Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to break the partisanship with the Senate has been the most important reform for the House of Councilors in decades. This change also puts more rigorous attention to legislation and is also a wildcard for the Liberal government, which can no longer direct or predict what the Senate will do.
In recent weeks, the government has been aggressive in passing bill C-10 in the House of Commons, but only faced the Senate, which refused to rubberize the controversial bill.
Senator David Richards, appointed by Trudeau in 2017, said in his speech on June 29 that Bill C-10 needed “heartfelt interests.”
“I always and forever oppose legislation that exposes freedom of expression to a slump in government surveillance, and I beg others to do the same,” said a longtime screenwriter and novelist. Said.
Richards was one of the five New Brunswick Senate candidates nominated for Trudeau by the Advisory Board. Donald Savoie, Chairman of the Canadian Research Committee on Administration and Governance at the University of Moncton, was one of the members of the panel.
“The process I was involved in was upright and straight,” Savoie said in an interview. “None of the candidates we submitted were seriously instructed by the Prime Minister’s Office. He chose from the five we suggested, but his office or he did I didn’t try to influence the people on that list. “
After taking office in 2015, Trudeau has completed the process of appointing a party to the Senate and has appointed 55 Senators as of June 22.
“They have some independence to challenge the government agenda in the past few weeks, which appointed senators never try to do,” Saboa said.
Savoie believes that the true independence of the senator is the most important change since 1965, when the senator was forced to retire at the age of 75.
“My preference is to carry out elected reforms, but otherwise, the status quo cannot be maintained, so in my view reforms are a step in the right direction.”
Senator group formed
Scott Tannas, the founder of the Western Financial Group, was elected to the Senate in Alberta and was subsequently appointed by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Tanas told the Epoch Times that the Senate renewal was concrete.
“In the Senate I entered in 2013, there were two large groups facing each other across the aisle, with a lot of hostility and partisan politics. For me, it was the Off-Broadway version of the House of Commons.” He said.
“Now it’s a completely different place where government leaders arrive with a bill from the House of Commons and have no clue as to whether it will pass. It wasn’t when I arrived.”
The composition of the House of Councilors has also changed radically. Former Liberal members formed the Senate Liberal Caucus when Trudeau removed the Senator from the Liberal Caucus in 2014. In 2019, the Caucus relaunched as a Progressive Senate Group (PSG) and currently has 12 members.
The Independent Senator Group (ISG) was formed in 2016 when 12 senators (6 non-members, 5 Conservatives, 1 Liberal Party) formed a nonpartisan working group. .. By October 2017, it was the largest caucuse in the Senate and currently has 41 members.
Tanas organized the Canadian Senator Group (CSG) shortly after the 2019 federal elections. Richards was an inaugural member, but Tanas hired most of his members from ISG. He said he was “big and awkward” and “captured a particular idealism.” The CSG has 12 members and aims to better represent the Canadian region, focus on “rigorous investigations” and maintain politeness in the Senate.
Caucus requires nine senators to enjoy official status in a 105-seat conference room. Currently, in addition to PSG, ISG, and CSG senators, 20 senators are sitting as Conservatives, eight are not affiliated, and 12 vacancies remain.
“Good discussion, good dialogue”
After Trudeau came to power in 2015, the title “Leader of the Senate Government” was changed to “Representative of the Senate Government.” Senator Mark Gold of Quebec is currently in a role, including convening a meeting to present the government’s broader agenda.
Mr Tanas said Senators are trying to reach an agreement on how to work with the government, but “sometimes they don’t … it can sometimes be a little wool, but most If you have a good discussion, a good dialogue. “
Senator Raymond Gagne and Senator Patty Rabkan Benson are working with Gold as legislative vice-members and government liaisons, respectively. Tanas likens Gagne to the legislative “main distributors who go out and count votes” and Love Kambenson to “people who interact with others on the day-to-day agenda of the Chamber of Commerce.” ..
Mr Tanas said Senate amendments were rare during the Harper era and occurred primarily when “something slipped through” and the government wanted to make such amendments. The current Senate amends about a quarter of the bill.
“Now the government doesn’t know what they will get when they come in, so we offer them all sorts of amendments. Some accept and some don’t. It’s a much more fluid and open place than when I first arrived, it’s for sure. “
The interests of the new senator are also different.
“There is more individualism in the senators who continue to arrive,” Tanas said.
“Many people bring franchises and a single focus and personal interest, which makes it a little harder for everyone to form around the team and do things in a consensus-coordinated way.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is that Senators are hesitant to reject bills that have already been passed by the House of Commons.
“I don’t think there is a growing tendency to do that,” he says.
“But I think it would be an interesting dynamic if a conservative government was elected, because the Trudeau process produced mainly centre-left people, despite the independent election process. Many may feel that the conservative agenda is more than they can take. “