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Welch's Gripe Juice

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

If a senator resigns, does anyone notice?

Posted: 06/3/2014 8:47 PM | Comments: 0

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Sen. JoAnne Buth resigned today. I was channel-surfing before heading in to work the night shift, and I learned this from a screen crawl on CBC News Network. It did not occur to me until about an hour later that Buth might be one of Manitoba's senators and this might be of local interest.

After I alerted my boss, he said we probably just wanted a shortie, a brief. Not really that interesting, he said. I was slightly indignant. She's one of Manitoba's constitutionally-guaranteed voices in the upper chamber! Her resignation matters! This leaves Manitoba with half its Senate seats vacant!

As I drove in to work, I began to reconsidered this. Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed her more than two years ago, she has not been quoted once in the Free Press, not even when I canvassed all four sitting senators to find out what they thought about the Wallin-Duffy-Brazeau scandal. An entomologist by training, Buth has deep roots in agriculture. But she was never quoted by the Manitoba Co-operator either. I have never seen her at any political events, not even lame photo ops. I have never heard any gossip or intel about her. I know of no issues she championed or causes she backed. We aren't even absolutely sure how to pronounce her name.

Though I'm sure she is a very nice and capable person, she was, like most senators, an invisible member of a irrelevant and disgraced institution. A shortie was probably all her two years in the Senate deserved. 

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