and adapt with changing times and changing technologies that will give it the strength it needs in the future. And always remember, when it comes to governance, nothing is impossible.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

 

Biting the hand with the handouts.

Monday, November 26th, 2018

We have warned Justin Trudeau repeatedly that those so-called independent senators are going to bite him on the bum. Blame him for all those Christmas presents that Canada Post cannot deliver by Christmas this year. Every day of further delay is thousands of  packages undelivered.

But elitism cannot be rushed. Justin Trudeau made it clear back when he became the elite leader of Canada’s liberals that henceforth, the senators would not be liberals. And the slaves were freed.

And of course, they have minds of their own and they are always eager to emphasize their freedom. They were nominated by the elite committee that chose them as elite enough. They were then selected from the list of acceptable elites by the prime minister. They were welcomed to the senate by other elites.

And to sweeten the deal, they are paid the same salary and perks as an elected member of parliament. They even get a generous pension when they have to retire at 75.

But as an elite they answer to nobody. The government leader in the senate is not their boss. He has to be nice to them to get their cooperation. They might be considered nobodies by the conservative senators but they can outvote them.

They know that they can take an extra day to consider sending the postal workers back to work if they feel like it. It shows Canadians that they are independent and do not like being pushed around.

And so what, if Justin Trudeau is turning purple over there in the prime minister’s office? He is one of those elected people and therefore not as much an elite as the senators who do not have to get elected.

Here is an idea for you people who like the idea of proportional elections. Why do you not fight for the senate to be a house representing the proportion for each political party in each province in the general election voting. I would agree if these senators were nominated by the political parties and selected by registered voters for the individual parties so that they could be appointed senators for the term of the parliament. Think about it. There might be the germ of an idea there. It might work, as long as Canada’s elected parliamentarians always have the final word.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Ageism and Justin Trudeau.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

There was an opinion piece in the paper the other day by a favourite commentator. She was writing about the Liberal government not trusting anyone older than the prime minister. That leaves a very large number of Canadians to be disposed of on the ice floes by this uncaring government.

I had always been under the impression that Justin Trudeau thought seniors would all be happy to have a selfie with him and he has been working hard on that project. It seems he thinks that will satisfy the old buggers.

Well it will not satisfy this one. As a long-time party member (before Justin was born) this Liberal expects more of him. I do not brush off easy.

I quickly learned what this government thinks of old Liberal apparatchiks when I offered some help to newly-appointed democratic reform minister Maryam Monsef. As something of an expert on voting systems—from pencil and paper to computers—and a Liberal who knows the ropes in Ottawa, I was pleased to offer her some help. She did not just turn me down, she ignored me. Watching how she handled the special committee on voting reform, I was not the least surprised when she was bounced from the portfolio to minister of status of women, where she is getting in less trouble.

The most direct problem Justin Trudeau has with seniors are the ones in the senate. He has disowned and antagonized the former liberal senators who are now supposed to consider themselves independent. They are cut off from the Liberal caucus and they really do not feel much love. Newly appointed senators are selected by an elitist committee and are thrust into a disorganized and confused senate. And when they just try to do their job, everyone complains about them holding up legislation.

But the Liberal cabinet member most responsible for the growing alienation of seniors is finance minister Bill Morneau. This minister has been salting away millions from selling off the company he inherited from his father. He is well looked after for his ‘golden years’ but the inflation he is encouraging is eating the heart out of current senior’s pensions.

The finance minister has to direct his department to come up with a better deal for pensioners with old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. They are also voters and they do not miss an opportunity to show you what they think.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

There are some real royals.

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

It is too bad that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was too busy to meet with the King and Queen of Belgium when they were in Ottawa the other day. These are a somewhat different type of royal. They are useful. They are not just figureheads and dilettantes. The Belgian royals brought 150 business leaders and others with them to help build stronger ties with Canada.

While trade between Belgium and Canada was $6.5 billion last year, Canada does that much bilateral trade with the United States in three days. The Belgians are hoping to see a substantial increase in their trade with Canada as the new Canada-European Union trade deal comes into effect.

The Belgians were greeted according to protocol by the Governor General and with all the correct ceremonies. It was obvious that they had hoped for a few words with Canada’s Prime Minister.

Belgium, as a sovereign country, is only about six years older than Canada. It is also a constitutional monarchy and has two major language groups. Part of the role of the royalty is to help hold the country together despite ongoing tensions between the Flemish (about 60 per cent of the population) and Walloons (close to 40 per cent).

In the United Kingdom, the Queen has a periodic briefing from her prime minister as to the affairs of the nation. In Belgium, the monarch is much more involved and he maintains direct contact with his cabinet ministers as to the progress of their bills and programs. He supplies the ministers with highly knowledgeable and apolitical advice.

Having visited Belgium and seen first hand the animosity between the Flemish and Walloons, I can only feel admiration for how the Belgian monarch helps to smooth relations between the two groups. Compared to the concern Prince Harry has with the guest list for his upcoming wedding to an American, it does seem to make our royals quite redundant.

But Canada will never be able to ameliorate its borrowed monarchy from England that does this country no favours. It might be a convenience for our politicians who think they know best about our needs but the refusal of our government to address concerns about the un-elected and undemocratic senate, supreme court appointments and the myriad of concerns about our need to update our democracy are not being solved.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Elitism bites Trudeau’s ass.

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

It is hard to say what embarrasses Canadians more. Seeing pictures of Trudeau and his family dressing up Bollywood-style to the amusement of the Indian Sub-continent is bad enough.

As often as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been warned though about his elitist approach, those chickens have come home to roost. It looks like the most serious problem he has created for himself is the Senate of Canada. By installing an elite committee to independently recommend elite appointments, he now has a senate that is setting its own timetables and holding up legislation.

It seems to be justice though that the current major piece of legislation being delayed by the independent senate is Trudeau’s signature legalization of marijuana. The prime minister promised that Canadians could all be toking up on Canada Day this year. That is turning out to be as good a promise as his saying that the 2015 election was the last time we would use first-past-the-post voting.

It is Justin Trudeau’s own fault that so many tons of cannabis will be stale by the time Canadians get to buy some legally. He gave the file to an ex-cop to manage. Bill Blair must have stopped at Timmies often for donuts.

It took Blair a long time to get his mind around the bureaucracy needed to manage the pot industry. He must have been surprised by the higher profit margins when the industry only had to pay taxes instead of bribes.

The delay will make the provinces happy. No doubt Ontario will be able to have two stores ready to open when cannabis is finally declared legal in the Canada Gazette.

I have not checked with Quebec lately but that province should have made a deal with the Mafia. Nothing need change. The Mafia could do the growing, distribution and accounting and they could have the bikers to do their home delivery. Customers would pay promptly, or else.

But what really worries me about this fiasco with the senate is that some legislation that the elite senators really dislike—such as taxing the one per cent fairly—is going to be held up by Trudeau’s elite senate. This is going to start anti-senate riots on Wellington Street in Ottawa.

And what is Trudeau going to do when these elite senators find out they can also originate some legislation. Can you just imagine the type of legislation they will start to develop? They are likely to move the senate to Florida for the winter each year. They will at least get it away from that awful weather in Ottawa.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Change Canada’s Senate: ‘There’s the rub.’

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Some of our readers thought that was a got-cha. “Aha,” they exclaimed in their e-mails, “How do you think we are going to get rid of the senate?”

Obviously, they have never heard of my idea of a constitutional conference. I suggested it once in a conversation with Justin Trudeau. His eyes rolled in his head and the only answer I got was “Never.” For a school teacher, our prime minister is not all that amenable to new thinking.

And, he should never say never. Maybe it is not in our lifetime, but Canada has to have a constitution that makes sense for our nation. We can hardly continue to carry the baggage of centuries past.

And the best way to effect the change is through a constitutional conference. This body would be elected using the most recent of federal electoral boundaries across Canada. I would suggest at least three people per district. This would give us a deliberative body of over 1000. To make sure of the balance of views, I would suggest that each voter only be allowed to vote for two citizen participants.

The deliberations of the constitutional conference will need to be brought forward to the provincial legislatures and to a subsequent national referendum. And I would suggest to you that it would be a most foolish provincial legislature that tried to stand in the way of a decision of the people. It is the decision of the subsequent referendum that determines the acceptance or rejection of the constitutional conference recommendations.

That final referendum could be for an entirely new package of a constitution or a cafeteria of changes that could be made with the approval of a majority of Canadians. That is for the constitutional conference to decide.

The important aspect of this is that the final decision rests with all Canadians. It is not a decision to be made elsewhere. It is not a decision to be made by provincial legislatures. It is a decision to be made by both the aboriginal Canadian and the newcomer who recently gained citizenship. It needs to be brought to us by an honest attempt to take our country forward to the future. It should honour those who came before and be passed on with pride to future generations.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Forget Beyak, dump Canada’s Senate.

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Why just dump Senator Lynn Beyak? You do not have to like what she says or posts on the Internet? We have all heard it before. Bigotry is hardly new. The problem is that there is not much you can do about it. She was appointed to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Stephen Harper until she is 75. She is going to be around for a while yet. It would be easier to dump the entire senate rather than just her.

‘Chuckles’ Scheer, Conservative Party leader and leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition decided to dump her. She is an embarrassment to the Conservative caucus. He tossed her out of the caucus. That was all he could do. He left her sitting in the senate. He made matters worse. He left a pissed-off party stalwart sitting in the senate as an independent.

You can be assured that not all non-first nations’ people from the Thunder Bay region of Ontario are bigots. There are many people there who are well aware of the problems faced by our first nations’ people and are sympathetic. For all we know Senator Beyak might be posting some of those bigoted letters thinking that it can help the situation. Obviously, it does not.

But this is just another of the long lists of embarrassments by our appointed senate. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thinks he is getting around the problem by having an elite committee pick elite applicants for him to appoint supposedly elite senators. He gets no guarantees.

One of the problems for the ‘Lynch Beyak’ mob is that Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations has jumped into the fray and is calling for a ‘review’ of the senator’s actions by the senate ethics committee. To give her yet another platform for racism is not going to help.

The Senate of Canada was created more than 150 years ago to give the land-owning gentry of the Canadian colonies a chance to review and, if they wish, stall the laws passed by our elected parliament. It is not needed today. In fact, its continuance is an embarrassment to our country. It should have been abolished a long time ago.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Is Trudeau’s elitism working?

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

It is getting to the point where even the Conservative opposition in parliament is noticing. They are starting to take verbal jabs at the prime minister’s elitist nature. It is starting small but it will grow. Canada’s poster boy prime minister can ill afford to have his elitist tendencies to become common knowledge.

But even when out of the country, his elitism is noticed in appointments announced by his office.

Just before leaving for China, to supposedly lecture the Chinese on their human rights, his elitist appointment was announced for the Supreme Court. The candidate chosen has a varied background in business law and in supporting Canada’s aboriginal peoples. She will be the second Supreme Court Justice from Alberta.

While in China—and with things not going as well as expected—Trudeau’s office announced his latest selections for Canada’s beleaguered Senate. It was a daily double as two women from aboriginal backgrounds were appointed as independent senators.

These are the types of appointments where you are a bit of a curmudgeon if you are critical of the applicants. These are people who have worked hard in their chosen fields and have earned the plaudits of their peers for their many accomplishments.

But this goes far beyond peer approval. Justin Trudeau has given these people a sinecure. The annual salary is well above the Canadian average and the mandatory retirement at 75 can be quite comfortable.

Senator number one is Mary Coyle, from Nova Scotia, an advocate for women’s rights and aboriginal people. Senator number two is Mary Jane McCallum, a dentist from Manitoba who has worked hard to bring health and dental services to people in the north.

As far as I am concerned, I do not believe that judges should be appointed by the Prime Minister alone—even with the aid of these elitist committees that help him. I believe that senior judges should be chosen by parliament after all the applicants have been vetted by a parliamentary committee.

As for the Senate of Canada, I firmly believe there is no need in a truly democratic country for an unelected house of parliament. The only problem is that the prime minister would rather be seen as elitist than to open up the constitution of Canada for review and changes.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me