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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Some times it is difficult when doing a commentary like this to separate your personal views from your responsibilities as Leader of a political party. I am sure the same can be said for individuals in my shoes across the political spectrum. You definitely have a responsibility to the members of your party to represent them in the best way possible and to present philosophical arguments that backup your particular party’s point of view and agenda.

Some of the views that I am going to express this morning may not be compatible with some members of my political party or may not be politically correct but like many Canadians, I have done a lot of thinking this week on the issue of what to do with the Canadian Senate. I know I have already commented on this issue in the past two weeks and I promise this will probably be my last comments for a few weeks as there are certainly other issues that need addressing. But some things just sit in your craw and you have to get them off of your chest.

First of all, the solution for the appointment of individuals to the Senate and their ongoing integrity could simply be addressed by asking each and every one who has been given this privilege to sign a letter of resignation and file it with the Parliamentary Ethics Commissioner before they are sworn in. I think most reasonable people would not take this as a personal slight but look at it as a safeguard for the Canadian taxpayer. I personally would not have any problem signing such a letter because I know it would never be used. It would also ensure that those charged with selecting individuals would do the proper homework before passing on their selections to the Prime Minister of the day.

Secondly in the province of Saskatchewan we had legislation passed in our provincial legislature four years ago to elect Senators from this province. Since that time, we have had provincial elections, municipal elections and ample opportunity to present a slate of elected individuals to the Prime Minister of Canada to choose his appointees from.

This act alone would not have guaranteed integrity but those individuals elected by the people of Saskatchewan would have had to face the acid test of the voter. Brad Wall did not live up to the commitment he made to the people of this province and one of the results is a Saskatchewan Senator who has had to leave the governing party caucus because of over $300,000 in travel expenses which cannot be properly accounted for.

Finally, it is very apparent to me that the Conservative Party chose people like Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin because they were Canadian media stars and because they were journalists and therefore supposedly not “tainted” with life-long partisan brushes so that they could be big time fundraisers for the Conservative Party of Canada.

This façade of impartiality would make individuals like this more believable to the dinner crowds than someone who had been a partisan political operative all of their life. These people could then use all of the tools available to them offered by the Senate of Canada and do some of this partisan work at taxpayers’ expense. This is a practice not unique to the Conservative Party of Canada but has been practised in the past particularly by the Liberal Party of Canada.

This is what has brought the Senate of Canada into such disrepute that Canadians are prepared to abolish part of their constitutional birthright. Because none of the political powers that be want to stand up and explain to Canadians how they have been abusing the system for their own short-term political gain, they will take the easy road and talk about eliminating the institution rather than fixing it for the good of Canadians.

Our own Premier who didn’t attend the Premier’s conference for “austerity reasons” last year is now going to charge off to the same meeting with some phony bolognie referendum from the Sask Party faithful showing that he is the only leader across Canada in this movement to abolish the Canadian Senate. This is typical Brad Wall – read the polls – try and get in front of public opinion – and be a hero for the moment rather than rolling up your sleeves, getting down to the basics and fixing the problem. It is the same approach he and his friends had when they were members of the PC Party. Rather than stay and fix the problems it was easier to run off with a few new-found disgruntled Liberal friends and form a new party, change your name, change your spots and a way you go to political reincarnation. That’s not how you do nation building. Building a successful country takes hard work, takes compromise and most of all takes vision of what your country should look like a hundred years from now as our Founding Fathers did many years ago in Charlottetown and Quebec City when they gave up their individual wants for the collective good. That takes courage – not short-term political gain.

Your feedback is welcome on anything you see in the Monday Morning Commentary. Please send your comments to contact @pcsask.ca. If you know of anyone that would be interested in receiving this by email, please forward me their email address. Also – don’t forget to check out our website at pcsask.ca.

These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.

PC PARTY OF SASKATCHEWAN

MONDAY MORNING COMMENTARY BY LEADER RICK SWENSON

          JUNE 3, 2013

Some times it is difficult when doing a commentary like this to separate your personal views from your responsibilities as Leader of a political party.  I am sure the same can be said for individuals in my shoes across the political spectrum.  You definitely have a responsibility to the members of your party to represent them in the best way possible and to present philosophical arguments that backup your particular party’s point of view and agenda. 

Some of the views that I am going to express this morning may not be compatible with some members of my political party or may not be politically correct but like many Canadians, I have done a lot of thinking this week on the issue of what to do with the Canadian Senate.  I know I have already commented on this issue in the past two weeks and I promise this will probably be my last comments for a few weeks as there are certainly other issues that need addressing.  But some things just sit in your craw and you have to get them off of your chest.

First of all, the solution for the appointment of individuals to the Senate and their ongoing integrity could simply be addressed by asking each and every one who has been given this privilege to sign a letter of resignation and file it with the Parliamentary Ethics Commissioner before they are sworn in.  I think most reasonable people would not take this as a personal slight but look at it as a safeguard for the Canadian taxpayer.  I personally would not have any problem signing such a letter because I know it would never be used.  It would also ensure that those charged with selecting individuals would do the proper homework before passing on their selections to the Prime Minister of the day.

Secondly in the province of Saskatchewan we had legislation passed in our provincial legislature four years ago to elect Senators from this province.  Since that time, we have had provincial elections, municipal elections and ample opportunity to present a slate of elected individuals to the Prime Minister of Canada to choose his appointees from.

This act alone would not have guaranteed integrity but those individuals elected by the people of Saskatchewan would have had to face the acid test of the voter.  Brad Wall did not live up to the commitment he made to the people of this province and one of the results is a Saskatchewan Senator who has had to leave the governing party caucus because of over $300,000 in travel expenses which cannot be properly accounted for.

Finally, it is very apparent to me that the Conservative Party chose people like Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin because they were Canadian media stars and because they were journalists and therefore supposedly not “tainted” with life-long partisan brushes so that they could be big time fundraisers for the Conservative Party of Canada.

This façade of impartiality would make individuals like this more believable to the dinner crowds than someone who had been a partisan political operative all of their life.  These people could then use all of the tools available to them offered by the Senate of Canada and do some of this partisan work at taxpayers’ expense.  This is a practice not unique to the Conservative Party of Canada but has been practised in the past particularly by the Liberal Party of Canada. 

This is what has brought the Senate of Canada into such disrepute that Canadians are prepared to abolish part of their constitutional birthright.  Because none of the political powers that be want to stand up and explain to Canadians how they have been abusing the system for their own short-term political gain, they will take the easy road and talk about eliminating the institution rather than fixing it for the good of Canadians. 

Our own Premier who didn’t attend the Premier’s conference for “austerity reasons” last year is now going to charge off to the same meeting with some phony bolognie referendum from the Sask Party faithful showing that he is the only leader across Canada in this movement to abolish the Canadian Senate.  This is typical Brad Wall – read the polls – try and get in front of public opinion – and be a hero for the moment rather than rolling up your sleeves, getting down to the basics and fixing the problem.  It is the same approach he and his friends had when they were members of the PC Party.  Rather than stay and fix the problems it was easier to run off with a few new-found disgruntled Liberal friends and form a new party, change your name, change your spots and a way you go to political reincarnation.  That’s not how you do nation building.  Building a successful country takes hard work, takes compromise and most of all takes vision of what your country should look like a hundred years from now as our Founding Fathers did many years ago in Charlottetown and Quebec City when they gave up their individual wants for the collective good.  That takes courage – not short-term political gain.   

Your feedback is welcome on anything you see in the Monday Morning Commentary.  Please send your comments to contact @pcsask.ca.  If you know of anyone that would be interested in receiving this by email, please forward me their email address.  Also – don’t forget to check out our website at pcsask.ca.

             

These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.

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