Man, DiscussEconomics is getting more and more politicla these days. A great news article from CTV News on the Canadian Senate. Whether you are a Conservative or a Liberal this has to disturb you, the fact Canada does not have an active senate, who have no power, who are not elected, should raise eyebrows. We have the least democratic parliament of all the developed nations, that’s an opinion, but I gander it’s fact.
Here’s the latest from CTV. Senator Raymond Lavigne who was sued for using his office staff to cut down trees near his cottage property, wants taypayers to pay for his legal bills.
Lavigne, who continues to sit on the Senate, was also forced to give back $23,500, which he allegedly spent on improper travel expenses. The RCMP is currently investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, the cost of Lavigne’s legal bills is estimated at almost $90,000. In June, Interim Liberal Leader Bill Graham kicked Lavigne out of the Liberal caucus until any investigations are completed.
Senators already enjoy some of the best parking spots on Parliament Hill, and a mandatory salute from the guards. But some want to use taxpayers’ money for more perks.
Liberal Senator Daniel Hays, the Opposition leader, has been granted a larger budget by 19 per cent. He also has a new car with his own driver, and a press secretary.
“Well, the Opposition leader leads 65 members of a caucus … that have an important job to do. And you need adequate funding to do that,” Hays told CTV News.
Other senators are seeking larger budgets as well. Liberal Senator Colin Kenny hopes to secure an increase for all senators’ office budgets, from $135,000 to $200,000 a year.
“Well, I’d like us to move up to match the House of Commons,” said Kenny, who drives a Jaguar with personalized Senate license plates.
Critics of the Senate already question whether being a senator is actually a full-time job, requiring such high budgets. Liberal Senator Marie-P. Poulin has almost managed to complete her full-time law degree while still sitting in the Senate.
“Well, you know, it’s that some people go to the gym, but I go to the university to get the little gray cells in shape,” said Poulin.
But so far, the Chamber has sat for just 34 days this year.
“If that pace continues, the number of sitting days will be one of the lowest since 1960,” reported CTV’s Graham Richardson.
But he added that senators work outside of when the Senate sits, often out of public view.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to shorten the terms served by senators, who currently sit for as many as 45 years. At age 75, they are forced to retire.
Harper wants new appointees to sit for terms of just eight years.
Last month, Senator Jim Munson told Harper that “there are critics who believe you would like nothing better than to fight an election on the backs of the Senate.”