The Liberal Senate Forum


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Meet Senator

James Cowan

The Hon. James  Cowan, Q.C., B.A., LL.B., LL.M., LL.D. Senator James Cowan has greatly influenced the educational and legal communities of Nova Scotia. He was appointed to the Senate on March 24, 2005 by the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin.


Recent Publications

Autism families are still in crisis

31 Mar, 2014 | By Senator Jim Munson | We will mark World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. Last month, a select committee of the Ontario Legislative Assembly published an interim report on developmental services in Ontario. The final recommendations will be submitted to the Ontario government in May.

Accountability & transparency for the whole of Parliament

25 Mar, 2014 | By Senator Percy Downe | I’ve spoken with many Canadians recently who’ve expressed that they want more transparency and greater accountability from their Government. They don’t want catch phrases. They don’t want promises. They want action; and given that both the Senate and the House of Commons represent the key link between Canadians and their government, it is our responsibility to keep up with these public demands.

The myth of Harper’s job creation record

4 Feb, 2014 | By Senator Art Eggleton | With close to 46,000 Canadians getting pink slips in December, Canadians are getting the picture that the economy is not as rosy as the Harper government says it is. We have been fed the myth that our economy is not only doing fine, but that we are world leaders. Unfortunately, we are not.

Ottawa Senators Become Free Agents: The New Senate

4 Feb, 2014 | By Senator Jim Cowan | On Wednesday, the Senate of Canada entered a new era. Justin Trudeau announced that the 32 sitting Liberal Senators would no longer be members of the national Liberal Caucus. His goal: to do his part to remove the excessive partisanship that has interfered with the Senate fulfilling its role of “sober second thought”. He promised Canadians that when he becomes Prime Minister, he will also end patronage appointments to the Senate, putting in place an open, transparent, and non-partisan public process for appointing and confirming senators.

The Case for an Unelected Senate

8 Dec, 2013 | By Senator Art Eggleton | Canadian Senators frequently express frustration at getting little or no attention for the work they do -- the comprehensive policy studies, and the "sober second thought" of legislation from the House of Commons. And when the spotlight does finally settle on the upper chamber, it is over the alleged misbehaviour of a few. Without doubt, such matters need full investigation, full disclosure, and appropriate corrective action for any misdeeds.

Just how inclusive are Canadians, really?

18 Nov, 2013 | By Senator Art Eggleton | What effect has poverty, homelessness, a lack of affordable housing and income inequality had on our national social fabric?

Raising awareness about harassment in the RCMP

4 Sep, 2013 | By Senator Grant Mitchell and MP Judy Sgro | On September 5, 2013 we will be hosting a roundtable in St. John's Newfoundland about issues of harassment in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The event is the third of a series of five roundtables being held across the country, culminating with a national roundtable summit which will produce a report with findings and recommendations.

What honourable senators do for you

3 Sep, 2013 | By Senator James Cowan | On March 24, 2005, at the request of Prime Minister Paul Martin, I was asked to serve in the Senate. There were nine of us appointed that day: Retired General Roméo Dallaire, Claudette Tardif, Nancy Ruth, Elaine McCoy, Art Eggleton, Lillian Dyck, Bob Peterson, Grant Mitchell and myself.

A proud day for the Canadian Senate

3 Jul, 2013 | By Senator James Cowan | On June 26, Liberal, Conservative and Independent senators joined together in a rare demonstration of non-partisan co-operation to amend Bill C-377, a private member’s bill that would have forced labour unions to publicly disclose an unprecedented amount of personal information relating to individual Canadians and businesses, and post them, with names, on the Internet.

Harper’s policies undermine our energy ambitions

16 Feb, 2013 | By Senator Grant Mitchell | The tumultuous approval processes for the Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines highlight two glaring problems with the federal government’s approach to energy policy.

Is More Always Better?
A Look at Canada’s Free Trade Agreements

30 Jan, 2013 | By Senator Percy Downe | It has become accepted economic wisdom in Ottawa, spoken with great certainty by government officials, that the signing of numerous free trade deals is the best avenue to ensure we continue to enjoy prosperity in Canada. On that continuing initiative, the Senate recently passed the Canada Panama Free Trade Agreement, the latest in a series of such agreements that the Harper Government has signed with minor trading partners.

Grey Seal Cull: Making the Ethical Choice

19 Nov, 2012 | By Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette | On October 23, 2012, the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans tabled a report recommending the removal of grey seals in order to aid the recovery of cod and other groundfish stocks.

How Canada is starting to tackle the autism crisis

12 Nov, 2012 | By Senator Jim Munson | It’s almost 10 years since my eyes were first opened to autism and its daunting human and social implications. As I walked up to Parliament Hill one morning, I ran into a man peacefully protesting in front of the Centennial Flame. He and his wife had the heavy burden of caring for an autistic child, a son who could not even make eye contact with them. The boy was isolated as a result of his symptoms, and so too were they. The emotional and financial weight was too much.

Senate Conservatives silence MS sufferers

8 Nov, 2012 | By Senator Jane Cordy and MP Kirsty Duncan | This past Thursday, the Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SAST) committee held its third hearing on Senator Jane Cordy's Bill S-204. The bill calls for a national strategy for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Duncan previously sponsored the same bill, Bill C-280, in the House of Commons.

NEXEN-CNOOC : My Proposal to Define the Opaque “net benefit” Criteria

12 Oct, 2012 | By Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette | The proposed buyout of Nexen Inc., a Canadian oil and gas company who has been discovering and developing energy resources in some of the world’s most significant basins – including Western Canada, the UK North Sea, offshore West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico – has been causing quite the commotion amongst politicians and the public.
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