On how not to do politics

When you’ve concocted a scheme to publicly dump half your caucus, it’s bad form to high five each other in the media. Particularly if the account you’re giving isn’t entirely accurate. I have it on good authority that young Trudeau, immediately after reading a prepared statement, walked out, leaving one of his advisors behind to handle the (justifiably) enraged senators.

Which raises another point, one of loyalty and family. Many of those 32 senators – and their dedicated staff – have spent decades supporting and working on behalf of our party, and on behalf of Canadians. There are many senators that I respect and admire and many of their staff I consider friends. They deserve better than this collective cold shoulder and gleeful anti-Liberal senator bandwagoning that’s now happening over on the elected side.


13 Comments on “On how not to do politics”

  1. Matt says:

    Fair points, but if Trudeau is going to build a new Liberal party with a long and sustainable future, it’s not going to be on the backs of long-time Liberal partisans in the senate, especially considering that the Liberals had become, by default, the party of the senate status-quo.

  2. Matt Guerin says:

    I don’t feel too sorry for them. They’ve had it pretty good for a long time. I do think this was a smart move by Trudeau that clearly signals a desire to enact real change by a future Liberal government with regard to partisanship and not loading the Senate up with cronies in the future. The transition to a better Senate will always be tough as the current 32 represent the old guard from the old system. But better to make them all Independent now than do some kind of 20-year grandfathering transition out of partisanship. It signals decisiveness. I do think the Tory and NDP approaches on the Senate will never work as they require constitution amendments. Trudeau’s plan will work and is already working. If the Senate can be filled with qualified, independent, non-partisan people dedicated to the public interest, not narrow partisan cronies, it is an improvement.

    • admin says:

      1) you will never have Senate reform without a constitutional amendment.

      2) they’re not “independents,” that’s the points. They are still Liberal senators, just not a part of caucus.

      3) this changes nothing.

      • Matt Guerin says:

        As I said, this transition can be awkward as the existing senators all got appointed under the old system and probably still want to behave the same way. Going forward under Trudeau, new senators would be selected by a body similar to how we pick Chief Justices and would be there to serve the public interest as Independent Senators, not simply have a nice big income with perks while they do partisan work which is the status quo you’re defending. This changes everything. Your retort is cynical spin and simply false.

        • admin says:

          “Cynical spin” was kicking them out in the first place.

          • Matt says:

            You can be cynical about Trudeau’s actions, but I find it hard to find cynicism in the actions themselves. It was a politically expedient move that took some small amount of guts, and I would argue that it allows the Liberals to be the defenders of the senate will also proposing an incremental reform solution that is actually viable without antagonizing Quebec.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Loyalty may be a virtue, but too often in politics it is given excessive weight over other considerations that are more important to the greater good. I have some sympathy for Senators and staff who might feel betrayed, but to me this is an acceptable cost for institutional change.

  4. MJH says:

    Is Senator abandonment from Caucus a violation of the Liberal Party Constitution?

  5. MoS says:

    It’s telling that the more closely one is invested in party politics, the less likely that person is to appreciate Trudeau’s policy.

    What’s important to remember is that the Senate isn’t just about people like you and Warren. It’s really about the people of Canada and, guess what, they seem to think this is a fine and long overdue idea. Maybe it’s time to recognize that harnessing the Senate into service of its constituent political caucuses is an unacceptable breach of its responsibility to Canada and our people.

  6. MoS says:

    Independence is the heart of any legitimate Senate reform. It doesn’t need constitutional amendment. No senator should ever be a water carrier for his/her party’s leader in the Commons. Wright-Duffy revealed how that arrangement perverts the Senate itself. When senators are yoked to their party leader’s whims, they’re serving their party, not the country and the Canadian public.

  7. Excellent Point! Justin has just created 32 independent agents who may henceforth oppose party positions and openly challenge him.
    As to the other parties, well the NDP does not care and the Tories will pounce on divisions to make Justin look weak and out of touch with even his own party.

  8. cmats says:

    oh pls. the senators are still collecting their $135,000 a year pay check and now can sleep in on Wed because they don;t have to attend caucus meetings. and besides if they are true liberals and have one political bone in their body, they would understand and support Trudeau.


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