Patrick Bazeau walked back into the Senate yesterday, the charges he faced having been dropped. What does that say about the government and the man that brought the charges? It's pretty clear that the Harper government was a smear machine. And, in the end, the smears didn't stick.
But the Senate still needs reform. Tasha Kheiriddin writes:
In recent months the Red Chamber has been going through its own version of rehab, working to show that it actually is a chamber of sober second thought, rather than a den of feckless spendthrifts. It voted to amend the government’s assisted suicide legislation (though it ultimately passed the government’s more restrictive version), amended another piece of legislation conferring unionization rights on RCMP officers (which will come before the House in the fall) and, most recently, issued a report calling for better integration of Syrian refugees.
The Liberal government also is keen to give the Senate a makeover, appointing new senators with the help of a committee process and opening up Senate seats to “applications” from interested Canadians. “We are beginning to see how a less partisan, more transparent, accountable and engaged Senate on public policy issues will act,” said Peter Harder, the government’s representative in the Senate. “It has been a very intense period of change.”
The changes will have to be internal. There will never be enough support in the provinces for wholesale change or abolition. So it will be up to the Senators themselves to design that change. That should be a little easier to do when the majority of Senators are officially independent.