The Yukon News editorial of March 11 regarding Senator Daniel Lang’s retirement plans was too cheeky by half.
Yes, upon being appointed to the Red Chamber, Senator Lang agreed to support the Harper government’s proposal for Senate term limits of eight years, later amended to nine years. However, that was predicated on the government winning the necessary support of the courts and other stakeholders.
As that support did not materialize, the government was powerless to effect any change at all to the Senate, so the mandatory retirement age of 75 remained in force. In other words, circumstances changed, so Senator Lang changed, as would most reasonable people when faced with changed situations or facts.
Why, therefore, should Senator Lang be expected to resign after serving only eight or nine years? He has served honourably. He has not been tainted by the Senate expense accounting scandal. He has ably represented Yukon and Yukon issues as well as the issues of our nation. If he wishes to continue to serve as our senator and make the gruelling trips back and forth from Ottawa until he is 75, why should he not?
And why ridicule his pay or his pension? Is his compensation different than any other senator? Has anyone else resigned? Have Trudeau’s new appointees agreed to resign after nine years? Have they agreed to take less pay? Even given that most Canadians question the usefulness of the Senate, including at one time, no doubt, most of the sitting senators, why single out Senator Lang for accepting his appointment to the Senate? Is there anyone the News knows who would not do likewise if said appointment were offered?
And by the way, who does the News have in mind as a replacement for Senator Lang? Or is the News going to lead the new charge to change or abolish the Senate beginning with a campaign to leave the Yukon seat vacant?
As for the epithets of “slippery, opportunistic and unprincipled,” although they may sit well on the shoulders of many senators and many members of Parliament, too, the News did not specify any egregious behaviour on the part of Senator Lang that might suggest he was among them.
Perhaps the News could now turn its attention to some of the slippery, opportunistic and unprincipled members of the Liberal caucus, starting with the prime minister and his minister of finance who have already strayed quite far from their campaign promises.
Oh yes, and have they not also shortchanged Yukon and the other territories on our transfer payments, which Senator Lang has loudly protested, but on which situation our Liberal MP has yet to make a peep. Perhaps he is afraid he would be kicked out of caucus.
Meantime, the News might want to reconsider its opinion of Senator Lang and perhaps even offer a retraction.