Hypocrisy Has a New Definition in Senate Defeat
OK, I thought I was just going to read a little news, have my coffee and get back to work. I was fine until I saw this on twitter:
Of course I have to stand up to defend Elizabeth, so I go and read what she said just to see what Taylor’s yabbering about. He’s seems concerned about her lack of electoral support but I hope he comes out tomorrow with a more pertinent response to todays news, because it strikes at the core of everything Conservatives hold dear. And it is a crisis of democracy such as we have not seen since the proroguation of parliament. And no, I’m not kidding.
Here’s what happened.
The Senate has defeated bill C-311 which was passed by the house. That’s enough right there, it doesn’t even matter what the bill is about. The Senate has apparently never defeated a bill passed by the house. Which is why many people, mostly Conservatives!, complain that it is an effectual and pointless body. Personally, I think there is a place for the Senate, but if they are unelected they shouldn’t be overriding bills with broad support. If they are elected you need to someone construct it so it is not a hyperpartisan chamber that bogs down government like in the US. But the thing is that the biggest proponents of fixing the senate are Conservatives who constantly complain about how the previously Liberal dominated senate might override the will of the Canadian people. Today, just months after the Conservatives finally regained control of the Senate by making enough appointments (which they said they would never do) they take the unprecedented and mindblowingly hypocritical step of using it to defeat a bill supported by parliament. Something the Liberal senate never actually did!
Anyone? Anyone? Is anyone else angry about this?
Now, to make matters worse, the bill was a climate change bill meant to require government to plan how to meet its own emission reductions targets. That’s right, not to set draconian targets, but to require that plans be made about how to meet the targets that have already been set.
Canadians support reducing emissions, they value the environment and they are ashamed of Canada’s worsening image on this important issue. Now we have something else to be ashamed of, we are losing our democracy and are ruled by people with no sense of shame and no principles whatsoever.
Can someone explain this to me? Just yesterday Andrew Coyne wrote a very depressing treatise on his opinion of politics in Ottawa and his disappointment with the Conservatives. That was written before today’s defeat in the Senate, I don’t know if that’s what he was referring to, but if it wasn’t someone may want to give him a call and keep him away from all sharp implements and sleeping pills. How can a Triple-E Senate reforming Reformer stand for this? How can an old Progressive Conservative Tory stand for the hypocrisy, the spending and the complete abandonment of all principles in the pursuit of power and ideology?
How does this move even make any sense? Won’t it anger everybody? I would think even polluting industries would want to appear to be doing something to help the environment. They certainly don’t want to appear be manipulating unelected, antiquated bodies of government to achieve goals that are against the interests of Canadians and eroding our democracy? What is going on here exactly? And can we have an election about it? Like, now?
Update: So apparently the bill did in fact go beyond the cautious current Conservative policy on climate change. So the Conservatives seem to see this as a simple matter of their people in the Senate taking a chance to defeat something that they couldn’t stop from passing in the House due to their minority. Technically, this is how the Senate can function in a minority parliament. This is of course betrays all kinds of principles since the current PM can stack the senate as much as they like whether they have a majority or not. Further, the senate is supposed to be a more non-partisan place that doesn’t try to overrule the House except in extraordinary circumstances, this is not one of them.