Federal NDP leader visiting Courtenay to lobby for Senate abolition

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is on a nationwide tour to speak about his party's plan to abolish the Senate.

THOMAS MULCAIR

THOMAS MULCAIR

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is on a nationwide tour to speak about his party’s plan to abolish the Senate.

He will be in Courtenay on Thursday (Aug. 29) at 6:30 p.m. at the Zocalo Café.

Dubbed the ‘roll up the red carpet’ campaign, Mulcair is spreading the NDP claim that the Senate is full of unelected party hacks who have no business writing or rewriting Canada’s laws. The party has long called for the Senate to be scrapped.

Mulcair launched the campaign Monday with a speech on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

He says the Liberals and Tories have fostered a culture of entitlement when it comes to Senate appointments, noting spending scandals involving Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy, Mac Harb and Pamela Wallin.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has referred questions about Senate reform to the Supreme Court of Canada.

It has asked whether Parliament can enact fixed terms for senators for eight, nine or 10 years, or for the life of two or three Parliaments of four years each.

According to the Parliament of Canada’s website, “The Senate is the upper house in Canada’s bicameral parliamentary democracy. The original Senate, created in 1867, had 72 seats, but more seats were added as the country grew. The Constitution now directs that the Senate have 105 appointed members.

“The Senate was created to counterbalance representation by population in the House of Commons. In recent years, the Senate has come to bolster representation of groups often underrepresented in Parliament, such as aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and women.

“The Senate was also intended to provide Parliament with a second chance to consider bills before they are passed. Senators may pass bills, propose amendments to them or vote to defeat them.”

With a file from CBC

 

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