Archive for May, 2011
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to appoint to the Senate three failed Conservative candidates – including two senators who quit to run in the election – is reaping growing calls to abolish the upper house since, critics say, it now appears the Tories can’t be trusted to reform the chamber.
Jason Kenney, who remains immigration minister after last week’s cabinet shuffle, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to reform the Senate Sunday.
Kenney responded to criticism, notably by some provincial premiers, of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to appoint three losing candidates in the May 2 election to the upper chamber of Parliament.
Speaking on CTV’s Question Period, Kenney said: “(The provinces) can fix this by bringing in provincial elections for senators.”
Kenney held up the example of the 2007 appointment of Bert Brown to the Senate. Brown was the second person appointed to the upper chamber in Canadian history after winning provincial senate elections. He won the election, sponsored by the government of Alberta, in 2004 by more than 300,000 votes. deals with election of senators – before the end of its mandate in 4 1 &2 years.
Uppal lashed out at Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter who, earlier this week, condemned the appointments. Uppal said he was “equally disappointed” that the premiers hadn’t consulted with voters to fill potential Senate vacancies in their provinces.
Wall, in particular, was very critical of Harper, saying the prime minister had taken “away momentum for change” at the provincial level and set back the cause of Senate reform.
“It will probably increase calls that we hear from time to time just saying, ‘Do we really need this institution?’ ” the Saskatchewan premier added.
Uppal warned that if provinces didn’t set up Senate elections, and pay for them without Ottawa’s help, the Harper government would keep appointing more senators.
“Provinces that do not take us up on our offer, we will fill those Senate vacancies in those provinces with individuals who support our Senate reform goals,” he said.
Wall’s nosing in on federal issues in recent months is perplexing. He has nothing really to gain from, first, supporting a potential Harper minority government during the election and, second, taking the lead in criticizing the prime minister’s Senate appointments. No one asked him for his opinion on the former, and if he felt so strongly about the latter, he should have pledged to hold an election for senators-in-waiting in November’s provincial election.
There is no need for the federal government to fund these elections. As the Tiger points out, the precedent has been set in the United States. Once you start appointing elected senators, such as Bert Brown, it begins to de-legitimize those who got to the Red Chamber based on connections or political expediency. It can happen.
I like Wall, but I’m afraid he has a bit of tendency to open his mouth without invitation, and this might get him into trouble some day.
Sean Shaw, our earnest city councillor-in-waiting, writes to the StarPhoenix today about how politicians are elected to lead, damn it, and it’s about damn time they vote on the recycling issue already:
City councillors are elected to make decisions on our behalf. When those decisions are particularly important to the direction of our city, there are mechanisms at council’s disposal to engage, consult and gain feedback from residents. On the issue of recycling, council over the past five years has received numerous studies and reports, engaged residents through several community consultations, and had countless debates both in public and behind closed doors. It is the role of city councillors to sift through the mountain of paper, consider the range of opinions gathered from the public, and consider the interest of their wards and the city as a whole. Ultimately, it’s their responsibility to demonstrate leadership by making the tough decisions. While there are occasions to ask the public to cast the deciding vote on an issue, recycling is not one of them. This is what councillors are elected to do. It’s time to make a decision. It’s time for some leadership.
Sean Shaw, December 2010:
For the most part, I’ve attempted to steer away from specific issues on this blog, tending instead to focus on broad issues and my vision of Saskatoon in the future.
However, I will kick myself if I don’t highlight a topic I am very passionate about – public participation in our civic government. [emphasis mine–ed.]
We should be striving for a city were [sic] citizens are aware, informed, and engaged in how our city is run and the process by which decisions are made on our behalf by elected and unelected officials. I’ve previously touched on the subject of public engagement and the need to involve Saskatoon residents in the decision making process. However, without a commitment by our civic government to increased transparency and accountability in the day-to-day operation of our city, engaging residents isn’t worth our time or money.
How about this, Shaw? To decide this whole bullshit recycling issue once and for all, how about having the public “shift through the mountain of paper, consider the range of opinions gathered from the public, and consider the interest of their wards and the city as a whole”?
You know, let the public participate. This debate’s been raging for a few years now. Let them decide for themselves. Allow access to all this data to anyone and everyone who wants it. If they want mandatory curbside recycling, purportedly at $4 or $5 per month [cough-bullshit!-cough], they will vote for it.
Because you can’t have it both ways. You can’t just call for public participation and then deny their voice when it doesn’t convenience your agenda.
Let’s have a referendum, and maybe after all that, whatever the outcome, Shaw will finally shut up about it.
But don’t count on it.
The verdict of our voters which condemned the injustice of maintaining protection for protection’s sake enjoins upon the people’s servants the duty of exposing and destroying the brood of kindred evils which are the unwholesome progeny of paternalism. This is the bane of republican institutions and the constant peril of our government by the people. It degrades to the purposes of wily craft the plan of rule our fathers established and bequeathed to us as an object of our love and veneration. It perverts the patriotic sentiments of our countrymen and tempts them to pitiful calculation of the sordid gain to be derived from their Government’s maintenance. It undermines the self-reliance of our people and substitutes in its place dependence upon governmental favoritism.
Were this man a candidate today.
h/t … I’m not sure.
I broke a hundred for the first time during my last round of last season. It was a big psychological barrier of mine since I began playing golf on a semi-regular basis five years ago. I had been flirting with that score for a couple of years, once in a while breaking 50 over nine holes but never being consistent enough to follow up on the back nine. Until that last round last year.
This year, my goal is to average a hundred. My first outing, featuring my new set of Taylormade irons, which include a three and four hybrid, occurred last Friday morning at Holiday Park’s back nine. Six-thirty was the tee-time, and no one — save the grounds crew — was on the course.
I shot one-over on seven holes, while I ended up picking up the ball on a par four and par five. The new clubs felt terrific. I was shooting long and straight. I need to work on club selection, but I felt confident. My drive wasn’t too bad but the spring slide was back to its old tricks. I’ll work it out by the summer. My approach chips were shit — I can only work on them more — and my putts were as good as they could get on the rough greens.
52 over nine.