Excerpt from the Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)


February 17, 2014

Comments on a Private Members' Motion supporting the Abolition of the Senate

S. Simpson: I had come in to listen to this debate, and I'm happy now to have the opportunity to add a few minutes of comment to this.

Certainly, I stand to support this. I guess the comment I want to make is…. I've now heard from two or three members on the government side trying to say that this isn't provincial government business, about the value of our time — all of those things.

I would remind those members over there that it has been about 200 days — more than 200 days — that we didn't sit here. We passed on sessions, and we didn't sit. The members should know — and maybe they should talk to their Premier and talk to their cabinet — that the reality is that we should in fact have been sitting here dealing with a number of important issues. But it wasn't important enough for the government to bring us back to do that. Otherwise, we'd have had some time in the fall to deal with a number of these critical issues.

As regards this matter in particular, it's clear. It is an important issue for provincial representatives. It is an important issue for provinces. We know the constitution is about this partnership in this country. It is about the federal-provincial partnership.

This issue of the Senate is clearly part of that debate. We should be engaged in it, because we know that there is no shortage of important issues that we deal with here that we cannot advance and move forward without federal participation.

When you have a Senate that is moribund and when you have a federal House that is absorbed by the disaster, the train wreck, that is happening in the Senate instead of other things, it raises questions about the legitimacy and the validity of that institution in today's time. It raises questions about whether, in fact, the Senate is impeding and impairing our ability to have the kind of relationship we want to have with the federal government because of where time goes there.

Also, as we'll all know, the conduct of certain senators in the House has been very problematic. We now know there are investigations. There are criminal investigations. There is a whole range of issues that are going on.

What we know, of course, is that that brings into disrepute the situation for all politicians. We have a lot to be accountable for, but it's pretty troubling when all politicians get broadly painted with that brush about the kind of conduct that we've seen with some senators. We're all waiting, of course, with bated breath for this audit to see how many other senators will be captured by similar kinds of conduct.

This is a critical issue. The people of British Columbia do not support the Senate. The people of British Columbia believe the Senate should be gone. We, as their elected representatives, should be standing with other provinces that share that view and saying to the federal government: "Enough is enough. It's time to end the Senate and to just put it out of its misery and move on."

Hon. Speaker, with that, I will move closure of debate.

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