For Immediate Release January 31, 2014
Progressive Canadian Senate proposal enhances Trudeau initiative.
Building on Progressive Conservative Senator Elaine McCoy and Progressive Canadian Precedent
Newmarket, Ontario - The Hon. Sinclair Stevens, Leader of the Progressive Canadian Party, today congratulated Justin Trudeau on his historic decision to make all Liberal Senators Independents freed from the Liberal Party caucus in the House of Commons.
Mr. Stevens stated further that the Progressive Canadian Party has proposed to end the exclusive power to appoint Senators by the prime minister since at least 2010, consistent with former Progressive Conservative Guiding Principles and the intentions of PC Policy Priorities. Stevens said the PC Party proposal will take patronage and partisanship out of Senate appointments by seeking the advice and experience of governance found in those appointed to the Queen's Privy Council and, in so doing, take the power to appoint Senators out of today's partisan hands of the prime minister alone.
Mr. Stevens noted further that the Progressive Canadian proposal for Senate Reform for a better appointment system would enhance Justin Trudeau's bold proposal to release Liberal Senator's from party caucus discipline by providing the means to recommend appointments to the Governor General with the legitimacy of government experience informed by good will and public interest untainted by partisanship.
Independent Progressive Conservative Senator Elaine McCoy praised storied journalist Jim Travers' urging the Prime Minister to "add brilliance to the Red Chambers's sober second thoughts," adding the creative suggestion to conceive the ˜Senate as Think Tank" (2007).
In March 2010, the Tory Senator added, "Yesterday, another voice weighed in on the conversation. [Writer and Progressive Canadian] Brian Marlatt's thoughtful contribution suggests that the Governor General take advice on appointments from the entire Privy Council, not just the PM. As he says, 'Charges of patronage and partisanship would be overcome; there would be no risk to national unity, as would happen if senators were accountable to their province; and senators would not be subject to party discipline, as they would be if elected. Senators would not be just more politicians.' "
"By convention, prime ministers have recommended Senate appointments to the Governor General of Canada since Confederation. Prime Ministers in general have respected the need for balance in recommended appointments but the potential for abuse has always been there. Until today, no prime minister has received a 'pledge' to pass his party's legislation from those he in practice appoints", Mr. Stevens said. "All Senators named by the current prime minister have made such "'pledges'", Stevens added, "this is the real Senate Scandal, the Harper Senate Scandal."
Proposals to abolish or elect Senators will not end this new partisanship in the Upper Chamber; proposing firewall federalism by directly electing or appointing elected Senators will threaten national unity, Progressive Canadians argue. "We welcome Justin Trudeau's initiative to limit partisanship but it lacks a means of joining excellence, such as you might find in the Order of Canada, with experience of government, " Sinclair Stevens said. "The Progressive Canadian proposal brings together excellence and experience."
A quorum of the Queen's Privy Council across party lines and levels of government, comprising former Governors General, present and former prime ministers and cabinet ministers, Supreme Court Chief Justices, inducted Leaders of the opposition and premiers, could fulfill its historic role as an advisory body to the Crown by recommending to the Governor General persons qualified to serve in Canada's Senate in fulfillment of its duty as a revising chamber of "sober second thought." "Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin and their cabinets are members, so am I, and individual distinguished Canadians," Mr. Stevens stated, "The provinces would be consulted through their premiers invited as Privy Councillors when senators are appointed."
"The criticism of Justin Trudeau's idea would be less and the proposal enhanced by appealing to the excellence and experience in the Queen's Privy Council. The further virtue, as members of our Progressive Canadian National Council have said, is that Senators will not be accountable to the provinces divisively or to partisan party discipline, not even to voters; their legitimacy as senators comes from their tenure based on excellence and experience to review, revise, and recommend amendment to legislation and regulation without the temptation or power to obstruct an elected government dedicated to good will and the common good of all Canadians. This is practical, doable change, not an impractical utopia."
Senator Elaine McCoy, Blog "Hullabaloos" "Senate as Think Tank," April 30, 2007
Senator Elaine McCoy, Blog "Hullabaloos" "Same Old, Some New, Ideas on Senate Reform," March 30, 2010/
-30-For more information contact:
"The Hon. Sinclair Stevens, Leader
The Progressive Canadian Party