The Senate shall return

The House of Commons wrapped up last week to allow Members of Parliament to return to their ridings for the holidays to meet with constituents and spend time with family. Members will return to work in Ottawa in late January around the time of the Olympics.

Friday morning, most people were under the mistaken impression that Parliament had closed for the holidays. However, the Senate still sits.

The Senate sat all day Friday and went through until midnight Thursday night. Senators debated C-51, the HST and special benefits for self-employed workers. Despite the House of Commons shutting down on Thursday, the Senate still has half of one day’s business remaining including committee hearings and votes. Senator Gerald Comeau, the Deputy leader of the government in the Senate, proposed that the Senate sit through Saturday to finish the legislative agenda. However, his Liberal counterpart refused and the Senate will return to complete one half day’s work before senators go home for the holiday break.

What does this mean?

By delaying the completion of one half day’s work, over 100 senators went home for the weekend, many of them flying business class to reach their destinations only to return on Monday. A conservative estimate of travel costs for 100 pampered senators jetting to all corners of the country for the weekend to come back for a short wrap up would cost over $200,000 including associated taxi, per diem and hotel costs.

And the significance to the larger discussion? While we nickel and dime the expense claims of cabinet ministers in the spirit of accountability (as we should), the Senate flies below the radar of many Ottawa watchers. The Conservatives have been making the case against Liberal entitlement and for them the Senate has been an easy target. The return of more than 100 Senators to the Upper Chamber today may make the few hours of wrap up among some of the costliest in its history.

Comments

comments

  • joannetb

    However, his Liberal counterpart refused and the Senate will return to complete one half day’s work before senators go home for the holiday break.

    Aren't the Liberal Senators worried about their carbon footprint?

  • Liz J

    Who is in charge of the Chamber Pot?

  • jad

    Ah, but soon it will be January and then we will five more Conservative senators ….

  • E. Mac

    Some things never change = This being one of them.
    These guys are supposed to be the Red Chamber of Sober Second Thought – Wrong on both counts!

  • E. Mac

    Some things never change = This being one of them.
    These guys are supposed to be the Red Chamber of Sober Second Thought – Wrong on both counts!

  • m123T

    And I predict that not one of the tv anchors, working or supposedly retired will be among those names.
    All those years of cover up for liberal wrongdoing will not be rewarded. Who will the PM name.

  • Liz J

    The PM will surprise us, he's very good at that. Nothing from the ranks of tittering twits in the media to choose from. We know he made the right choice with Duffy by the reaction from that same media across the board. They're still treating him with the utmost disdain.

  • cantuc

    I think he better appoint Ross Rebaggedlatte in the senate , afore the whole constuency gets stoned on second hand smoke and he gets elected and Stokewell Day loses his seat .

  • Liz J

    How about Maureen McTeer for Senator, that would cause a stir in the Joe Clarke household at least.

    How about John Nunziata? Don Cherry is a very patriotic Canadian, he stands up for our military, he could do the job and wow them with his wardrobe.

  • C. Comeau

    It's Gerald Comeau, not Cuomo.

  • cantuc

    constituency ^ damn my eyes went blurry just thinking about it

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Whoops! Thanks.

  • Liz J

    Was that a Freudian slip?

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    No, probably just that I'm more aware of “Mario Cuomo” the former NY Governor than “Gerald Comeau” the Senator

  • Liz J

    Then there's Rivers Cuomo, Weezer's lead singer. It's a fairly common name to the South.

  • gmfcobourgon

    Since the Neo-Cons are very concerned about these costs, I am sure the Con-senators stayed in Ottawa over the week-end to save on expenditures and show up the Liberals senators.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Actually, many of them did! I checked into it.

  • centigrade

    Harper will soon have a majority in the Senate then we will start to see the long road of getting rid of these scroungers of the public purse.At least limit tehir term to eight years and no pension or golden handshake

  • Liz J

    Somehow I doubt a rebagged latte will beat Stock Day, he's a very solid MP. There are a few younger Liberals running in ridings they know damned well all they'll gain is experience at running. That is the case in the riding I live in.

  • glenparker

    So very very true.Abolish this useless organization. Worthless

  • owler

    While I abhor government waste, this is kinda trivial given the cost of the issues being debated. It's the structural spending that kills us. I'm glad to spend $200,000 to have then come back for a few hours for a fluky debate extension.

    But let's hope there are a bunch of new faces among them when the Senate returns. What a great Christmas gift that would be. (Are you listening, Santa Steve? We've been really really good this year, honest!)

  • james patrick

    Agree with your statement… now leave the empty seats empty. Look at what you will save coast to coast.

  • gmfcobourgon

    Sir,

    If you checked into it and many have stayed in Ottawa, give the count by party. Consequetly your costing is out of whack.

    GMFCobourgON

  • heather

    So, aside from the fact that many senators opted to stay in Ottawa over the weekend and compounded by the fact that they will be sitting again today….

    What does it take to make you realize that facts are often useful when you wish to be taken seriously?

    Senate Committees are still sitting too.

    Glad to see you're on top of things.

  • heather

    So, aside from the fact that many senators opted to stay in Ottawa over the weekend and compounded by the fact that they will be sitting again today….

    What does it take to make you realize that facts are often useful when you wish to be taken seriously?

    Senate Committees are still sitting too.

    Glad to see you're on top of things.