Victoria Day wraps up the unofficial start to the 2013 summer in Canada. Relaxation should be the word, but for news (and sports) junkies, relax means reading a lot about fun and juicy stories.
Of course, having the Ottawa Senators at home in its 2nd round is a pleasant distraction. Those can stay up later on Sunday night to watch Game 3 because most of them can sleep in Monday morning.
Yes, Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver all fell in the 1st round, and Canadians west of Toronto (outside Vancouver) didn't have an obvious rooting connection in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Ottawa is the last Canadian team, but not every Canadian is behind the Senators' efforts.
If I am posting a story on a Sunday on a Canadian holiday weekend, you know there is a lot going on. So for those who missed the Sunday political notebook, you can read that here.
The Rob Ford story is obviously the biggest headline, but Rob Ford has a long list of questionable behavior judgments since he took office. What is behind some of the other stories is far more fascinating.
When I've toured several provincial legislatures in my travels, I've heard several variations of why those provinces got rid of their senates. The federal Canadian government has a Canadian Senate. And as much as I've studied Canadian politics, what the Senate does is still somewhat of a mystery.
The federal Senate seems to be full of people stuffed into the Senate as a "reward" to sort of advise, but mostly draw a salary. Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy are former journalists, so the impression is that based on the journalism they did, they get to be in the Senate. And they feel slimy and wrong, regardless of party.
And Patrick Brazeau would likely have to leave the Senate if he were a U.S. Senator, but gets to hang around in the Canadian Senate.
When I was studying Canadian politics a long time ago, the impression was that the East liked the Senate as is: unelected and advisory. The West wanted an elected Senate so they would have more respresntation. In those days, a Liberal prime minister could wrap up enough votes by winning in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes.
Stephen Harper was supposed to lead the way to reforming the Senate to make the Senate more accountable. Conservatives now dominate the Senate, yet the Senate is just as unaccountable as when the Liberals were in charge. And these scandals seem worse than anything we heard from the Senate in the recent past.
Even without these scandals, Canada needs to decide as a country what kind of Senate it should have. Somewhere between the U.S. Senate and Britain's House of Lords is a logical place to start, but the longer the country takes, the more likely these types of scandals will continue without a whole lot of accountability.
Christy Clark kept the streak alive of female Canadian premiers, but she needs to win a seat to be allowed into British Columbia's Parliament. Her Liberals thwarted the pundits in their thoughts that the NDP would be in charge. The voter turnout was pretty bad, especially by B.C. standards, and on some level, a number of voters voted against Adrian Dix more than for Christy Clark.
For those who followed the British Columbia election, you might have found a parallel universe with his neighbor province Alberta. In B.C., the Liberals and NDP were the only two parties in play for running the province. In the last election in Alberta, the Progressive Conservatives and the Wild Rose Party were the only parties in play.
This is about the best person to lead the province, not the gender of the premier. But the voters are picking the premier based on a number of concerns. The B.C. voters picked Clark for a number of reasons, but the fact that a female premier kept her job under less than ideal circumstances points out to the idea that gender has very little to do with why Clark kept her job. And that is truly progress.