In case, there is any misunderstanding, given what I wrote yesterday in my anger over the latest Senator Mike Duffy allegations, I wish to point out that Prime Ministers of Canada do NOT control what Senators do or don’t do.
In other words, just as former PM Jean Chretien cannot be held responsible in any way for former Liberal Senator Raymond Lavigne, Mr. Harper is not Mr. Duffy’s boss! Nor is he Pamela Wallin’s boss. Nor is he Patrick Brazeau’s boss.
Actually, there is a precedent on who does what in the Senate. In 1999, during the time Mr. Chretien was Prime Minister, the Senate voted to suspend Andrew Thompson for chronic absenteeism. In other words, it was not a Liberal Government scandal and the media did not presume that it was.
Therefore, PM Harper is in no way responsible for what his appointees do or have done — no matter how many times the media and opposition try to make it so.
To put it another way: The current Senate scandal is NOT a Harper scandal, nor is it a Conservative Government scandal. It is a “Senate” scandal.
This Wikipedia entry describes the relationship between the Senate and the House of Commons under our Constitution. What it reveals is that, even though Senators are appointed by our Governor General, on the advice of the standing prime minister, the Senate (the Upper House) takes precedence over the House of Commons (which is the Lower House). For example, it states in my link:
“The Senate is the upper house of parliament and the House of Commons is the lower house. This does not, however, imply that the Senate is more powerful than the House of Commons, merely that its members and officers outrank the members and officers of the House of Commons in the order of precedence for the purposes of protocol. Indeed, as a matter of practice and custom, the Commons is by far the dominant chamber. Although the approval of both houses is necessary for legislation, the Senate rarely rejects bills passed by the directly elected Commons. Moreover, the government is responsible solely to the House of Commons; the Prime Minister of Canada and the rest of Cabinet stay in office only while they retain the confidence of the Commons; the Senate does not exercise any such control. Although legislation can normally be introduced in either house, the majority of government bills originate in the House of Commons. Under the constitution, money bills must always originate in the House of Commons.”
I will repeat two things: The “government” is responsible solely to the House of Commons and the Senate’s members “outrank” members of Parliament. So, who is the head of today’s “government?” Prime Minister Harper. Where do Mr. Harper’s leadership and internal responsibilities lie? Within the House of Commons.
In fact, even that last point is debatable given the PM is not responsible for the behaviour of opposition leaders or their caucus.
Anyway, it is thanks to the Harper Government that Canada is doing so very well economically — no matter how much that reality is ignored by the mainstream media and no matter how hard the media and opposition try to convince Canadians that the current government is just as corrupt as the last Liberal ones.
Are they perfect? Of course not. Do they make mistakes? Yes, But are they corrupt? Have Conservative government members or the Conservative Party of Canada done anything resembling the Sponsorship Scandal? No, they haven’t.
The crux of the matter is that, in order to debunk the blame the media and opposition are trying to throw at the Conservative government regarding Senate issues, Canadians need to understand who does what in our parliamentary system.
So, just as the Raymond Lavigne and Andrew Thompson Senate issues were not a Chretien Liberal Government scandal, the Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau scandals are NOT a Harper Government scandal either!
However, as I said earlier, the Senators under an RCMP investigation now, are representative of a scandal — a Senate scandal!