Why Colin Kenny's sober second thought won't matter

Tease the day: Mike Duffy's expense scandal overshadows everything else in the Senate

Senator Mike Duffy. (Devaan Ingraham/CP)

Colin Kenny is a vocal senator, and he writes a lot. Kenny has spent nearly 29 years in the Red Chamber, including a long stretch as chair of its national security and defence committee. No one produced more reports than that committee with Kenny at its helm. For parts of nine years, the committee commented on defending coastlines, bolstering airport security, improving land border crossings, taking a “hard look” at the war in Afghanistan, assessing emergency preparedness across Canada, and much more.

Kenny eventually stepped down as chair (and Pamela Wallin—formerly Conservative, now Independent—took over, and herself stepped down a few months back). But he hasn’t stopped commenting on things. Today, in the National Post, Kenny writes that the Conservative government is foolish to buy Arctic patrol ships, and should instead look to fix up its ageing fleet of destroyers, frigates and submarines. Kenny resisted the urge to resort to ad hominem attacks on government; instead, he kept to policy.

If ever there were an example of the kind of sober second thought the Senate’s meant to apply to the governing of the country, that’s it. Kenny’s intervention on fixing up the navy won’t make much of a fuss in Ottawa this week, though. Not when there’s a crisis of confidence to be debated. Not when the legitimacy of the whole institution is up in the air. Whatever its value, Kenny’s opinion is just background noise as the elected folks in the House of Commons trade barbs about just how much work needs to be done down the hall.

Not a fun time to be a Senator. Not an easy time to talk about policy.


What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with harsher rules for Senate expense claims, expected to be approved this week. The National Post fronts rockets fired into southern Beirut suburbs, a potential spillover from Syrian hostilities. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Toronti Mayor Rob Ford’s contention that no video exists that features him smoking crack cocaine. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the Senate’s new expense claim rules, as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s return to the House of Commons this week. iPolitics fronts the federal government’s removal of in situ oilsands development from its list of projects requiring environmental assessments. leads with a renewed focus in the House on the Senate expenses scandal. National Newswatch showcases The Globe and Mail‘s report that police spoke with a senior Ford staffer about an apparent connection between a video where Ford allegedly smokes crack cocaine and a recent Toronto homicide.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Hospital waste. Knee surgeries in Canada may have produced more than 400,000 kilograms of waste in 2008-09, according to researchers who argue hospitals produce too much waste. 2. Social security. At least half of a new tribunal that hears appeals of EI, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security claims comprises Conservative patronage, including failed candidates.
3. Maple bills. The Bank of Canada has responded to dozens of inquiries from Canadians who claim that the new $100 bill carries an odour of maple syrup—a myth, according to bank officials. 4. Housing. Two levels of government are hoping to quash a Charter challenge that argues housing is a fundamental right. Ontario and the feds both say social housing is, instead, a political matter.

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