Trudeau continues to slight
the Italian community

di Joe Volpe del 14 June 2022

TORONTO - You cannot reap what you do not sow. If only the Senate in the Canadian Parliament were nurtured to function according to the legislative needs of the Parliamentary system.

In a nutshell, it should be allowed to approve, after the appropriate due diligence and modifications (if necessary), legislation presented to it by the House of Commons. That is its primary role.

Ask Both PM Trudeau and his beleaguered Minister for National Security, Marco Mendicino. One of the reasons they had to abandon their project to implement the Emergencies Act (EA) to bring The Truckers’ Convoy event to an end was directly related to the alleged message that the Senate would not approve the legislation to invoke the EA.

It was not much of an allegation. Someone in the Prime Minister’s Office simply forgot to keep count. The Government “did not have the numbers” in the Senate to ensure its agenda would be passed. Now they are in they are in “scramble mode”, making reasons up as they go along.

A glance at the chart attached on this page will tell even the most partisan that they have only themselves to blame. Constitutionally, the Senate’s membership is limited to 105 individuals. All of them are “appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister”. There is no such prerequisite as “election by the people”.

Logically, it serves the Government’s agenda to garner, or count on, 53 of those Senators. Today, as one can see from the chart above (click on it to enlarge), there are seventeen (17) vacancies. It does not make political sense to attempt to pass legislation with the Senate operating at 84% capacity, unless the government thinks it can count on the votes of 45 of those still “in office”. That would be an unnecessarily devious tactic.

This article is not intended to provide an exhaustive seminar on the workings of the Senate. Suffice it to say that the Senate is not an elected body responsible to an electorate; once selected, a Senator remains “in office” until death or age 75, whichever comes first.

They answer to no-one but the Crown (through its the Governor General) or to whatever loyalty they might have to the Party and Prime Minister who caused their appointment. Prime Minister Trudeau may yet rue the day he decided to ignore whatever legislative and/or political value might reside in his unused “authority to appoint”.

Strictly speaking, the Senate is supposed to protect the interests of the Provinces and their inhabitants. Ontario is entitled to 24 Senators. Presumably, they would assess “national, House of Commons”, initiatives through an Ontario lens. Yet the Prime Minister has allowed five (5) of those positions to go unfilled.

Ontario is Canada’s largest province by population. It should be considered an affront to its fourteen million citizens that they be deprived of full representation.

Given our readership, Corriere Canadese would be remiss if it did not point out that there are currently no senators – none – from Ontario’s more than one million self-identified Italian Canadians, as per the most recent StatsCan figures.

That number should translate into two (2) Senators selected from that community. Surely, under whatever objective criteria, Prime Minister Trudeau can find at least one to fill the void? If he cannot, we can help. Of the ones who have expressed an interest, we do not see any as being inferior in quality and merit to those who have occupied, or currently occupy, a Senate seat.

If the recent provincial election results reflect a gradual migration of the Italian community away from the Liberal Party, Trudeau can attempt to stem that ebb by making those appointments asap. And be democratically responsive in so doing.

(graphic by Raquel Martins)

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