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Senate should abolish partisanship, NDP urges

NDP MP Charlie Angus speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, February 16, 2012.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The NDP is challenging Conservatives and Liberals to put an end to taxpayer-funded partisan work by senators.

New Democrat ethics critic Charlie Angus says senators should not be allowed to sit in their parties' caucus meetings, to fundraise for them or help organize election campaigns from their perch in the upper house.

He says ending the blatant partisanship of senators would return the disgraced Senate to its intended role as a chamber of sober second thought.

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The NDP has no senators so it is challenging what it calls the "old-line parties" to rein in the partisan activity of their senators, some of whom have been mired in a series of expenses scandals for most of the past year.

The NDP is also calling for a prohibition on any Senate-funded travel that is not directly related to senators' legislative duties.

And it's calling for a single ethics commissioner and ethics code to oversee the conduct of members in both houses of Parliament, rather than continuing with separate ethics officers for the Senate and House of Commons.

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