Trudeau-appointed senator resigns from post during election
Senator André Pratte formally announced his resignation from the senate while election results are being broadcasted.
He made his announcement public in a letter published to Twitter.
A new poll has shown that more than 50 percent of Canadians think that 2019 was a bad year for Canada, according to Global News.
The poll captured the opinions of Canadians on a wide range of subjects, including climate change and the economy, along with other minor issues. The most pressing issues, however, were subjects like climate change and wealth inequality, which Canadians are particularly pessimistic about.
on top of this, a significant amount of Canadians (29 percent) said that they were lonely “most of the time.” Another cause for concern was global warming, where 75 percent of Canadians expected global temperatures to increase.
Despite these results, the Vice President of Ipsos still thinks Canadians are feeling positive about life in Canada: “You know, while some things that Canadians are worried about have met these negative predictions … I do think that on the whole, they are feeling positive.”
This accompanies the sentiment of positivity that Canadians feel about 2020. Over three-quarters of Canadians feel that the new year will produce better results than the last year.
Nevertheless, the majority of Canadians feel that under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the economy will get worse in 2020. This negativity pales in comparison to other countries, who have expressed a far more negative outlook.
A Trudeau appointed Senator, who holds broad legislative power in the Senate, has raised some eyebrows through this more-than-friendly attitude to China, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
This comes after he accepted an invitation to speak at a Chinese government-endorsed club, which has been praised for endorsing friendship with the communist state. It is unclear whether the senator, whose name is Yuen Pau Woo, was paid for his appearance.
The club, known as the Canada-China Friendship Society, said that the Senator would speak at the Ottawa event on the topic “Rethinking China Relations.” Senator Woo was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016. Additionally, Woo is the spokesperson for the largest voting bloc in the Senate, giving him significant legislative power.
As well as this, the Friendship society has close links to the Chinese state and is run out of a state-sanctioned agency in Beijing. They are also known for publishing Chinese propaganda on Twitter.
Senator Woo also retweets pro-Chinese propaganda and has expressed enthusiastic support over the Chinese telecom giant, Huawei.
The senator behind a new faction in Parliament’s upper chamber says #WEXIT was “tangentially” behind this, the latest attempt at non-partisan independence in the Canadian Senate.
In an interview with The Post Millennial, former Conservative senator Scott Tannas and leader of the nascent Canadian Senators Group said the move is geared toward having a say in committee picks, non-partisan research, and also suggested it could be a bulwark against “group-think”.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in this group at all, who thinks Wexit is a great idea, or it’s time has come. We’re all there to fight for Canada,” said the Albertan senator. “But in the context of making sure our regions are protected and advanced.”
The Canadian Senators Group also includes Doug Black (Alberta), Robert Black (Ontario), Larry W. Campbell (B.C.), Stephen Greene (Nova Scotia), Diane F. Griffin (P.E.I.), Elaine McCoy (AB), David Richards (New Brunswick), Josée Verner (Quebec), Pamela Wallin (Saskachewan) and Vernon White (ON).
Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, referred to the appointed legislature that provides regional oversight for government bills with power to introduce laws unrelated to spending, as chamber for “sober second thought”.
However, in contemporary politics and on the Main Street circa 2019, opinions on the Senate range from a desire for greater accountability (some provinces like Alberta actually hold non-binding votes for senate-appointees), to its abolishment altogether.
And for nearly 150 years, senators were appointed by the sitting prime minister, and for the most part showed unbroken partisan loyalty to their caucuses. But that all changed in April 2014 when Trudeau cut existing Liberal appointees in the Upper Chamber from the national caucus.
The rookie leader had been at the Liberal helm for barely a year before making this nation-changing decision – one that Dale Smith, a parliamentary reporter and author of a book on how Canada’s Westminster government operates, describes as “a slow moving train wreck ever since.”
“It goes back to when Trudeau kicked out his senators and said it was about wanting more independence in the Senate, it was really more about a bunch of (spending) audits coming out,” Smith told TPM. “It was like killing two birds with one stone, independent senators and not dealing with any blowback the Auditor General finds.”
That report by Auditor General of Canada Michael Ferguson, delivered in June 2015 after examining 116 senators’ expenses, found 30 to contain inappropriate claims (more than a dozen senators opted for arbitration to square accounts) and referred nine to RCMP for further investigation. No charges from Ferguson’s determinations ever materialized.
However, his audit was launched over questionable living expenses claimed by Stephen Harper appointees Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy, as well Liberal Senator Mac Harb, that resulted in charges against all three.
The Crown ultimately withdrew prosecution of fraud-related charges against Brazeau (July 2016) and Harb (May 2016), shortly after Duffy beat four of 31 counts of bribery, fraud and breach of trust that actually stuck and that the public prosecutor pursued at Ontario Superior Court.
Trudeau’s decision to abandon his Senate caucus occurred barely three months before Duffy was charged by RCMP, one of which included accepting a “bribe” from Harper’s then chief-of-staff Nigel Wright for $90,000 to cover disputed housing expenses. Strangely, Wright was never charged for tendering the cash.
After winning a majority government 18 months later Trudeau continued his senate-reform in January 2016, by way of Order-in-Council, establishing an advisory board to weed through applicants for “independents” to fill Senate vacancies.
By March of that year, the Independent Senator Group was formed; an amalgam of Trudeau’s original castaways and destination for new blood. It had also become haven for embattled Harper appointees tapped for the Senate, including Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin, who has now thrown her lot in with Tannas’ new venture.
But the senator from High River Alberta at the Canadian Senators Group vanguard, a former insurance agent whom Harper tapped for the Senate in 2012, distributes blame for the Senate’s current state of affairs evenly between the current prime minister and his antecedent.
“I saw the decision that Harper made not to fill 20-some senate seats he had (before leaving office). And both of those decisions, the one by Harper and one by Trudeau, had an enormous impact on where the Senate is today,” said Tannas when asked about the Trudeau effect.
“In my view, both things have accelerated what we’re seeing in the Senate now, to where we’re at a tipping point, where changes will become permanent changes.”
In rare public criticism of what’s come of the institution in the wake of Trudeau’s decision, Senate Director of communications Karine Leroux made the following comments about this recent turn of events in an email to TPM:
“We are currently living through the repercussions of Prime Minister Trudeau’s ill-thought-out idea of Senate reform. While he was leader of the third party opposition, Justin Trudeau miscalculated the need of having senators move forward the government legislation in the Senate. He failed to see the long term impact and implication of not recognizing the needs of having a Government Caucus and an Opposition Caucus. (Formation of the Canadian Senators Group) is the second example in the last two weeks that shows Trudeau’s ‘non-partisan and independent Senate’ isn’t working.”
The first example is the resignation of Trudeau appointee Senator André Pratte, who made his official intentions known on federal election night Oct. 21. His reasons: he could not fulfill his role “to the level of excellence expected”.
In the days following, Pratte penned an op-ed published by establishment media where the ex-senator blamed the Trudeau government for failing to codify rules of Senate independence in a regime that still included whipped Conservatives, and criticized Liberals for “exercising pressure on independent Senators so they vote a certain way.”
“One difficulty is that the new practices have not been enshrined in the rules of the Senate and in the Parliament of Canada Act. Consequently, it would be easy for a future government to return to the old system, where the Senate was a pale copy of the extremely partisan House of Commons,” writes Pratte.
“Another issue is that partisanship and the ‘party line’ are still very much present in the Senate. Conservative Senators are members of the national conservative caucus. They are whipped. Their agenda is to obstruct all government legislation, as much as the rules allow. And the rules allow quite a lot.”
A glaring example of “party line” Senators would be Liberal-friendly pollster Donna Dasko, appointed to the Senate by Trudeau in June 2018. Earlier this year, Dasko was slammed by Conservative senators for misusing her budget to commission a poll touting public support for Trudeau’s Senate reforms.
While the Independent Senators Group held an outright majority in the previous Senate, the emergence of the Canadian Senators Group resets the ISG’s balance of power to a plurality.
The so-called Independent Senators Group still holds 49 of the Senate’s 105 seats, but there remain 27 aligned with Conservatives, nine still representing as Liberals, six independents and 11 from the Canadian Senators Group. There are also three vacancies; one in Saskatchewan and two in Quebec.
From Tannas vantage, after nearly seven years in the Senate, his purportedly non-partisan CGS is a chance to get senate independence right. While the group welcomes additional members, it has pledged to cap membership at 25.
“We don’t all agree on our politics by any means. We are centrists most of us, centre-left or centre-right. But what does unite us is the approach to the job. We want good solid research that we can count on as being independent and fact-based that we can sandwich between the sales job from the government about why the bill is so wonderful…(and) from the Opposition about why it’s a terrible bill,” said Tannas.
“It will be up to us to work together to gather the facts, but come to our own views independently and to transmit those views, to be transparent about our decisions individually and be accountable individually, as opposed to in any kind of a group-think environment.”
It’s been nearly 100 years since a party that lost a federal election formed the government.
Since then, the clear political norm in Canada has been that the party with the most seats forms the government. And in most cases, when a leader of a party who was Prime Minister loses power, that leader resigns.
While minority governments often don’t last long, once again the convention has been that the party with the most seats remains in government until they lose a confidence vote, at which case there is a new federal election.
For nearly 100 years, that’s how we’ve done things here in Canada.
But now, the Trudeau Liberals and their media enablers are laying the groundwork for the destruction of those democratic norms, in a bid to remain in power even if they lose.
Let me say this as clear as possible: If the Liberals win fewer seats than the Conservatives, it would be insane, unacceptable, and anti-democratic for the Liberals to remain in power.
Just think about it:
The Liberals went into the election with a majority government. If they not only lose their majority but also lose so many seats that the Conservatives surpass them, then it will be an unmistakable message from the Canadian People that they want Trudeau gone.
For Trudeau to remain in power despite such a rejection from the Canadian People would be a disgrace, and would devastate any remaining faith Canadians have in our national democracy. After all, people would think “what difference does a vote make if you can defeat a government, and then that government stays in power anyway?”
Clearly, there is something very disturbing going on here as the results approach. As pointed out by J.J. McCullough on Twitter, the attempt to normalize the potential of Trudeau’s violation of Canada’s norms is crazy:
“These journalists are all “it’s normal, it’s normal!!” It is absolutely NOT normal. In 150 years of Canadian history, exactly ONE prime minister tried pulling this stunt (in 1925)—and it caused one of the single biggest democratic crises in Canadian political history.”
“I’m sorry—the media’s reporting on this idea that Trudeau doesn’t have to give up power if Scheer wins a minority has been pure propaganda. They never mention what a radical break with 94 years of precedent it would be. They just try to spin something deeply abnormal as normal.”
McCullough is 100 percent correct here. It is not at all normal for Trudeau (or any PM) to try and stay in power after being defeated.
If Trudeau loses and tries to stay in power, it will be anti-democratic, anti-Canadian, and all of us must speak out against it.