The government tabled its revamped Senate-reform bill yesterday. It included a new clause that would allow senators to serve a nine-year term and be reappointed if their term should be interrupted – but only to complete that nine-year term. Not that it matters, really, since this is all unconstitutional anyway, and Ontario is now going to join forces with Quebec in taking the government to court if they try to decide this process unilaterally. (And no, the government is not answering questions on the actual implications of this.)
This bill is so badly written and so blatantly unconstitutional that I can't help but wonder what the endgame really is. On the face of it, it allows Harper to shrug and say, “We tried, but it’s those darn provinces that won’t cooperate,” while he makes increasingly unseemly appointments to the upper chamber, if only to prove his point. But otherwise, I wonder if this isn’t simply being used as a distraction to keep clueless politicians and pundits, those in dire need of some remedial civic literacy, busy debating the merits of this irredeemable bill while he carries on with his own plans. Consider that he’s passed that flawed mega-trials bill (which the NDP rolled over on) and those spending bills that eliminate more transparency from the PMO. Is this just a distraction from the basic duties that MPs are supposed to discharge (rather than fretting over the constitutional legitimacy of the upper chamber) and the oversight work that their counterparts there are actually doing in their place? These are all just games Harper is playing, and we need to remember to keep our eyes on him.
As was previously mentioned, the RCMP have spoken with former Liberal MP Marlene Jennings about the financial misappropriation for the G8 legacy fund. Jennings speaks to CTV about it here. Here is a bit more about the particular laws that she alleges were broken, which the RCMP officers who interviewed her were particularly interested in.
Dalton McGuinty said it’s up to the federal government to call a public inquiry into the G20 arrests, while Vic Toews insisted during question period that it’s the province’s jurisdiction. Seriously, guys?
Here’s a pretty good takedown of a proposed ban on floor-crossings.