What will Harper do about the flawed Senate?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is heading for the closet, once again.
This time it’s over the Senate, and not knowing what exactly to do about it. What better course of action than to prorogue Parliament?
To be fair, this time around it is a lot more complicated.
In Bev Oda’s case he was dealing with only one person and a single issue that ended with the Conservative government being found in contempt of Parliament.
But this time at least four Senators are involved, and while he was busy procrastinating, the matter slipped out of his hands and is now with the RCMP.
Having admitted to having ‘perused’ Senator Wallin’s spending of around $140,000 in ineligible travel expenses and expressed an element of comfort with her claims, the optics for Harper are not good.
But the larger issue is the future of the Senate.
In its present form, the Senate can only stall legislation, and only for six months.
To be truly effective, our Senate needs the same legislative authority as the US Senate, which can propose, amend and defeat legislation, and by being able to do so provide much needed balance to the House of Representatives, which is the equivalent to our House of Commons.
The tricky part for Harper is how to handle the process of determining whether we keep the Senate, change the role of the Senate, or eliminate it.
Will he acknowledge that we are still a colony and exercise his colonial powers to implement his decision? Or, will he insist that we are a democracy and let the people decide, by means of a binding national referendum?
Trying to unload it onto the courts is completely irrational, and just another cop-out.