As many (maybe even most) of you know, one week ago I sent the following email to 100* of the 104 the Canadian Senators (not the hockey ones, the “real” ones):
I am a 62 year old Canadian who has been a voter in every municipal, provincial and federal election since I was able to vote. I cannot honestly say I have a considered opinion of the value of our Senate, but I will say that if you have any respect for the people of Canada, you will either call for or support the removal of Senator Duffy from his position. His continued denial of any wrongdoing should be an embarrassment to the senators who believe in our system of government and our country.
So far I have received 4 responses and I thought I would share them with you.
I am with you, sir.
Thanks for your concern.
Senator for Nunavut
(Senator Patterson, a Conservative Affiliated Senator was the first to respond – did so within minutes, leading me to believe, naively, that I would get an overwhelming response.)
Dear Mr. Watt, Senator Duffy’s case is now before the RCMP. I am as disgusted as you about this whole affair.
I want to assure you that if he is charged he will be suspended and if he is convicted he will be thrown out of the Senate. I thank you for your interest in this matter. Senator David Tkachuk
(Senator Tkachuk is also a Conservative Affiliated Senator.)
Thank you for sending me your thoughts.
Like most Canadians I too am very disappointed in the unacceptable behavior of some Senators with regard to improper expenses. There is no excuse for this type of behaviour.
With regard to my situation, the Senate rules are clear, however I do respect that some Senators have more complicated situations than I do with regard to their residency. There is, however, ample opportunity to get clarification should someone not understand the rules.
We are privileged to have the opportunity to serve our country. I take my Senate obligations very seriously and can assure you that I do everything possible to be frugal with public funds.
Again, thank you for writing.
Sen. Nancy Greene Raine
(Senator Raine is also a Conservative Affiliated Senator. I put her response down as, let’s say, interesting.)
Dear Mr. Watt,
Thank you for your e-mail.
On January 6, 2012, I was honoured to accept Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s invitation to serve the country as a Conservative member of the Senate, and to fully support the Government of Canada’s efforts to reform the Senate.
As a proud Senator of Manitoba, I am very disappointed by the conduct of some of my colleagues whose actions may have impacted the reputation of the Senate, and there should be consequences for their misuse of public funds.
In the wake of these events, I look forward to establishing greater transparency. I believe that we must provide Canadian taxpayers with the accountability they deserve and the Senate has started this process by adopting 11 new rules to increase accountability.
The Conservative government’s efforts to support Senate reform include term limits and the appointment of Senators elected in the provinces. I look forward to the Supreme Court of Canada’s opinion on what can be done through legislation to reform the Senate.
As a Senator from Manitoba, I have the privilege to work with the government on issues that truly affect Canadians. I will continue to emphasize the importance of agriculture to the Canadian economy and to advocate for women in rural communities. I am also undertaking new research to explore the importance of agriculture in developing nations and the leadership role Canada can play to support sustainable food systems.
As Senator, my priorities are to serve Manitobans and all Canadians to the best of my ability. I will continue to support the Government of Canada’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
Above all, I will perform my duties with the utmost respect for Canadian taxpayers.
(Senator Buth is also a Conservative Affiliated Senator. Her comments certainly seem to be leading us in a positive direction.)
Some interesting points:
- Terry maintains I have found a new raison d’être
- All of the responses come from Conservative Affiliated Senators. Do Liberals not care or are they just too busy?
- Senator Duffy asked the Prime Minister to appoint him as an Independent and not as a Conservative.
- *3 senators don’t have email access and 1 address wouldn’t work. 6 or so have their email go directly to a secretary. Shouldn’t all of these people be responsible to the people paying their salaries?
- While getting their email addresses, I had a chance to look at their published bios. These people are senators? Jacques Demers – a hockey coach; Larry Campbell – a coroner; Gerald Comeau – university professor with a special interest in gardening (really?); Ann Cools – degrees in Social Sciences, Sociology and Psychology Major (so what?).
- I could go on but what’s the point. Granted, there do appear to be people who seem to have some qualifications, but a downhill skier? At least she responded.
Now, as they say in Thailand, something Same Same but Different.
This is an email sent to Prime Minister Harper by a friend of Rich and Nancy’s and the response he received.
Dear Hon. Prime Minister:
I listened with considerable sadness and disgust to your address to caucus on May, 21, 2013. To be frank, I am appalled at both your remarks and refusal to face questions from reporters. This refusal to ‘face the music’ can only be described as cowardly.
I find the ‘ I am not happy’ comment to be a remarkable understatement. Is unhappiness / disappointment the best you can do and say when all that you have stood for (in terms of the: accountability, transparency and integrity of government mantra you so solemnly promised Canadians back in 2005) lies in tatters?
You invite ‘people who want to use public office for their own benefit’ to leave the room and your government. Sir, this is not leadership. Scoundrels do not abdicate; they must be forcefully removed. You announced the new, post-Sponsorship standard back in 2005 and you are charged to act decisively when that standard is broken. ‘Inviting’ crooks and scoundrels to leave, voluntarily, their high positions is hardly the sort of leadership Canadians expect from the Office of the Prime Minister.
I am extremely disappointed to acknowledge that during your term as Prime Minister, everything from the integrity of the PM’s Office to decorum in the House of Commons and Senate have substantially declined in the minds of Canadians. And, you say you are ‘unhappy and disappointed with this state of affairs!! Where are your feelings of responsibility, disgust, moral indignation, and sense of betrayal by those you appointed? And, speaking of these appointments – all the way from your Chief of Staff, to Senators, and even the murderous pilot who flew your aircraft – what does this incredible array of problematic appointments reveal about your judgement?
You, Sir, more than anyone else are responsible for the present cesspool of controversy, sleazy payouts and subterfuge that seems never to end in Ottawa. Your refusal to act decisively created the present, moral quagmire and I implore you, therefore, to reset your moral compass, apologize for what has occurred under your watch and, finally, ensure that those who abuse their office are not just temporally removed from The PC Caucus but terminated from both government and its bureaucracy.
A very disgusted constituent,
name, address and phone number removed by Geoff
From: Prime Minister/Premier Minister <PM@pm.gc.ca>
To: name removed by Geoff
Please know that your e-mail message has been received in the Prime Minister’s Office and that your comments have been noted. Our office always welcomes hearing from correspondents and being made aware of their views.
Thank you for writing.