It is unclear what Prime Minister Harper will say in his keynote address at the Conservative Convention in Calgary on Friday night. Although we haven’t been officially asked by the PMO and his communication team to provide input, we decided to write a first draft of the speech that he should give to the party membership.
We were elected in 2006 primarily on the platform of good government and transparency after the scandals in the previous Liberal governments. We promised that we needed to hold ourselves to a higher standard. While we have made reforms that have enhanced our democracy, clearly the events within the Senate and within my own office over the past months have shown that we have not met the standard we campaigned on. As Prime Minister of this country and Leader of the Conservative Party, I apologize for my government’s failings as we have let Canadians down. For that I take full responsibility.
I would like to provide you with the details of what has occurred over the past ten months within my office. [Prime Minister Harper to insert details.]
In the next few weeks I will be making the following changes within the PMO to avoid this situation from occurring again. [Prime Minister Harper to insert details.] I will also be recommending the following changes within the Conservative Party at the next Executive Meeting [Prime Minister Harper to insert details].
I have always been a strong believer in reforming the Senate and electing representatives to ensure accountability. Quite frankly my hands have been tied in making substantive Senate reforms without engaging the provinces in constitutional discussions. Canadians are asking for change and the time is now to address the future role of the Senate within Canada. Therefore I will be asking a Commission to look at our options and report back to the House of Commons by March 1st. The Commission will consist of [Prime Minister Harper to insert details]. Let me be clear, we will be implementing changes to the Senate by the end of 2014. In the interim, I will no longer be appointing individuals to the Senate until the Commission has reported back to the House.
Ladies and gentlemen, we should all be proud of the achievements of this Conservative government [Prime Minister Harper to provide details]. However it has become clear to all Canadians that more needs to be done to improve our democratic institutions.
The Conservative Party is a party that was built from the grass roots, built on the ideas and principles of its members. I am ultimately accountable to the party membership and the voters. Therefore, I am prepared to open this session up to you, the members, for the next hour to answer your questions and listen to your suggestions.
Thank-you and God Bless Canada.