The Senate scandal is NOT a Harper Gov’t scandal!


Credit Sam at Teaching Kids News.

Credit Sam at Teaching Kids News.

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!

13 thoughts on “The Senate scandal is NOT a Harper Gov’t scandal!

  1. I agree fully Sandy.Only the ignorant and PM Harper haters would blame the misdeeds of these senators on the Prime Minister. A little like saying the Conservatives don,t have a majority because 50 % of the population did not vote for them.


  2. Pingback: Latest allegation against Sentor Mike Duffy absolutely stunning! « Crux of the Matter

  3. Indeed Bertie the “stolen election meme” is repeated ad nauseam, still isn’t true.
    The numbers, from election’s Canada.
    24,000,000 eligable voters.
    14,720,000 voted
    40 % voted Conservative
    30% voted NDP
    19% voted liberal
    5,888,000 voted Conservative
    4,416,000 voted NDP
    2,796,000 voted Liberal
    So about 60% of actual votes cast went to PM Harpers Conservatives.
    Javk Layton got 20,000 votes 25,000 in his riding did not vote for him
    Bob Rae got less than 50% of the vote in his riding.
    Fun with numbers eh?
    Great post Sandy!
    Cheers Bubba Brown


  4. To play Devil’s Advocate for a second here, the way Nigel Wright was involved, does that not make the Conservatives somehow complicit in some fashion, even a little?


  5. Not at all Sandy,
    My party right or wrong, if right to be kept right,
    if wrong to be set right.
    Duffy if the charges are proven should go to jail. IMO
    PM Harper can recommend, the GG apoints, he Senator Duffy going rogue is his doing not the Conservative Party of Canadas.
    Only in Canada could the paying back of taxpayer money be a scandal.
    Lousy optics, for sure.


  6. I fully support Stephen Harper and the Conservative government. Please give us a referendum on abolishing the Senate.


  7. Michael Harkov — I hear you. But, how is it a PMO problem when a PMO employee gives a Senator a gift to pay off his debt. I have never understood the problem here. Wright used his own money. Wright had nothing to gain other than stopping the media bleeding for the Conservatives. And, who can blame him? We see the result day in and day out.

    But, perhaps you have hit on something. The media and opposition must keep some focus on Wright in order to make it a Government scandal. Yet, as I said, how is private money an issue other than in the most outrageous conspiracy theories.


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  9. He used his own money in a way that was totally unprofessional and improper. The only reason you can’t see that is you are an unthinking partisan zombie.


  10. LAS — I am leaving your comment up because I want my regular readers to see how some deal with a difference of opinion with ad hominem attacks. I repeat: What Duffy did was wrong. I have never ever made excuses for him.

    However, it is a Senate scandal not a Government scandal. The PM is NOT the boss of the Senate. Read up on how our Constitution works. But don’t leave any more comments here. This is a discussion forum not a child’s playground.


  11. The only question that could possibly be asked of PM Harper is: Who is doing your vetting of these appointees? The actions, appropriate or inappropriate. belong to the person performing said actions not to anyone else.

    While my quick judgement is scorn for Duffy and the other sinful senators I am not fully committed to that position pending further information. All I see now is a media fixation which means that – Duffy is guilty/innocent/the devil incarnate/walks on water/will steal the fingers off your hand/will give you the shirt off his back.


  12. Totally agree about the Nigel Wright thing. I’ve quizzed a few people (Conservative and Liberals) seeking a specific reason for this 90 thousand dollar loan being treated as a ‘scandal’, and the only answer I can ever get is a muttered, “it’s the optics”. Sorry, no…if Duffy were Liberal or NDP (or even independent), then yeah, it’s a potential conflict. If Nigel Wright wasn’t a member of the PMO and just some Conservative-friendly businessman, sure…but a Conservative Party member giving another Conservative Party member a loan? How is that possibly an issue? You don’t ‘bribe’ people on your own side!


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