JUNE 9TH, 2015 UPDATE: SENATE JUST PASSED ANTI-TERROR BILL. MORE HERE
Green party leader Elizabeth May is calling on the Senate to delay the final vote on C51, stating:
“Tomorrow, Canadians will learn the details of the Auditor General’s report on Senate expenses. We will find that 30 Senators have filed inappropriate expense claims and nine have had their files referred to the RCMP. On the very same day, the Senate is also scheduled to vote on C-51 at third reading. The seconder of the bill in the Senate is under investigation by the RCMP and has resigned from the Conservative caucus. The eyes of Canadians will be on the Senate tomorrow. If, on the same day that we learn the details of the Senate’s culture of misusing public funds, the Senate votes for a bill as massive and controversial as C-51, the harm to the Senate’s reputation could be irreparable.”
On political talk shows, both the NDP and Conservatives have been in sync regarding their messaging on the Senate. Those lines consist of the Senate has to be dealt with in large part because it’s “an unelected body that keeps vetoing the will of parliament”. It’s possible that if the Senate votes down C51 tomorrow, that the Conservatives will start making noise about the Senate vetoing a national security bill in favor of the popular approach to scraping the bill, and that parliament (as a result of this important legislation not going through) is not currently operating on full cylinders. Steven Harper therefore could prorogue Parliament within a few days.
It could very well be that the Conservative caucus has given a directive to the Conservative senators to vote down the anti-terror bill. Politically this would try and take the wind out of the sails of the surging NDP. A summer election would be possible if the Conservatives are playing politics, banking low voter turn out to stop an NDP surge. This would go against Harper’s law on early election calls, but with the Conservatives trailing in the polls, anything is possible. This could all explain why the NDP and Conservative messaging has changed over the past weekend on the Senate, and May’s unwillingness to see the Senate vote on the anti-terror bill. The NDP seem ready and willing to bring an election on.
Regardless of all the politics of this, whatever the Senate decides to do at this point, will be extremely self-serving. The Senate has already been irreparably damaged by passing bills with known constitutional flaws, and rather than being the House of Common’s sober second thought, they have continually demonstrated contempt for their jobs by voting along party lines, and abusing the public purse. They should be fixing flaws in these bills, and respecting tax payers money. A delay on the new anti-terror bill, would only delay the election, not the public perception of the chamber. A delay would only serve to solidify the public’s perception of it.
Canadians don’t care about the politics of the new anti-terror bill. They want it stopped! If that means an early election as a result of the senate voting it down, than so be it. I’m ready to vote on the best party that protects my civil rights. Are you?