April 25th, 2014

Supreme Court ruling a slap in the face to Harper Conservatives

Official Opposition Democratic Reform critic Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth) issued the following statement regarding the ruling of the Supreme Court on the Senate:

“New Democrats welcome the ruling of the Supreme Court on the Senate. It certainly is a slap in the face to Stephen Harper’s government. ‎

“After almost a decade of Harper’s Conservatives, we’re back to square one. Nine years of broken Conservative promises, scandals in the Prime Minister’s Office and a weakened democratic system. Nine years of patronage appointment and rewards to Conservative bagmen.

“Time and again Conservatives have failed to live up to the promises that got them elected in government, including their pretense of being committed to reforming the Senate.

“Strengthening our democracy requires principles and a vision. But Conservatives have utterly failed to reform this institution – and their latest democratic reform proposal to change voting laws – in their so-called Fair Elections Act, will disenfranchise voters and make our elections less fair.

“The NDP believes Canadians deserve better – people deserve fairly elected members of Parliament and real accountability for all Parliamentarians. The NDP believes we can strive to do better – and real change is possible if you work for it.

“We continue to believe the unelected and unaccountable Senate should be abolished, and of course, that should only be done after consultations with Canadians and Provinces. The Supreme Court noted, in paragraph 4 of today’s judgement, "the desirability of changes [to the senate] is not a question for the court: it is an issue for Canadians and for their legislatures."

“While our goal remains to abolish the Senate with the consent of Canadians and the provinces, we are always ready to get to work on interim reforms to make the Senate more functional, fair and accountable. For example, we put a motion forward last October to make Senators less partisan and more accountable, but Conservatives and Liberals voted it down.”