Trouble in the House of Commons: Documents Show Unpredictable Senate Do Not Agree with Trudeau’s Agenda

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The Liberal government is being asked to pay near-unparalleled attention to the Red Chamber dynamics. The documents show that Liberal cabinet ministers are asked in the briefing notes to focus on how the Senate views the laws.

In the days where either the Conservatives or Liberals dominated the Senate and everything was decided accordingly, PM Trudeau now has to consider all aspects as he tries to move forward with his agenda.

This is PM Trudeau’s own creation. At the time when he was an opposition leader, during the expense scandal related to the Senate, the Liberal senators were expelled from his group and he vowed that when he would become the prime minister, he would appoint independent senators.

Now, PM Trudeau is having trouble in moving forward his agenda in the Senate that is dominated by Liberals who are not party disciplined, “non-aligned” senators and Conservatives who are constitutionally opposed to any priorities that Liberals propose.

Peter Harder, PM Trudeau’s Red Chamber point man said that ministers, along with their senior staff, want PM Trudeau to take part in strategy sessions where they can discuss how the bills can move forward through the senate.

The documents show a briefing from prime minister’s Privy Council Office to commissioner’s information office. Apart from focusing on the Senate, the briefing notes are written in such a manner so that they can be easily skimmed. It also says that potential policies should be put up front so that immediate decisions can be taken.

The delay in the government bills due the Conservative Senate is causing problems. To solve the problem, Harder created a discussion paper that outlined changes in the Senate rules. He suggested that a separate time should be given to debates so that Liberal’s legislation can be considered on time.

While Senator Stephen Greene agreed to the rules proposed by Harder, he said that it was wrong of Harder to blame the Conservatives. Liberal’s proposal to bring changes in to the House of Commons was shot down by both the New Democrats and the Conservatives. The purpose of the proposal was to curtail filibuster. Ironically, the proposal has led to weeks of filibuster in the committee.