Vaudreuil-soulanges MP blasts Conservatives on Brazeau affair
Jamie Nicholls supports abolishing Senate
Saying the Brazeau affair reopens the debate on the relevance and mandate of a 19th century relic, the Vaudreuil-Soulanges federal MP has added his voice to a growing list of people demanding that Prime Minister Stephen Harper make good on a promise of Senate reform.
NDP MP Jamie Nicholls spoke Friday in the House of Commons about Senator Patrick Brazeau, who is currently facing criminal charges of assault and sexual assault.
Appointed for life by Stephen Harper in 2009, Senator Brazeau could cost Canadian taxpayers up to $7 million if he sits until the age of 75.
Nicholls said Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have gone back on their word after years of promising Senate reform and transparency.
According to Nicholls, Canadians are already seeing the consequences of the lack of action.
“Once elected, Stephen Harper didn’t hesitate to fall into the partisanship of his predecessors,” Nicholls said. “Even if he appointed candidates who didn’t get elected as MPs, like Josée Verner and Larry Smith.”
Smith, who lives in Hudson, was first appointed to the Senate in 2010. He was again appointed in 2011 after an unsuccessful federal campaign in the Lac-Saint-Louis riding.
Nicholls says Harper committed to reforming the Canadian Senate when he ran for Prime Minister of Canada for the first time in March 2004. “‘I will not appoint senators. People sitting in Parliament must be elected by the people they represent,’” Harper said at the time, according to Nicholls.
“If only [Patrick Brazeau] was an isolated case,” Nicholls said in the House of Commons Friday. “But among the long list of friends of the party appointed to the Senate by the Prime Minister, the abuse is unfortunately all too frequent.”
In a press release issued by his office, Nicholls had more to say on the subject: ‘Other Conservative and Liberal senators are suspected of lying about their place of residence so they can claim living expenses. These events cast even more doubt on the necessity of the Senate and shameful waste of public funds by this useless institution.’
“How are the Conservatives going to ensure that taxpayers get their money back?” Nicholls demanded, adding, abolishing the Senate, like the NDP proposes, would save taxpayers $90 million each year.