Over the past week, I have heard from constituents voicing disgust and displeasure with recent events that have occurred in Ottawa; specifically, the issues revolving around Senators Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau and Harb.
I can tell you unequivocally that I am equally upset over the entire set of events. I do not condone nor tolerate any form of illegal activity, whether criminal or civil in nature.
I am frustrated by a set of legislative rules that do not allow us to remove someone from public office for a breach of trust. Furthermore, if a criminal act has been committed and enough evidence is gathered, then it should be brought before the courts for judgement.
The Senate is enshrined in the Constitution. That is why we have asked the Supreme Court of Canada whether the reforms we have proposed can be accomplished by Parliament alone. We have also asked the Court to rule on options for abolishing the Senate completely. Most, if not all pundits, agree that the latter is not likely due to a constitutional challenge. Most amendments can be passed only if identical resolutions are adopted by the House of Commons, the Senate and a two-thirds majority of the provincial legislative assemblies representing at least 50 per cent of the national population.
This formula, which is outlined in Section 38 of the Constitution Act 1982, is sometimes referred to as the “general amendment procedure” and is known more colloquially as the “7+50. In simple terms, it is not likely to happen. There is no room for ignorance of law or procedure when you sit at the highest level of government. We have at our disposal countless legal authorities to give us advice and guidance. If you choose not to accept that advice or guidance then, in my opinion, you live with the consequences.
Any person who holds a public office position, either elected or appointed, should not only withstand public scrutiny, but stand before the public to explain any short comings.
If you can do neither, you should do the honourable thing and quit the position.