Editorial: Abolition

The auditor-general’s report into spending in Canada’s Senate is very disturbing reading — not because of horrible things done over time...

The auditor-general’s report into spending in Canada’s Senate is very disturbing reading — not because of horrible things done over time to a group of people, as was the case with generations of First Nations children — but because of the ongoing air of indifference to taxpayers and accountable spending.

No less than 30 senators were cited for improper expenditures. While some are taking issue with the A-G’s findings, the standards he believes should  govern spending are pretty basic.

A-G Michael Ferguson stated that senators should not be billing for personal trips. They should not be charging for taxis, meals and gifts that have nothing to do with official business, or billing taxpayers for non-Senate business. They should be keeping detailed and accurate records of all their spending, personal and Senate-related. Any claims for reimbursement should be submitted promptly, and posted online so that the taxpayers who ultimately pay the bills can see how their dollars are used.

Senators should not have the last word on what is considered acceptable spending, or action following investigation of their spending. They are paid by taxpayers, and taxpayers expect that those doing public business are as careful with their money as individuals are in day-to-day activities.

The reckless approach to using taxpayers’ dollars by a significant number of senators, and the possibility that criminal charges may be laid against some of those who have been audited, has caused a shift in public opinion. Many people are now backing the NDP pledge to eliminate the Senate.

There is certainly a better case for doing so than ever before. The Supreme Court has basically shut the door on Senate reform, given that it requires unanimity from all provinces.

Abolition also requires unanimity. However, provincial governments could be pressured if there was a national plebiscite question on whether to abolish the Senate, as part of October’s federal election.

Many voices have called for such a vote, and it seems an appropriate way to move forward on this issue.

Such a vote would not be binding in any way. However, if significant majorities in each province backed abolition, there would be significant pressure on both the incoming federal government and provincial governments to agree to abolition by amending the constitution.

That may be the only answer to dealing with this mess.

 

Just Posted

Purple lights to illuminate the issue of domestic violence in Maple Ridge

Businesses along 224 Street will decorate storefront windows for Sept. 26

Bear conservation group wants higher fines for offenders

Maple Ridge Bears wants $500 penalties and earlier garbage collection

Pitt Meadows coach in the corner at epic UFC upset

Scorpion club’s Dan Golkar coached Tristan Connolly

Maple Ridge group saving and finding people for 50 years

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue celebrates Saturday

Breakout season for senior men’s baseball squad

Maple Ridge Royals win Senior AA provincial title

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

Abbotsford restaurant offering free meals for those unable to pay

Veerji Fish ‘n’ Grill on Clearbrook Road has been giving away food since the summer

Arrest made after fourth threat closes a Kamloops high school in nine days

Mounties have been chasing down a series of threats made to schools across Kamloops

Nelson man accused of swimming naked at Toronto aquarium expected to plead guilty

David Weaver, of Nelson, was arrested and charged in October of last year

VIDEO: Party leaders react to Trudeau’s brownface photo bombshell

Fallout from Justin Trudeau’s brownface photo, and two other instances, sure to dominate campaign

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized, BC SPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

‘We still did not get answers’: Vancouver parents demand expulsion after students’ racist video

‘We were unable to get confirmation from the VSB, but he hasn’t returned as of yet,’ says Marie Tate

Most Read