A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Independent Caucus's for the Senate

The Senate has just voted for a major shake-up of how members of the Red Chamber align themselves by allowing nine or more members to form a caucus, a substantial break from tradition that has historically seen the place organized along party lines.
A small but important step forward in my view, I continue to believe that we need this body to examine and offer revisions upon legislation proposed by the government (particularly majority governments) and any move to give more resources to “independents” and move away from partisan decisions is a good thing IMHO.

The motion directs the Senate rules committee to now formalize the changes, and then requests the internal economy committee — which effectively governs the chamber and adjudicates complaints — to draw-up budgets for these prospective new caucuses, to help hire staff for "secretariats" and pursue research projects. The motion was adopted by a voice vote, so it is not clear how much support it had from the existing parties.
Now if only “independent” and minority caucus's in the House of Commons could get equal access to resources for their MP's

Because he faced a significant list of vacancies when he assumed office, Trudeau has been able to appoint a large number of new senators in a relatively short time through a "merit-based" application process. In the last year alone, 27 senators have been appointed and a further 11 senators will be appointed by the year's end (or 38 out of a total 105 senators).
Virtually all of these new appointees have joined together with a handful of other senators — who left the Liberal or Conservative caucuses for various reasons — to create the Independent Senators Group (ISG) led by Alberta Senator Elaine McCoy, who acts as its leader or "convenor." (The caucus definition change also formally brings the ISG under the Senate's rules.)
I note that Senator Elaine McCoy has been a self identified “independent” for many years, long before Trudeau started appointing “non partisan” senators.

Wells said while the new senators were appointed as Independents, they have since realized it is beneficial to caucus together to share money, staff and other resources.
I really hope this does not encourage the groups to morf into partisan voting blocks but simply encourages independent thinkers to cooperate and find consensus on matters of particular interest to them.

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Owen Gray said...

A step in the right direction, Rural.

Rural said...

I think so Owen