Justin Trudeau has in a bold political stroke left us wondering, “What’s he up to?”. This move must be especially mystifying to his rivals, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and opposition leader Thomas Mulcair. Certainly Tory spokesman MP Pierre Poilievre, Minister of State (Democratic Reform) seemed caught off-guard, though, I’ve never heard this junior minister utter anything that could be construed as an original thought.
Mulcair was taking credit, with some justification, for first floating the idea last October of no senators in the MP caucuses; and claiming Justin and his guys pretty much ridiculed it back then, but now embraces it so wholeheartedly.
PM Harper must also wonder about Justin’s sudden change of mind. As Tim Harper writes over at thestar.com:
This is a man [Trudeau] who had been stuck in the middle as the face of the Senate status quo in a nation which no longer wanted the status quo, with Conservatives waiting for guidance from the Supreme Court on one side and the NDP under Tom Mulcair, blissfully senator-free, campaigning to abolish the Upper House.
Now, according to Trudeau, “There are no more Liberal senators.”. No more Liberal senators? Well sort of: the Senate Liberal leader James Cowan said his group will still sit as a Liberal caucus of their own and represent the values, etc., of that party. So Justin said, Go!, and James Cowan said, Hell no! We won’t go.
We’ll wait to see if Justin’s move really makes a difference in the upper house. I do not want to see the upper house abolished for I believe it can, once reformed, add substantial value to our Westminster-system of parliamentary government.
Let’s see what the Supreme Court has to say (later this year, hopefully) about the Conservatives’ proposals for senate reform. Until then, Justin has just one-uped the other guys, for a day or two anyway.