Sunday, April 20, 2014

Brigette DePape staged an unprecedented protest on the floor of the Senate chamber, walking out into the red-carpeted centre aisle carrying a red “Stop Harper” sign that she’d pulled from beneath her skirt as Gov. Gen. David Johnston read the new government’s speech from the throne.

She is calling upon Canadians to act creatively in protesting Harper, like she did with civil disobedience in the Senate chamber. Although this won’t start a revolution, her invitation to join social movements will certainly raise awareness of those movements who oppose Harper’s ideas.

Very smart too, she had a press release emailed while she was still in custody.

DePape, from Manitoba, has been working in the Senate for a year. A statement issued in her name said she opposes the agenda of the Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, which won a majority mandate on May 2.

This country needs a Canadian version of an Arab Spring she said. Things lies not with Harper but in the hands of the people, when we act together in our streets, neighborhoods and workplaces, the statement said.

She went on to give a series of media interviews. She explained she feels the Conservative government’s policies on the environment, social programs and the military are destructive, and that civil disobedience is needed to try and stop them.

DePape grew up in Winnipeg, was a member of a local baton-twirling team until she was 13 and graduated from College Jeanne Sauvé.

She volunteered at the Siloam Mission, raised more than $100,000 for a village in Senegal and was a member of the group Students Without Borders.

In 2007, she won a prestigious Loran scholarship from the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation. The prize includes up to $75,000 over four years and help finding summer internships in public policy.

Last summer, DePape interned at the Manitoba office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, where she penned an essay on the G20 protests in which admitted she was crushed when her father told her protesting was unproductive and ineffective.

“Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures,” Ms. DePape said in an interview. “I think that everywhere is the right place to resist the Harper government.”

Read More :

Stop Harper Placard

Page Goes Wild

 

There seems to be confusion over the constitutionality on senate reforms. Stephen Harper originally proposed an 8 year term limit, but that would let any PM have total control over 8 years. Now we hear rumors about a 10 or 12 year limit.

There is controversy over the election of senators and some of them have publicly and privately suggested they’ve changed their minds and no longer support Harper’s plan to establish provincial senate elections. This was denied by Conservative Senator Linda Frum on Wednesday.

People often complain the Senate is illegitimate and not democratic but the Senate wasn’t set up to be elected.

It was set up to be a deliberative body and not an elected body and it’s been that way for 147 years and for the most part, it seems it has worked pretty well.

Harper’s government is expected to re-introduce two bills, one setting out an election process for the provinces to establish Senate elections and another limiting a senator’s term from a possible 45 years to eight, 10 or 12 years.

The Conservatives likely will introduce the bills next month.

Currently, senators are appointed until age 75, but must be at least 30 to sit in the upper chamber.

I mean come on ! The Lower House needs the Senate, or at least some kind of entity to overlook laws to-be-passed. The Senate is like an elite-Agora, but they still added an amendment to fixed election dates listing conditions under which a date could be modified, in order to avoid clashes with religious holidays, municipal elections and referendums. Sounds kinda smart.

Most judges are appointed and nobody says they lack legitimacy, said a Conservative Senator.

“We need to have a good healthy debate on this,” he said.

However, several provinces, including Quebec and Nova Scotia, maintain it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to proceed on its own with any changes to the upper house. They argue that the Senate can only be reformed through a constitutional amendment, approved by at least seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population.

Quebec is threatening to go to the Supreme Court, if necessary, to block Harper’s proposed reforms. Intergovernmental affairs minister, Pierre Moreau, argued this week that the Senate is part of the bargain struck at Confederation in 1867, designed to give equal representation to the regions as a counterbalance to representation by population in the elected House of Commons.

It seems Senate Reform will be harder to achieve. Maybe we should consider status-quo, with a 50% salary reduction ?

Read More :

Should Stephen Harper consult the Supreme Court ?

Quebec threatens court challenge to Senate changes

Harper SenateHarper has constitutional responsibility to fill any vacant seats in the Senate, but his choices are very questionable. The 3 senators are fresh off the campaign trail, where all three were defeated.

Those 3 Conservative candidates LOST in the election so they don’t have seats in the lower house, and Stephen Harper appoints them to the Senate ? Is this democracy, where when you lose to other candidates, you still have more power than them ?

His credibility on Senate reform has sunk rock bottom. He basically made Parliament less representative of the will of the people, and shows us all that he holds our opinions in low regard.

Is this what PM’s do when they win an election, stuff the Senate with their best friends, and forget about the promise for Senate Reform ?

Is this what happens when a Conservative loses an election, you lose but you still get in the Senate ?

It’s hypocritical on Harper’s part and it’s not what Conservative supporters voted for, when they gave Harper his majority.

Harper should reform the Senate or start the process of scrapping it.

Using it as a daycare centre for aging Tories is a disgrace.

Read More :

Senate Appointees

Plans For The Senate

 

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