Senate QP: Karina Gould brings the vague

After the House of Commons voted down the NDP motion to condemn the government for abandoning their electoral reform promise, minister of democratic institutions Karina Gould headed down the hall to the Other Place to answer questions there. Senator Carignan led off, asking about her new mandate letter, and Gould answered in generalities. Carignan followed-up asking about her plans for reforming the Senate, and Gould mentioned the new appointment system put into her place by her predecessor, and that she was waiting to read the report of the Senate Modernisation committee and to work together.

Senator Frum asked about loopholes that allow foreign money to be used in elections by registered third parties, and Gould spoke circles around financing laws but didn’t give much in the way of an answer regarding a loophole. Frum pushed on the notion that there was a possibility of foreign funds getting into the system, and Gould said she would look into it but it wasn’t something she had really come across.

Senator Sinclair asked about Aboriginal participation in the electoral process, particularly around things like not enough ballots and so on. Gould said that some of those issues, particularly around identification and vouching, were being addressed in Bill C-33.

Senator McPhedran asked about youth voting, and the outcry over the loss of electoral reform. Gould spoke in some generalities about there being no agreement in the broad spectrum, and that all political leaders need to encourage young Canadians to get involved whether they agree or disagree with policies. She also gave a shout out to voter pre-registration in C-33.

Senator Jaffer asked about helping disenfranchised voters and what steps were being taken to engage them in the process. Gould mentioned the changes to identification requirements in C-33.

Senator Batters returned to the issue of third-party groups getting foreign funds, naming LeadNow as a particular offender. Gould largely repeated what she told Frum that there is little evidence that this is a problem.

Senator Griffin asked about 280,000 farm operators but no senators of that background, and wanted those underrepresented occupations be an appointment criteria. Gould said that it was an important point to be raised and she would be delighted to sit down and talk further.

Senator McIntyre asked about the Ethics Commissioner looking to investigate party fundraisers (which we can’t recall her asking for), and Gould said that she looked forward to working with all sides on the forthcoming legislation on fundraisers. McIntyre asked why new measures wouldn’t apply to backbenchers, and Gould reminded him that fundraising is a part of all politics, but noted why they felt including leadership candidates was needed.

Senator Enverga asked about the plans for making sure fundraisers are held in public places and if that meant that they should be open to anyone, and Gould assured him that it was about openness and transparency.

Senator Dagenais asked about something about consulting with Canadians (but it didn’t make much sense), and Gould went on some generalities about the importance of listening to Canadians.

Senator Joyal asked for some specifics about her plans for Senate reform, and Gould again deferred to the Senate committee on modernisation and engaging in a productive manner.

Senator Housakos followed up in the same vein, making a dig about the leanings of new senators, and wondered about whether kicking senators out of national caucus weakened their role and if the government “representative” instead of being a cabinet minister. Gould disagreed with the premise of his question, praising the great work on C-14. Housakos pressed about the value that senators could make to caucus, but Gould kept up with general praise.

Senator Martin asked about why new fundraising rules were needed given the guidelines to ministers, but Gould said they can always do better. Martin tried to press, but Gould asserted that ministers follow the rules.

Senator Lankin asked about the use of Senate QP, and whether it would be worthwhile to bring ministers to the chamber for a focused QP once a bill has been tabled in the Senate but before second reading debate begins. Gould called it an interesting idea, and said it was up to the Senate to decide how it wants to use its QP.

Overall, it wasn’t a terribly edifying 40 minutes, and while Gould brought no notes with her and spoke off the cuff the entire time, she also said very little of substance. The only real mercy is that she kept her answers fairly brief so as to not drag them out for long periods, which also meant we got a great many questions (some of them two or three times when she didn’t really answer), albeit those of us observing Senate QP were wondering if there wasn’t a bit of conspiracy theorizing with the “foreign funding” questions.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Senator Lillian Eva Dyck for a structured and greatly detailed black jacket with a collared white shirt, and to Senator Larry Campbell for a tailored black suit with a crisp white shirt and pocket square, and a red tie. Style citations go out to Senator Paul McIntyre for a dark grey suit with a butterscotch shirt and black and gold tie, and to Senator Claudette Tardif for a boxy gold jacket with black stripes.

3 thoughts on “Senate QP: Karina Gould brings the vague

  1. Karina Gould is 29 and sounds like one. Vacuous and not terribly well educated, just lucky she got PMJT attention and became a Minister because we have to have a quota of women in Cabinet for political reasons. With people like her no wonder people have no faith in politicians, another air head. The feminist cause would be better served with women who have gravitas and something to say for themselves. Gould is only a puppet and will perform tricks like a poodle for the PMO. Very sad.

    • That is meaningless if you are willing to say just about anything to please the boss. One should never equate diplomas with competence or knowledge. Nowadays kids like her have no general education and a piece of paper is suppose to be your ticket to fame. Just watched what happens next to her once she is no longer useful.

Comments are closed.