THUNDER BAY – Editorial – The Canadian Senate is an unelected, and from reports over the past several months, increasingly unaccountable. Think quick, can you name an Ontario Senator? Can you remember a time when an Ontario Senator took the time to hold any public meetings in Thunder Bay?
While some Senators are making headlines over their spending, and some pundits are pointing at the Conservatives and especially Prime Minister Harper over the antics of the Senate, the reality is this behaviour appears deeply rooted in the Senate.
The Hill Times is reporting, “In all, 26 Liberal Senators and 20 Conservative Senators were reimbursed twice as much than their personal average for travel during the March 1 to May 31, 2011 quarterly period when there were 11 Senate sitting days. Parliament was dissolved between March 26 and June 1 for the 41st general election which took place on May 2, 2011. During this period, the Senate also reimbursed members $415,000 for travel outside of the national capital region, totalling $1.15-million for all travel”.
Canadians are not only paying for the high-prices antics of the Senate, but it appears from this report that many of the Senators may well have used tax dollars to campaign for their respective parties.
In Western Canada, the idea of appointed, unaccountable and expensive Senators led to the idea of a “EEE Senate” one that is elected, equal and effective.
The federal Conservatives have through their appointments of Senators, only four have been elected. All of those Senators are from Alberta where the people vote for the Senators who will represent them.
Setting a course for a more effective Senate is going to take political courage from the Government.
Heading into a throne speech, the Government has the opportunity. The question will be do they have the courage?