I came across a speech made by Lowell Murray at ipolitics.ca. You can read it here: http://ipolitics.ca/2011/06/29/lowell-murray-you-do-not-govern-you-hold-to-account-those-who-do/
It’s a very good read, it has much to think about in it, and it is quite brief which is unusual for a politician.
Lowell Murray is a Progressive Conservative member of the Senate, appointed by Joe Clark. Brian Mulroney later appointed Senator Murray to his Cabinet as Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Senator Murray has an issue with omnibus bills as do I. In one such bill, the requirement that the Finance Minister must explain in the House why Canada needs to borrow money was removed, allowing the Finance Minister and Prime Minister the power to do this behind closed doors. This embarrassed Senator Murray to the point where he asked the government caucus to restore the original rules. He was rejected.
On another later omnibus bill, Senator Murray attempted to have the bill broken into parts in the Senate. The Senate does not have the power to stop Financial Bills and Senator Murray’s proposal would have allowed the financial portions to pass but allow further debate on the rest of the bill. The conservative members of the Senate stopped this, and the bill was passed.
Senator Murray’s speech covers many points about government, how the House has lost most of its powers to the Prime Minister’s Office and to the Cabinet and that it is now mostly ineffectual. He quotes Gladstone, “You are not here to govern; rather you are here to hold to account those who do.” The Members of the House need to recover their power to do this.
Another point that Senator Murray touches on is the loss of independence of the local riding association. If a riding chooses candidates that the party does not approve of, the party can reduce funding to punish the riding association or unilaterally decide on who will be the candidate for that riding regardless of what the local association says.
Our political system has gotten to the point where the dictates of a small group determine who will run, what policy will be and how their members shall vote. No sane MP would vote contrary to the party, its political suicide. Ask your candidates about anything next election. Every word will be party approved.
We need a Senate to stand up to the government and ensure the passage of only the laws that are good for Canada and Canadians.
The Prime Minister may have control over who is named to the Senate, but once they enter the Red Chamber, their debate should only include is this good for my Region, my Province, and my Country? Their politics may have influence on their debate, but it should Never be the reason for voting for or against any legislation regardless of which party introduced and supported the bill in the House.
We need a Senate that will stand up for Canadians.
We need more Senators like Lowell Murray.
Senator Murray will be retiring in September as he will be 75. Best wishes on your birthday Senator. I hope you will enjoy your retirement.