Victoria dismisses BC NDP motion to axe Senate
Patrick Brazeau leaves the Senate following a vote on Parliament Hill in Ottawa November 5, 2013. The Senate voted to suspend senators Brazeau, Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy without pay. The Canadian Senate suspended three of its members - Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Brazeau - for "gross negligence" on Tuesday in a scandal over expense claims that has damaged the reputation of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (REUTERS)
The BC Liberals on Monday defeated a motion in the Legislature advocating the Senate be dissolved, indicating it’s a waste of time.
Bruce Ralston, the BC NDP Intergovernmental Affairs critic, tabled the motion in light of the ongoing expense scandal plaguing the Upper House.
While passing the motion would send a message to Ottawa that B.C. is now the third province to propose the idea in its legislature, the BC Liberals, mainly newly-elected backbenchers, showed little support for the proposal.
“I find it interesting that as we gather here today, the NDP are the ones that have been screaming for this legislature to be sitting, and the first motion that they bring up is in fact a federal issue, which has very little to do with the day-to-day interests of most British Columbians,” said MLA Marvin Hunt.
The BC Liberal representative for Surrey-Panorama defended the Senate as an institution of “sober second thought” and suggested it needs to be fixed, not abolished.
The BC NDP’s Mike Farnworth later said anything noble the Senate once stood for has been eroded.
“We have seen over the last several decades how the Senate has become a repository for patronage,” he said. “It is not based on merit, it has been based on connections and donations and as a place to put party fundraisers.”
In November, both Saskatchewan and Manitoba passed motions to abolish the Senate.