Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

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The Senate should do its job – and respect Canadian voters

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Killing a government bill that was part of an election platform that elected a majority government, and which was passed in the House with multiparty support, is simply not in the Senate’s job description – not as long as Canada is a parliamentary democracy, premised on the British model, as specified in our very Constitution.

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Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Senators have agreed on the fly to some accommodation of the growing ranks of independents, giving them some research funds and committee roles. But the leadership of the ISG has argued that their role must be explicitly spelled out and guaranteed in the Parliament of Canada Act. And, since the change would involve allocating financial resources, they say it can’t be initiated by the Senate, only by the government in the House of Commons… “It won’t come from within the Senate. The only way to complete it, to have it finished, is to amend the Parliament of Canada Act.”

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Universal basic income revival.

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

David Croll pioneered the first study and report in Canada on UBI, then called a guaranteed annual income: Poverty in Canada – A report of the Special Senate Committee (1971)… which formed the basis for many subsequent studies and experiments. Its failure to be adopted was attributed to an economic downturn in the late 1970s and insufficient support by provincial governments.

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Andrew Scheer is wrong to propose a return to a partisan Senate

Friday, July 28th, 2017

… the primary purpose of our Senate is to offer its “sober second thought” on legislation, as a kind of counter balance to how legislation is created in the House of Commons, where partisanship is a necessary feature… new senators are not members of a political party and therefore do not take direction from a national party. The Senate’s political integrity is maintained and, arguably, enhanced with each new independent appointment.

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Welcome to the new and improved Senate

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

They sit as independents, and act like it. They and other like-minded senators have improved more than one piece of legislation by sending it back to the House with recommended revisions. Sometimes the House has accepted their recommendations, sometimes it hasn’t. In all cases, the Senate has deferred to the final will of the Commons, as it did, ultimately, with the budget… We should think of this new, improved Senate as a jury, another institution of our democracy…

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Concerns that Liberal anti-terror bill looks to protect rights at expense of security

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

The problem is, as the government’s own report on its consultations makes clear, the “secret and complex nature” of national security work means Canadians have no idea whether law enforcement officers need additional powers… The disruption provision allows CSIS to seek a court warrant to break laws or breach Charter rights, short of causing bodily harm or obstructing justice.

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Appointing independent senators: Leave the skepticism behind

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

… the very purpose of a Senate composed of appointed members was to ensure that senators would consider the public policy issues of the day on their merits, not on the basis of preprogrammed positions dictated from above by party leadership. Canadians have seen this ideal compromised through patronage appointments, excessive partisanship and executive interference by previous Prime Ministers’ Offices. This is precisely why the government’s policy is to not exercise top-down partisan control over any member of the Senate

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The Senate finally does something right

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

… the proposals fall into three categories: providing greater openness, improving internal operations and generating better legislation. In principle all are desirable… [including] a proposal to group senators into “caucuses” rather than parties… all represented on committees… But a less rigid, us-versus-them, in-versus-out pattern of debate and voting would still be an improvement, perhaps even a useful model for reforming the Commons

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Canada needs a Senate and our Senate needs to be fixed. Here’s how

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Ottawa should bypass the bad old approach to constitutional negotiations by tabling a specific reform proposal and appealing directly to the electorate for a referendum mandate to enact its proposals… The provinces, faced with a federal proposal endorsed in a national referendum, would find it very hard to resist… the chances of getting the reforms through the formal amendment process increase dramatically. Put the people first and the provinces will follow.

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Let the Senate reform itself

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

… changes would be to encourage the Senate to effectively and expeditiously propose amendments that the Commons must consider. Indirect vetoes would be largely eliminated and direct vetoes made more difficult. The Commons would be faced with clear proposals for amendments and be forced to consider their merits. Without the prospect of having to deal harshly with threatened vetoes, the Commons might consider Senate amendments more on their merits.

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