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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Senate Reform Bill is Just Political Posturing, Says NDP

Senate Reform Bill is Just Political Posturing, Says NDP

March 7th, 2012
VICTORIA – New Democrats are calling a private member’s bill brought forward Tuesday a political stunt meant to improve the Liberals’ electoral chances in the upcoming Chilliwack-Hope by-election.

Liberal MLA John Les introduced the Senate Election Act, but New Democrat house leader John Horgan questioned Premier Christy Clark’s commitment to the changes.

“If the Liberal government actually wanted to introduce senate elections in British Columbia, surely they would have brought forward a government-sponsored bill to make it happen,” said Horgan. “Instead, the MLA representing Chilliwack re-introduced his bill that failed to pass under Christy Clark’s leadership last session.

“It is particularly telling that the Conservative MP for Chilliwack came out immediately in support of the bill, along with a Conservative senator from British Columbia, and ministers in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. The B.C. Liberals are trying to bolster their credibility in preparation for calling a by-election in Chillwack-Hope.”

Horgan said New Democrats would not be supporting the bill, noting leader Adrian Dix has long advocated for the senate to be abolished.

“B.C. is dramatically underrepresented in the senate, with one senator for every 700,000 British Columbians while some provinces have one for every 30,000 residents. If the Liberals actually cared about representation for our province in Ottawa, they would be fighting for more equal representation, and they would be fighting for more seats in the House of Commons,” said Horgan.

Horgan noted B.C.was shortchanged when the Harper government introduced legislation in 2011 that will give B.C. six more seats when a proper reflection of the population would take nine more.

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