The Senate last week voted to amend Bill C-377, legislation passed by Members of Parliament that would compel labour unions to disclose their salaries and expenses. For many, the bill represented a welcome move to financial transparency. For others, there was no lack of irony in the Senate’s move considering the recent spectacle over the abuse of expenses by a number of senators.
But as Andrew Coyle correctly argues, the Senate’s actions to amend C-377 are completely wrong, stating that “it is intolerable that that power should be exercised by any but those the people choose.”
The 18th Century Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke asserted that parliament was not a congress of advocates of competing interests, but a deliberative assembly seeking to identify a common interest.
The Senate is neither of these institutions. Instead, it is a community of political partisans unaccountable to Canadian citizens whose actions are an affront to political legitimacy.