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Liberal Reaction On Senate Disappointing

November 7, 2007

I’ve got to say, I’m finding the Liberal response to the NDP idea of holding a referendum abolishing the Senate rather disappointing.

Instead of really taking about the issue, the Liberals are instead complaining about how this is a partisan squeeze play (with some Liberals getting a little ridiculous with Chicken Little-like Declarations of Constitutional Doom!)

Well, duh! This is a partly (I say partly because I do believe that changes to the Senate is the actually end goal here) a partisan squeeze play, and the Liberals are acting in exactly the way the Conservatives and NDP probably wanted them to: defending the status quo while complaining about how they are being picked on. These are two positions that the Liberals don’t want to be in.

The sad thing is, it was so easy for the Liberals to avoid springing the trap. How so? By presenting an alternative (Maybe a Citizen’s Assembly on Senate Reform, then a referendum on their decision? Maybe suggesting reforms to the House electoral system instead?). By presenting another approach to Senate reform, in the form of a parliamentary motion, the Liberal could have gotten media attention and therefore control of the message.

Well, I’m obviously not a Liberal, so I guess any advice I give should be taken with a grain of salt. But I’m so disappointed that the discussion in Liberal quarters is dominated by partisanship as opposed to addressing the need to change somehow an institution which is unacceptable in its current form in the 21st Century.

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