"Canada has made much progress since the Official Languages Act was passed in 1969. It is time to take stock of the current state of this fundamental law, to reflect on future challenges, and to take the action required to ensure, among other things, respect for English and French as official languages, their equality of status and the equal rights and privileges as to their use in federal institutions." - Senator Maria Chaput 

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April 16, 2014

Dear readers,

As you know, 2014 has been a year of changes for the Senate, and with the arrival of spring, it is time for an update.

The Senate Liberal Caucus quickly organized itself in order to facilitate the exchange of information and to propose measures to improve the Senate.

For example, in order to encourage citizen engagement, the Liberal Senate Forum now allows all Canadians to directly participate in the Senate’s Question Period.

The Senate Liberal Caucus has also held two open caucuses on issues of national importance: the tragic situation of missing and murdered aboriginal women, and the issue of autism.  More open caucuses on important Canadian issues will follow.

Senators of all parties have developed a healthy spirit of collaboration in order to improve transparency and efficiency in the Senate.  The pre-study of Bill C-23, the government’s worrisome electoral reform bill, provides a good example of this collaboration.  Of course, one must not expect all Senators charged with the study of this bill to agree on each one of its elements, but they are to be commended for actively collaborating and tabling a report that proposes many important amendments to the government’s initiative.  This will be an important issue to follow.

Conservative Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin must also be commended for his efforts in engaging all Senators in a debate about the history and the raison d’être of the Senate, as well as the different roles that our Chamber is called upon to play in the Canadian political and legislative landscape.  I will soon participate in this debate, specifically on the role that the Senate plays in the protection of minorities. 

As usual, I will keep you informed of all new developments via my website.

Maria Chaput, senator