Joe Byrne, Federal Council Member with the New Democratic Party of Canada and Mike Redmond, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Prince Edward Island are urging Premier Robert Ghiz and Island Liberal Members of Parliament to help abolish the Canadian Senate.

“Very serious ethical problems of former Conservative Senator Mike Duffy, former Liberal Senator Mac Harb and others are making it clearer that it is time for all Island politicians including the Premier and federal MPs to get behind efforts to abolish the Senate,” stated Byrne.

Premier Robert Ghiz has never committed to abolishing the Senate. Instead he has suggested an intervention with the Supreme Court of Canada that stresses equal provincial representation. A major concern regarding Prince Edward Island’s role in Senate reform has been the constitutional provision that PEI having four Senate seats entitles the Island to four House of Commons seats.
“Ghiz should get behind the Nova Scotia government seeking Senate abolishment. And he should focus on saving the Island seats in the House of Commons. Ghiz should put elected positions ahead of appointed ones,” Redmond added.

In the House of Commons Official Opposition Ethics Critic and NDP MP Charlie Angus has demanded an independent investigation into the expenses file of Senator Duffy including the role of the Prime Minister’s Office. Media stories have included comments from Island MPs Sean Casey and Wayne Easter calling for the resignation for former Conservative Senator Mike Duffy. Premier Ghiz has declined comment on the specific issue of Senator Duffy’s status at this time.

“So we see Liberal MPs criticizing a former Tory Senator, saying nothing about a former Liberal Senator whose expenses are also under scrutiny, and not uttering a peep about abolishing the Senate. Unless the Premier or some Liberal MPs state clear intentions on the Senate then we have to conclude that the Liberal Party is status quo on the issue of appointing Senators. This is undemocratic and unacceptable,” Byrne stated.

In March of this year, the NDP Official Opposition in the House of Commons put forward a motion to abolish the Senate. The Conservatives and Liberals defeated the motion.
“It is time to see if the Liberals are clearer on what Islanders want. Islanders will not tolerate so called representatives that they cannot elect or remove in a vote. If the Liberals are not getting that message now they will soon enough,” concluded Redmond.

Joe Byrne
Federal Council Member, New Democratic Party of Canada