Opposition Motion – Senate Accountability

“That, in the opinion of this House, urgent steps must be taken to improve accountability in the Senate, and, therefore, this House call for the introduction of immediate measures to end Senators’ partisan activities, including participation in Caucus meetings, and to limit Senators’ travel allowances to those activities clearly and directly related to parliamentary business.”

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Toronto—Danforth for an excellent motion. I certainly plan to vote for it. I appreciate the focus on getting rid of the hyper-partisan atmosphere in the Senate. I would like to get rid of the hyper-partisan atmosphere in the House. Both are threats to democracy in this country.

My question is slightly off-point of the motion, but as the other place is debating something, and my colleague from Toronto—Danforth has a distinguished background in law, I am wondering if he is prepared to share any personal views on whether the motion for gross negligence against three individuals offends principles of natural justice. I am deeply troubled by it. I have no use for the misuse of public funds, but a rush to judgment and a vindictive stoning in the public square of certain individuals, without getting to the bottom of what actually transpired, offends me.

I wonder if my friend from Toronto—Danforth has any thoughts.

Craig Scott: Mr. Speaker, I would like to emphasize that I am speaking entirely for myself in the spirit of the question.

I am myself troubled by the procedure. I think it is nothing but veiled, vindictive politics. The Senate has to look at its own procedures. Its procedures with respect to finding a senator guilty of a criminal offence are much more protective of the individual than what is about to happen in the Senate. I have no time at all, from what I know, for the senators in question, but the process being followed in the Senate has to look at the Senate’s own rules. That is simply my view. Whether it is actually the case, one thing everybody should know is that one lawyer’s view is often matched by the opposite view from another lawyer