To the editor,
I read "Still one practical plan for Senate reform" in the letters to the editor.
I was surprised to learn from Scott Simms’ suggestion that Prime Minister Harper put the Senate in the ridiculous condition it is in, all by himself. The truth is, other parties were involved and it was in the condition it is, long before Harper was prime minister. As to "a hyper-political, hyper-partisan chamber... personally stocked..." there are also other party-appointed senators providing trouble for the senate besides the three PC-appointed senators mentioned. When I was living in Texas there was a senator from Canada, getting a paycheque from the Canadian taxpayers while living most of the year in the United States. Mr. Simms forgot to mention such people. As a "critic" it would seem to be only his job description to criticize rather than provide the entirety of the information. He seems to be a partisan reporter of the facts.
The outcome of the Senate is the direct result of each party who appointed the senators – including Justin Trudeau's Liberals. The truth is the Senate is a mess. It took years from a few different parties to get the way it is. It needs serious reforming immediately and Prime Minister Harper at least tried to do it without putting a Band-Aid on it. Perhaps Mr. Simms should congratulate the PM for his effort the way he congratulated the Liberals for their effort. What Mr. Trudeau accomplished by removing the Liberal senators from the Liberal caucus was just symbolic. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's attempt at restoration of "the original purpose of the Fathers of Confederation…" accomplished nothing in the reality of the problem. Even though Liberal leader Trudeau removed all Liberal senators from the Liberal caucus, those Liberal senators are still in the Senate and still consider themselves as part of the of Liberal party who appointed them.
Regarding Mr. Trudeau's attempt at Senate reform, the idea that appointing senators, albeit in "an open, transparent and non-partisan" manner, the person put forth would still be thought to support the particular party putting forth the person to be a senator. So, nothing really would be gained. Partisanship would not "become a thing of the past." The Senate would not be reformed! If in the "open, transparent and non-partisan" vetting process, the opposition party would be allowed to speak regarding the appointee's appointment, as in the United States with appointing of judges to the Supreme Court, the appointee could be open to unwarranted attacks to prevent his or her appointment. The only real solution is the direction Prime Minister Harper was taking and that was to remove the Senate. Then the country could start over, and if keeping the Senate was what the country wanted, senators could be elected. Real change is possible but not from the simplistic manner Mr. Simms described.
In addition, does Mr. Simms think that Justin Trudeau's attempt to stifle free thinking in the Liberal party is a good idea, maybe to help prevent partisanship in the party and as hoped for in the Senate? If the party cannot be made less partisan, how would Senate reform under the Liberals be made less partisan?