February 4, 2014
It has been an eventful return on Parliament Hill. Following a decision by the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Mr. Justin Trudeau, all political links between liberal senators and their colleagues in the House of Commons have been cut.
Senators will thus no longer participate in regional and national caucus meetings of the Liberal Party of Canada. I welcome Mr. Trudeau’s decision.
We, senators, have decided to continue working as a caucus in the Senate, in order to facilitate the exchange of information and ensure the presence of an official opposition, as required under our regulations. However, there will be no party line to follow.
This is an important first step towards a useful reform of the Senate, as it allows the Senate to strengthen its independence.
This year, the Supreme Court of Canada will explain the procedure by which the government can proceed with Senate reform. All Canadians must express themselves, and share their expectations about the Upper Chamber. It is with the idea of encouraging such discussions that I took part, in January, in a series of interviews on the CKSB Radio-Canada program Carte Blanche hosted by Vincent Dureault. The three interviews, on January 9, 16 and 23, touched on issues such as the founding fathers’ vision of the Senate, the need for the Upper Chamber, and the role of senators in the modern parliamentary process. I also took listener questions.
In a bid to better present the work done by senators, I encourage you to read my latest newsletter, which presents an overview of my parliamentary activities in 2013. I hope that it will offer you an idea of the different files that occupy senators.
Last year we heard a lot about the Senate, although not for the right reasons. It is refreshing that we have started the year on the right foot, with a healthy national discussion on the future of the Senate.”
As usual, I will keep you informed of all new developments via my website.
Maria Chaput, senator