I first met Pamela Wallin more than 30 years ago when she was a rising star in Canadian media. We were both covering a constitutional conference in Ottawa, and she was writing front page stories in the Toronto Star. How sad it is that she has quickly become one of several compelling reasons that the Red Chamber in Ottawa, home to the Canadian Senate, should close its doors.
The pride of Wadena, Saskatchewan was appointed to the Senate by Stephen Harper a little over three years ago, as was Mike Duffy, another old media hack with a healthy appetite. Both of them, and other Senators, are now in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Pamela racked up more than $300,000 in unspecified travel bills over the past year or so. So far, she is politely resisting demands to provide a full accounting, and the smell is becoming more noticeable.
Hands up if you remember when Stephen Harper was one of the major proponents of the so-called Triple E Senate. Preston Manning was an early champion of an upper chamber which would help to address the grievances of the west.
Triple E stood for Elected, Effective and Equal. Nowadays it might be more appropriate to define that as Elitist, Entitled and Erroneous.
Since becoming Prime Minister, Harper has not done much to improve the process of choosing Senators. Now he has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to bring forth some legal wisdom on what should be done to either reform the Senate, or possibly abolish it.
There have been occasions when the Senate has done valuable work. I think of the efforts of Sharon Carstairs on so-called end of life issues. The Red Chamber has produced many worthwhile studies, most of which have seldom moved from the shelves where they were parked long long ago.
It’s time to bring the curtain down, and close the cash register.
I’m Roger Currie
You can listen to Roger Currie’s commentary by clicking on the link below: