January 29, 2014
OTTAWA – The Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement:
“Canadians expect their leaders to be open and honest with them, and they expect us to come forward with practical solutions that address problems directly. The Senate, through extreme patronage and partisanship, has become an institution that poorly serves the interests of Canadians.
“Paired with patronage, the pervasive issue of partisanship and control in the Senate is a deeply negative force. We need immediate action to address this. That is why, as of today, the National Liberal Caucus will only include elected Members of Parliament, and not Senators. This action will immediately mean that each of the 32 current Liberal Senators will become independent of the Liberal Caucus.
“This is about doing the right thing for Canadians and our institutions. I believe that Canadians are rightly seeking an effective institution that debates the difficult issues they are facing today. Equally, I believe that Canadians have no desire to re-open the Constitution. I am taking action today with these reforms, and I hope to earn the opportunity to go further as Prime Minister.
“That is why I am also announcing today that if I am elected Prime Minister, I will put in place an open, transparent and non-partisan appointment process for Senators. This process will be developed working with experts and informed by other non-partisan appointment processes, such as that of the Supreme Court Justices and Order of Canada recipients.
“Further, as the majority party in the Senate, immediate and comprehensive change is in Conservative hands. I’m calling on the Prime Minister to do the right thing and join us in ending patronage and partisanship in the Senate. All he needs is the judgment and will to get it done.
“Taken together, these steps represent the most significant and concrete actions to reform the Senate in its history. At our best, Liberals are relentless reformers. When public institutions fail to serve the public interest, we take bold steps to change them. These proposals will bring real, positive change for Canadians.”
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