The North and the Senate
Opposition leader responds to criticism
by Arthur Milnes
NNSL (Apr 27/98) - A reformed Canadian Senate is just the sort of tool an isolated part of Canada like the North needs to ensure its voice is heard on the national agenda, says Reform Party Leader Preston Manning.
In an interview with News/North, Manning responded to questions about the criticism he has received since raising the issue of Senate reform during debates in the House of Commons last week on the creation of Nunavut.
"The Upper House is suppose to be the place where the thinly populated places get their voice," he said. "If Nunavut is concerned about the South telling it what to do, the Senate is then important."
Manning pointed to Alaska to press his point. "Alaska has two chips to play in the American Senate poker game just like (heavily populated) New York or California," he said.
"That's the way (a reformed, elected and equal Canadian Senate) for the North to avoid having the South tell it what to do."
Manning also pointed out that he was the only speaker from his party to concentrate on the Senate during debates on the bill.
And, he said the rules of the House of Commons are such that a MP can only rarely discuss the other chamber of Parliament.
The Nunavut bill was one of those moments, he said.