Our View: Battle against Senate joined by opposing forces

Here’s a first that bears consideration.

Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, announced last week that he would be in the B.C. Legislature on Monday morning to support a motion by… wait for it… the NDP.

Although it would take a pretty keen set of eyes to find common ground between the CTF and the NDP over most – frankly, nearly all – issues, Bateman’s announcement was not as earth-shattering as it may have seemed at first blush.

The federal NDP has placed itself at the head of the parade thumping the drum for abolition of Canada’s senate, and the provincial wing of the party is picking up the beat with a motion to abolish the senate.

The CTF has been loudly banging that same drum. Indeed, they got the drumbeat going before federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair picked up his drumsticks with both hands.

The CTF started its call for a national debate and a referendum to push for the end to the Senate. They attracted national attention with a centrepiece for their campaign: a 30-foot-tall balloon that happened to bear a remarkable resemblance to a senator whose expense claims, along with those of several others, have been under investigation – and brought to light an apparent culture of largesse that seems to permeate the Upper Chamber.

The Senate has got itself painted in a corner, and some of the dirtier colours have been rubbing off on all of Parliament.

In light of the loud noises emanating from the senate expense scandal, it’s easy to understand why there is such deep-in-the-gut impulse to simply abolish the body completely.

But is that the best way to deal with abuses? Are we prepared to drop the chamber of “sober second thought” completely?

Whether or not it is worth trying to find a middle road instead, the call for abolition from both the CTF and NDP should getting people talking.

And that’s always a good thing.

– B.G.

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