Le Blogue Broadbent

Is Preston Manning's Senate pitch really "minor renovation" or "better housekeeping"?

The founder of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy says the best way to deal with the Senate is either through "minor renovation" or "better housekeeping."

Speaking on CBC's Power and Politics on Wednesday, Preston Manning said "at least democratize the thing and put in term limits." If not, "the other one I picked was the better housekeeping. At least fix that, the expense business. More accountability and fix the residency requirement. That can be done by the Senate itself without even government legislation."

Before watching Manning's unimaginative Senate pitch, let's contextualize who would be tapped to fix the corrupted institution:

Harper's bagman:

Irving Gerstein, the self-described "party bagman/Senator," remains in Stephen Harper's inner circle as the Conservative Party's chief fundraiser, despite being knee-deep in the Senate spending scandal and cover-up in the Prime Minister's Office. The RCMP allege Gerstein agreed to have the party pay off Mike Duffy’s bogus expenses, but withdrew the offer when he found out the bill topped $90,000. The Mounties also allege Gerstein tried to influence an external audit into the Senate expense scandal by calling up a buddy at Deloitte to encourage the auditing firm to drop Duffy, a Harper appointee, from its probe.

Harper's loyal soldiers:

The spending scandal story told by senators David Tkachuk, Marjory Lebreton and Carolyn Stewart Olsen is being challenged by the RCMP. The Mounties allege Stewart Olsen and Tkachuk, in particular, "were instrumental in stick-handling the whitewash of a Senate internal report on Duffy's expenses after he had repaid the money." Bonus: Stewart Olsen used to serve as Harper's press secretary before Harper appointed her to the Senate.

Harper's Senate Losers Club: 

14 Harper-appointed senators who ran for a seat in the House of Commons, lost in a federal election, but were later appointed as legislators to Canada's Upper Chamber as a 'check' on the elected House.

People are worried about #cannibalrats, but what about our democracy? Abolish comes to mind as the best option if the goal is real democratic renewal.

Over to Manning: