Thursday, November 07, 2013

Senate Scandal

The indefinite suspension of three Senators by the Senate of Canada is a harsh and unprecedented decision.  The Senate cast a wide net to punish three Senators they believed violated various rules of the Senate.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed all three of the suspended Senators.  In my view, he unnecessarily injected himself into this scandalous affair pushing hard on the Senate to suspend three Senators he appointed.  Senate appointments are the purest form of political patronage where no qualifications are required of anyone appointed to such a highly paid and prestigious position.

Rights and Freedoms under the Constitution of Canada, Rule of Law, and common sense apparently were disregarded entirely in the suspension of three Senators.  The citizens of Canada had no evidence, other than media reports, to conclude these three Senators were all guilty and the same punishment for different alleged violations of questionable rules of the Senate is appropriate.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper and most of his supporters read the public opinion polls and suspended three Senators indefinitely without pay or any form of recourse.  Banning the Senators from Parliament Hill is hard to justify.

I do not know that the suspended Senators were all equally guilty of all the allegations and nor does the public.  It is reasonable to suspect these three Senators made mistakes, but the punishment is excessive based on suspect without clear proof.  This would never happen in a court of law.  Politicians, Senators, and the public must have equal access to due legal process in Canada.  Canadians need to ponder that notion out of fear of finding themselves in the same situation as these three suspended Senators.

A public or judicial inquiry regarding this matter is the only way to get to all the facts surrounding the Senate scandal and to clear suspicions surrounding the Office of the Prime Minister.  There is an RCMP investigation regarding the scandal and no one knows where that will lead.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Office may have failed to effectively manage the Senate scandal, but to what extent.  One thing is sure.  This scandal will be around long past the next federal election.