On Point | Senate scandal and Liberal leadership

A political science professor at Memorial University in St. John's says Senate change is a slow process; former MHA Danny Dumaresque is conducting a poll across the province to help decide whether he will run for the Liberal leadership or not.
The Senate scandal and provincial Liberal leadership are topics on this week's On Point 17:57

Senator Mike Duffy resigned from the Canadian Conservative caucus after controversy over his spending claims.

Financial scandal in the Senate has many Canadians wondering why there hasn't been more reform on the political body.

Kelly Blidook, a political science professor at Memorial University, says most Canadians don't pay much attention to the Senate until there is some kind of controversy. (CBC)

Kelly Blidook, a political science professor at Memorial University in St. John's, says the Senate usually goes unnoticed by most Canadians until such scandals.

"The Senate's one of those places that only gets attention if it's doing things wrong," Blidook said.

"The debate about changing the Senate, getting rid of the Senate, I think that's a very old debate, but it usually just kind of sits by the wayside."

According to Blidook, the current federal government has been trying to reform the Senate, but it is not an easy task.

Liberal leadership race

Danny Dumaresque, a former Liberal MHA, has been conducting a poll over the phone, asking people across the province who they think would make the best Liberal leader: Dwight Ball, Jim Bennett, or Dumaresque himself.

He said he had been approached by people within the Liberal party about the leadership position.

According to Dumaresque, the poll he has been doing is a part of determining whether there is enough interest from the public.

"At this point, as part of the due diligence, we want to see where I am versus some others, what the issues are, how people see me in relation to handling some of these issues, and, certainly, it's going to be a critical piece of information," Dumaresque said.

Dumaresque said one of the biggest reasons he may run for leadership would be the Muskrat Falls project.

"I believe that this deal is a terrible deal that is going to cost undue financial hardship on people," he said. "I'm really concerned that, come four years' time, we're going to be asking these next two generations of our citizens to take on anywhere from $500-700 million every year, assuming it's on budget."

Dumaresque said a number of his former colleagues in the House of Assembly would likely back him if he decides to run for the leadership.