THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay-Superior North New Democrat candidate Bruce Hyer is calling for a full accounting of travel and campaign expenses of Senators sent to campaign for political parties during elections.
“Today I’m here doing something that no Senator has ever done: registering with Elections Canada as a candidate to actually run for my job.” said Hyer, as he handed in his signed nomination papers to Elections Canada officials. “Instead, they are appointed to the Senate by their party cronies. They then use their budgets to do partisan political work. Some Conservative Senators are even facing jail time for their role in a scheme that could have violated elections spending rules. Another Liberal Senator was convicted just last month for fraud surrounding travel reimbursements.”
While the annual base Senate salary is $132,300, some appointees earn more than $200,000. Details on Senators’ travel expenses are unavailable to the public.
“But now, in the ultimate insult to democracy, we have appointed Senators being flown into our region to tell us who to vote for. Are their travel and campaign expenses being billed to taxpayers?” Hyer demanded. “Are they campaigning on the taxpayers’ dime?”
Hyer gained national attention when one of his Private Members’ Bills, the Climate Change Accountability Act, was killed by a surprise Senate vote before it was even debated. It was the first time in Canadian history that the politically appointed Senate had killed a bill passed by elected MPs in the House of Commons without giving it due consideration.
“An unelected and unaccountable Liberal Senator is campaigning for Liberal candidates across Northern Ontario, and we don’t even know who is paying for this campaign work, or how much,” noted Hyer. “Yet the local Liberal candidate is quoted as saying he still supports a politically appointed Senate. This is neither democratic nor financially accountable.”
“Sir John A. Macdonald said the Senate was to be a place of ‘sober second thought’ so that bills would receive careful fine-tuning before becoming law. This is clearly no longer the case. The place is now being used by party hacks for political campaigning and fundraising …and taxpayers are paying $90 million a year for them to do it. It’s become downright dangerous to our democracy. It’s time to abolish this anti-democratic institution.”