Mike Duffy's speech yesterday should have reminded all Canadians why we have a Senate. Mitchell Anderson writes in The Tyee:
Harper's response to Mike Duffy's disloyalty has been thermonuclear: essentially to set a precedent where the PMO can unseat the same senators recently appointed at a whim and without due process -- relying on a legal anachronism dating back to 1300.
As Duffy told his colleagues yesterday, the Senate is the last brake on an imperial prime minister:
If successful, Harper would succeed in further advancing his incremental coup d'état of the PMO on our government institutions. The motion being rammed through the upper chamber would remove about the only good thing you can say about the job-for-life jackpot enjoyed by senators: tenured job security that could in theory counterbalance the ballooning power of the PMO.
Not surprisingly, when senators actually wanted to debate this motion, the government invoked closure -- perhaps worried their upper chamber caucus members are awaking from their stupor as obedient "Harper seals."
What appears to be an old folks home for retired bagmen and women actually performs an important function. The Senate may need reform. But it should not be abolished:
The prime minister may also have inadvertently instigated Senate reform. Imagine if senators seized the opportunity to prove to the Canadian people that they actually have a vital role to play in our democracy. The job-for-life privilege Canadians find so egregious should be the very trait of the upper chamber that would allow its members to stand up to the unbridled power of the PMO. Canadians would cheer them on.
Everything depends on what the Conservative majority does with the motions to expel Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau. They could simply suspend the resolutions pending the result of the RCMP investigation -- which would be standard operating procedure.
Of course, by that time, all of Mike Duffy's evidence will be made public -- and Stephen Harper will be looking for the exit.