Tuesday, November 6, 2007

NDP scores victory: Senate abolition takes a leap forward

Liberal MPs should take note, this is what effective opposition looks like.

Despite what Stephane Dion might tell Liberal MPs, opposition parties are supposed get their ideas on the agenda, not roll over and have the government get its way like Liberals have of late

The unelected, unaccountable Senate is at best a money wasting anachronism, and at worst a national and international embarrassment for Canada.

Its abolition is a longstanding policy of the NDP, going back to the origins of the party in the CCF. Frustrated by the slow pace of his reforms, Harper appears to have wisely decided that it's an idea whose day has come.

Lately to distract from their absent opposition to Harper, Liberal MPs have derided the NDP as being “holier than thou,” the implication being that NDP principles are just as optional as Liberal ones.

But the NDP position on the Senate is an example of how the NDP has stood steadfast on its principles, despite the sometimes personal cost of doing so.

Over the years, Liberal and Conservative prime ministers have dangled the temptation of a patronage-for-life Senate gig in front of NDP MPs and provincial politicians. All would have been qualified for the job. And all would have had greater security, income, pensions and perks had they taken it. But every New Democrat remained loyal to their party and principles and turned it down flat.

Courageously sticking to principle has come at great cost: leaving public life for potential obscurity, and even resulting in the NDP having to distance itself from a respected aboriginal activist and educator who today sits as an unrecognized New Democrat in the Senate.

It shows how hollow the Liberals’ mockery really is.

The real question is to the 94 remaining Liberal MPs: will they finally join the rest of us in the 21st Century and support abolishing the Senate, or are they just too wedded to the $80 million patronage pork-house?

20 comments:

Ti-Guy said...

The real question is to the 94 remaining Liberal MPs: will they finally join the rest of us in the 21st Century and support abolishing the Senate, or are they just too wedded to the $80 million patronage pork-house?

Yum!..that's good hissy Dippin'..

How about a Citizen's Assembly to examine the Senate? Might be a more politic idea than Jack and Steve's "Death to the Fiberals!" distraction?

Blogging Horse said...

Sure, the Liberals would love a Citizens' Assembly, or Royal Commission, or Task Force, or Super-special Advisory Panel, or whatever.

When in doubt: dither.

This is why the Liberals are weak and ineffective. Whenever Canadians want action, Liberals want process.

The problem really isn't that Liberals are right-wing, or left-wing - it's that they never actually want to do anything.

The final word of Canadians on all of that was "out with the lot of you"!

Thanks to Jack Layton and the NDP, Canadians will get the final word on the money-wasting Senate too. Expect the same.

Ti-Guy said...

This is why the Liberals are weak and ineffective. Whenever Canadians want action, Liberals want process.

This is such a lie. Liberals have presided over the most progressive periods in Canada's history.

You're an angry idiot.

red and proud said...

So, the NDP (along with the Conservatives) think Senate reform is such a pressing issue facing Canadians that something has to be done about it now? So important that it takes up an entire blog here and most of the real estate on the NDP home page? What a joke. Well it would be if it wasn't so pathetic.

Let's say the Senate was abolished tomorrow. Would Canadians' lives be immeasurably improved? Of course not. More to the point, it would never happen. Even if a referendum is drafted, and it found acceptance with the electorate, change could only come about by amending the constitution which would require the agreement of 7 provinces representing 50 % or more of the population. Good luck with that.

If Jack Layton wants a cause why doesn't he say something about the layoffs at the Chrysler plant in Brampton last week. More than a thousand people laid off and not one word about it from him or the NDP.

Mushroom said...

Senate abolition will be brought up by you guys as a non-binding motion on Opposition day.

The NDP as the fourth party cannot make amendments to government bills. Therefore, it is just a resolution.

The PM needs to pass a bill calling for a referendum on the Abolition of the Senate which Layton can second. Otherwise, this is making a mountain out of a mole hill postulation.

Ti-Guy said...

If Jack Layton wants a cause why doesn't he say something about the layoffs at the Chrysler plant in Brampton last week. More than a thousand people laid off and not one word about it from him or the NDP.

Harper didn't email Jack about that. Doubtless an oversight.

Blogging Horse said...

Wow. Liberals seem pretty upset by the notion of losing their patronage playground.

Let's dispell the silly notion that one opposition day motion is going to dominate the NDP's entire policy agenda, shall we?

To the canard that the NDP has ignored the job loses at Chrysler:

1) Federal NDP auto critic Brian Masse, member of Parliament for Windsor West, endorsed Hargrove's analysis. "We have the most open market in the world, and we're losing a sector of the economy that's been very successful for this nation," Masse said from Ottawa. "Why would we allow continued lopsided trade imbalances on this?" (http://www.940news.com/nouvelles.php?cat=23&id=110152)

2) Peggy Nash, NDP MP: Mr. Speaker, the mini budget's corporate tax cuts take Canada in absolutely the wrong direction. The headlines make it plain and clear, “Chrysler eliminates jobs in Ontario, more job loss expected”. The mini budget will make things worse for manufacturing. The oil and gas sector is driving the dollar higher. The higher the dollar goes, the harder it is for manufacturers. Why did the minister choose to ignore our manufacturers and instead make things worse by helping his friends in the banks and the oil and gas sector? (Hansard, 2 Nov. 2007)

3) Libby Davies, NDP MP: Mr. Speaker, we lost 3,500 manufacturing jobs in October and over 63,000 in the past year. The government is overseeing the gutting of Canada's manufacturing sector and it will only get worse because the Liberals have rolled over and endorsed the corporate tax giveaway. Why is it that the government has billions for corporate tax cuts but nothing for those families who have lost their jobs? Why did the minister forget Canadian workers and their families in his mini-budget? Why were they left behind? (Hansard, 2 Nov. 2007)

What's the matter Liberals? Don't you want ordinary Canadians to have a say over whether or not we should be spending millions on an unelected, unaccountable Senate packed with partisan hacks?

Blogging Horse said...

Ti-Guy said: "You're an angry idiot."

You can do better than that.

Let's stick to the ideas and perspectives presented on the blog or not comment at all, 'kay?

red and proud said...

Sorry BH, I stand corrected on the Chrysler issue. But why isn't this information on the NDP web site? I just did a quick search and the only related doc that came up was an old speech that Layton gave in February of this year. It seems to me that if this issue really was that important to the NDP they would give it a lot more prominence on their web site.

Blogging Horse said...

Mushroom said: "The NDP as the fourth party cannot make amendments to government bills."

This is very much as aside to the issue at hand, but that statement is totally incorrect.

It is one of the lies that Liberal canvassers use on the door step to deceive NDP voters into changing their vote.

Just since the election, the NDP made changes to numerous Conservative bills, including the Accountability Act, as well as rewriting the entire lame Clean Air Act.

red and proud said...

Yeah, and where's the Clean Air Act now? Gathering dust. We would be much further ahead on the environment now had Layton not pulled the plug on the Martin government.

As for the Accountability Act, you should check out the Democracy Watch web site for their assessment. Here's the link:

http://www.dwatch.ca/

Erik Buchanan said...

For a view on the other side of the spectrum, go here.

I have to ask, if you want to abolish the senate, what are you going to replace it with? Because having only one house seems like a monumental loss of checks and balances.

I also have to ask if part of the Conservative agenda for senate abolition is to ensure that those politicians that are in power are easier to buy. After all, who is more likely to be swayed by a lobbyist offering a job? Someone who has one permanently, or someone who may be looking for a new one in four years?

And if you could enlighten me, I've never understood why the NDP dislike the senate so much.

Blogging Horse said...

R&P said: "We would be much further ahead on the environment now had Layton not pulled the plug on the Martin government."

The Liberals had a worse record on greenhouse gas emissions than George Bush. You can be Red and Proud of that, but no one else is.

PS: Martin said he was going to call an election a month later than the one that actually happened. Did the Liberals have a plan to clean up their environmental mess in 4 weeks?

red and proud said...

Jason Cherniak has produced a video on how the NDP plan to abolish the Senate threatens Canada. Here's the link:

http://jasoncherniak.blogspot.com/2007/11/video-ndp-threatens-canada.html

Ryan said...

Ti-Guy: How are you going to win people over by resorting to ad hominem attacks? Makes me think you're a lot more interested in insulting people than winning converts. What's the point of commenting on people's blogs, then? Just to make their lives miserable?

BH, I agree with a lot of your analysis, and tend to be very sympathetic to your message, however your partisanship is just as apparent as Ti-Guy's. You sound like the NDP website sometimes. It's ok to criticize the NDP sometimes, you know (luck for us the Liberals have far more to be criticized about, though).

mushroom: "The NDP as the fourth party cannot make amendments to government bills." What's the point of having third parties, then? I'm sure plenty of Liberals would rather it just be them and the Cons slugging it out, but fortunately our democracy is a little more diverse than our neighbours to the south.

Blogging Horse said...

R&P:

If the Liberal govenment was doing so many great things, then why didn't Canadians re-elect them to another term so they could carry on with their greatness?

PS: That video is just plain bad. At least now we know who penned the "Soldiers in our streets" ad.

red and proud said...

BH said: "If the Liberal govenment was doing so many great things, then why didn't Canadians re-elect them to another term so they could carry on with their greatness?"

Does the name Judy Wasylycia-Leis ring a bell? She's the NDP MP who contacted the RCMP and requested an investigation into whether or not Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale had illegally leaked information regarding a government announcement on income trusts. Following her request, AND DURING THE LAST FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN, RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli wrote to Wasylycia-Leis to inform her that the RCMP had commenced a criminal probe into the matter. Wasylycia-Leis then proceeded to call a press conference to announce that the Liberals were the subject of an RCMP investigation. The effect of this announcement was an almost immediate drop in Liberal popularity. UNTIL THAT TIME THE LIBERALS HAD BEEN AHEAD AND MOST LIKELY WOULD HAVE WON THE ELECTION! Of course, the allegations were baseless, and Goodale was completely exonerated, but this didn't happen until Feb 2007, well after the election.

Blogging Horse said...

Ryan: Glad you are enjoying the blog. The NDP has a good record -- and we should point that out wherever people are talking politics. Besides, there are already three other parties out there attacking Layton and the NDP for standing up for ordinary folks, why add to their noise?

R&P: To all the world the spike in trading looked like a leak from Finance, but Goodale refused to show responsibility and launch an internal investigation - even though the entire Gomery inquiry had been about ministerial responsibility.

So, when Goodale wouldn't act, the RCMP did, ultimately charging a Finance official with criminal breach of trust: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/news/2007/2007_02_15_e.htm

Maybe Goodale should have taken the leak more seriously, instead of playing politics.

The Liberals had been losing support in every election since 2000. Canadians had grown tired of Liberal arrogance and inaction. Liberals can't blame that on the NDP or the RCMP.

Ryan said...

Undoubtedly. Maybe it's just the language, I don't know.

What I'm saying is that I don't think Layton should have concentrated so much on the Liberals last election, when Harper deserved as much. I guess what I'm also saying is that your blog is reflecting that. Instead of just attacking the Liberals for their spinelessness in stopping Harper, attack the source, too.

That being said, the Liberals deserved every bit of criticism directed towards them, so I guess you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. So maybe I'm wrong.

I wouldn't say that Harper and the Liberals are one and the same, like they keep accusing NDPers of saying, either. Harper definitely has the hidden agenda going for him. But as far as the actual governance is going, they're pretty similar. The Conservatives are pushing through Dion's tax cuts, I hear. How nice.

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