Huffington Post Canada

The Senate Reference and taking steps forward

The Supreme Court just released its long-awaited Senate Reference decision. And the response was spectacularly rebuking.

Harper posed the following questions to the Court and the following responses were provided. I have significantly condensed the decision for easy access.

Harper: Can the federal government unilaterally impose term limits on Senators?

Supreme Court: No, they may not.

Imposing term limits is a change that engages the interest of provinces. It requires the general amending formula to be used (seven provinces with at least 50 per cent of the population), also known as the 7/50 procedure. Imposing fixed terms is not specifically written in the Constitution, imposing term limits would alter the fundamental nature and role of the Senate.

Harper: Can the federal government unilaterally develop legislation that allows citizens to be consulted for potential Senate nominees? Can the federal government establish a framework for provinces and territories to enact legislation to consult their citizens for Senate nominees?

Supreme Court: No, they may not.

Continue reading

Standard
The Prince Arthur Herald

Brigette DePape: A political stunt pays off big

Maclean’s Magazine recently conducted an interview with Brigette DePape, the former Senate page who held up a “Stop Harper” sign during the Throne Speech.[1] It seems that this act of civil disobedience has granted her immense benefits: she says that it has given her a “chance to meet with other people,” including with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. In another interview with the CBC, she said she received job offers from Michael Moore (who featured her on his webpage), the Council of Canadians, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and an unnamed journalistic organization.[2]

It is guaranteed that, without this act of protest, she would not have become such a coveted media interest. But at what cost did this come to Canada and its political institutions? Working as a page requires one to remain neutral in the course of the job and to serve Parliament; one must overcome partisan preferences and serve the country faithfully. Ms. DePape did not do this; she brought the institution of Parliament into disrepute. And for this, she has been rewarded with media attention and job offers.

Continue reading

Standard