They have no members of their party in the Senate, because they’ve never formed government. Doubtless the federal NDP will have some observations when it comes to the partisanship that dogs the upper chamber.
Ordinarily, the party when discussing the Senate calls outright for its abolition. So turning the topic to the use of taxpayers’ money for partisan purposes is a new twist. The NDP still acknowledges that its first choice is to scrap the Senate, but until that is possible, they at least want to see improvements.
NDP MP Charlie Angus describes the recommendations as “baby steps” toward accountability.
In the criticisms, Angus and colleagues take aim at Liberal and Conservative senators using public money and Senate resources for partisan purposes.
Amid a recent flurry of scandalous reports regarding several senators and inappropriate expense claims, the NDP calls for a ban on any public funding for a senator’s travel not related directly to Senate duties.
In contrast to the strong feelings average Canadians are venting over Senate scandals, these recommendations from the Official Opposition of the House of Commons squarely reflect common sense.
Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives laid out intentions of Senate reform in their mandate, they ultimately added to the fiasco. Harper made patronage appointments with the intent of having them blindly carry out his party’s agenda, rather than exercise the sober second thought traditionally expected of them. Then adding to the insult, some of those lately appointed are the worst offenders for alleged fraudulent claims.
The latest revelations, as The Canadian Press reports, include allegations by the RCMP that Mike Duffy defrauded the Senate by paying almost $65,000 to a friend who provided “little or no value for service.”
The call is for the other two parties to acknowledge the corruption and agree to do something. That’s not asking too much even from political opponents.