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Letter to the Hill Times, February 8, 2010

Grit Sen. Kenny driven by partisanship

he pretends to decry: Tory Sen. Tkachuk

 

Re: “Liberal Senators fear Tories will turn Senate into carbon copy of House,” (The Hill Times, Feb. 1, p. 1). If Harris MacLeod is going to quote Liberal Senator Kenny on remarks I purportedly made, you’d think he would have the good grace to check with me to see if I actually made them. Had he done so he’d have learned I never said anything of the kind.

I am not surprised when “in essence” Sen. Kenny puts words in my mouth, but I don’texpect a Hill Times reporter to abet him by taking his version at face value concerning remarks I never made.

In a way, I suppose, I should be thankful. Sen. Kenny’s false citing of my “remarks” is obviously driven by the same type of partisanship he pretends to decry. He therefore undermines the Liberals’ argument that the next session of Parliament will result in a more partisan Senate because the Conservatives have a plurality. Nonsense. The Senate is now and always has been partisan. To pretend otherwise is to live in a dream world (a place that is hardly foreign to Sen. Kenny).

I am a member of the Conservative caucus, just as Sen. Kenny is a member of the Liberal caucus. Each week when Parliament is in session we both attend our respective caucus meetings and discuss strategy for the week. As members of the governing caucus, the Conservatives try to figure out a way to devise and implement policy and legislation that we think will make Canada a better place. As members of the opposition caucus, the Liberals devise ways to oppose or amend that legislation because they have a competing vision of Canada.

Partisanship, then, far from being a bad thing, is nothing more than a group of like-minded people working together to achieve a common goal against those who would oppose it. Remove it from our system of government and you move perilously close to one-party government. There is a word for that and it isn’t democracy.

Where partisanship fails is when it degenerates to the level of, for instance, making up quotations to attribute to a member of the opposite side. And as Sen. Kenny demonstrates, the Liberals are as capable of that as anyone.

Conservative Sen. David Tkachuk

Ottawa, Ont.