NEWS

2014: A year of action in the Senate

Posted December 18th, 2014 in blog by Doug Black

As the Senate rose for the holiday break yesterday evening, I want to provide you with a brief update on what has been a year of action in the Senate.

We have accomplished much this year on behalf of Albertans and all Canadians.

In 2014, the Senate has been busy – we’ve passed over 42 pieces of legislation and our committees issued 16 studies.

Senators also work hard in 12 inter-parliamentary associations. I was honoured this year to be acclaimed to the position of Vice-Chair of the Canada-China Legislative Association. It will allow me to advance issues critical to Canada’s and Alberta’s prosperity as we build trade links with the Asia-Pacific region.

As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, I am working on a fascinating study on the impacts of digital currency and what role they might play in the Canadian economy. I also had the opportunity to ask the Governor about the impact of the falling price of oil on the Canadian dollar. You can see the statement here.

At Senate Energy committee, I have continued to advance Alberta’s energy agenda and we’ve discussed important studies in critical infrastructure and the use of renewable energy in Canada’s North.

Of course, Alberta issues are always at the top of my agenda.

I was fortunate to tour all parts of the province this summer and have ongoing meetings with municipal and provincial leaders across Alberta.

I have been forcefully advocating for solutions to the Temporary Foreign Worker program and the immigration system more broadly which works for Alberta’s labour needs. I will continue to advance these issues to ensure that Alberta businesses can meet their labour needs and support our growing economy.

Energy will be the top of my agenda for 2015. Market access, environmental performance and aboriginal engagement are key to the success of Alberta and Canada’s energy. I will continue to bring these important concerns to the forefront in the New Year.

Albertans are well served by their Senators. I want to specially recognize the efforts of Senators Scott Tannas and Betty Unger. They do great work on behalf of Albertans and deserve tremendous praise for their hard work.

It has been a wonderful year serving as your Alberta-elected Senator. I am confident in the promise of another productive year in 2015.

I wish you and your family all the best for the holidays.

Sincerely,

DB

Interview with Tencer & Grose from 630 CHED

Posted September 9th, 2013 in blog, Interview by Doug Black

I spoke with Tencer and Grose from 630 CHED this morning to discuss the role of the Senate, expenses and transparency. Listen here (Sept 9, hr 2): http://bit.ly/16figcl

Fixing expenses is Senate’s responsibility

Posted August 22nd, 2013 in blog, Statement by Doug Black
2012 Alberta Senate Nominee Election

A snowy day on the campaign trail last year.

When I and my colleagues in the Senate return to Ottawa this fall, we must urgently move to ensure that our expense rules are clear, and that there are consequences for any rules that may have been broken.

From the day I took my seat in the Senate last February to the end of the session in June, I was listening, learning and observing. While spending the summer back home, I have been able to reflect on that experience and ask Albertans – the people who sent me to Ottawa – what they want from the Senate and from their Senators. Overwhelmingly, constituents have emphasized that they want questions of expenses thoroughly and fairly addressed as soon as possible, so we can move on to talk about the real issues facing Alberta. Conservatives in the Senate changed the rules in 2010 to post quarterly expenses online for the first time, and I’ve been happy to tell Albertans that I post detailed expense reports on my website.

The Canadian public agrees with Prime Minister Harper, who told reporters this week in the Northwest Territories that he “would expect that action will be taken to ensure full accountability for any breaking of rules.” Where clear rules were broken, there must be consequences.

Prime Minister Harper also correctly emphasized that the Senate makes the rules that govern Senators’ expenses. He is not subject to those rules, nor does he have the ability to change them. That responsibility lies with the Senate alone, and the Senate must now move quickly to ensure that expense rules are aligned with the intended role of Senators and with public expectations. The Steering Committee of the Senate’s Internal Economy Committee has made determinations about claims made by Senator Wallin that Deloitte identified as being subject to interpretation. Going forward, the Senate must clearly define “Senate business” so that the Canadian public understands what are and what are not acceptable expenses.

In a recent interview, I expressed my conviction that my role as an elected Senator is to ensure that I understand and voice the issues that are important to Alberta. As a legislator in Canada’s Parliament, I also need to understand how to advocate for Alberta’s interests within the framework of a strong federation based on cooperation and compromise. Expense rules must reflect that role. They must be stringent enough to protect the interests of Canadian taxpayers, but not so restrictive that they handcuff Senators to Ottawa and prevent them from getting out and listening to Canadians.

I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues this fall to give Canadians greater clarity around the role of Senators and what that means for the Senate’s expense rules. Canadians can also rest assured that the Senate will make sure that where clear rules were broken, there will be consequences.

Doug Black

 

A New Beginning for the Senate – Senator Black’s Summer Update

Posted August 12th, 2013 in blog, Newsletter by Doug Black

Summer newsletterPlease click here to view the latest edition of Senator Black’s newsletter.

Contents:

  • Reflections from Doug
  • Engaging with Albertans Online
  • Review of Doug’s work in the Senate last session
  • History of the Peace Tower’s Bells
  • Photo gallery

Attorney General of Canada lays out Government’s arguments for Senate Reform

Posted August 1st, 2013 in blog by Doug Black

FactumThe Attorney General of Canada lays out the Government’s arguments for Senate Reform to the Supreme Court: SCC 35203 – Factum – Attorney General of Canada.

I know that many Albertans and Canadians are frustrated by the pace of meaningful Senate Reform. I share that frustration, and I look forward to hearing the Supreme Court’s opinion on the constitutionality of proposed reforms, such as term limits and elections. While we wait, I will continue to advocate for improved Senate accountability, transparency and effectiveness.

Doug Black