July 1st, 2024 | RYAN TYLER

Without this Strategy, A Conservative Government Is Dead In the water

Two chambers are about to go to war.
When Pierre Poilievre takes over Trudeau's office next year, he will be faced with a Senate that is made up of ideological progressives. This reality will set the stage for an ideological civil war within Canada's top chambers of government. If the Conservatives choose to play checkers instead of chess, they will be the most ineffective Conservative government in history.
Today, more than 70 of the sitting senators have been appointed by the advice of Trudeau. Upon publishing this, there are 10 vacancies which will likely be filled before the next federal election. Of the 43 members in the “Independent Senators Group”, more than half are proven ideological progressives. In total, more than half of the 105 Senate seats are occupied by people who have supported the Liberal Party's agenda.
When Poilievre's majority tries to repeal the carbon tax, chances are high that the progressive Senate will block it from royal assent. Or, they'll amend it to the point of absurdity. When Conservatives try to defund or privatize the CBC, the ideological Senate will block it and accuse Poilievre of trying to dismantle Canada's cultural heritage. The progressives in Senate will view themselves as saviours and heroes against a Conservative super-majority in the House Of Commons. This would trigger a very public war between the two houses of government.
A progressive majority in the Senate will upend and delay the work of a Conservative majority in the House Of Commons. If they succeed long enough, it will make the Poilievre government look weak, ineffective, and useless. This, of course, won't be allowed to happen—not without a fight.
We all know Poilievre is outspoken and unafraid to start a fight. After, maybe, the very first attempt by the Senate to block a major Conservative bill, Poilievre will pull out the arsenal and declare war. If he's smart, he'll let it happen a second time before going nuclear. If he's uber smart, his party will put together an omnibus bill filled with tax cuts, housing projects, major reforms, and things to make Canadians happy—knowing full well the Senate will block it because of one or two big things they don't like.
When the Senate blocks it, he can publicly accuse them of standing against Canadians.
The Senate, being the Liberal Party's last bastion of influence, will run public campaigns against Conservatives, calling their efforts an affront to the environment, Canadian culture, women's rights, and everything else, while pumping up the Senate as Canada's only remaining institution to stand guard against white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, taxphobia, Nazism, arachnophobia, bibliophobia, cherophobia, chronophobia, pedophobia—you name it.
Conservatives in the House Of Commons will call the Senate an anti-democratic institution that is actively working against what Canadians voted for.
The ideological and partisan warfare will be fun to watch, but it will consume too much time and soak up most of the CPC's resources and capital. If Conservatives don't play their cards right, they'll fall into all the traps and let the Liberal Senate dictate the destiny of their government. After four years of stalemate and bickering, Canadians will get annoyed.
Unless Conservatives nip this looming problem in the bud as soon as possible, they are setting themselves up to be lame ducks.
They need to restart Harper's promise to reform the Senate and make it a part of their campaign going into the next election. By promising to do everything they can to reform the Senate, they will be setting up the expectation for Canadians. The whole point would be to keep the Senate's undemocratic nature in people's minds leading up to a Conservative majority in the House Of Commons.
When the Senate makes its first move to block Conservative legislation, Canadians will remember that it is Trudeau's Senate—appointed by him, not elected by the people.
This strategy loads Poilievre's guns before he wins a majority. Senate reform doesn't need to take centre stage in a Conservative campaign, it just needs to be in the books. It needs to be mentioned regularly enough to remind Canadians that it is an undemocratic institution. Conservatives need to promise a bill to democratize the Senate within the first 180 days of their mandate. Regardless of how useless such a bill would be, it's important to send something like this for the Senate to reject immediately.
If the Senate somehow approves a bill to explore democratic reforms, all the better. Either scenario is a win for the Conservative government.
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