Web cams for the Senate would cost $153K
Published Saturday, February 16, 2013 10:16PM EST
Debate in the Senate may not be closed to cameras for much longer, with estimates obtained by CTV News putting the cost of four web cameras at a mere $153,000.
However, senators remain divided on whether Canadians should be able to keep tabs on their daily work despite a series of recent controversies to hit the upper chamber.
Canadians are able to watch MPs in the House of Commons thanks to a handful of cameras and a livestream on CPAC. Despite suggestions over the years that the Senate do the same, the upper chamber remains closed to cameras.
Sources have told CTV that four web cameras would cost about $120,000, with about $33,000 on top of that for personnel costs to run them.
Some senators support the idea.
“The cost of that is relatively small and I would hope that we would move on that very quickly,”Sen. James Cowan said this week.
Sen. Hugh Segal, a long-time proponent of cameras in the Senate, blames some of his colleagues for the hold-up, saying they “aren’t so excited about the idea, otherwise it would have passed.”
Television cameras arrived in the House of Commons in 1977 without so much as a recorded vote, while the Australian Senate and the British House of Lords both allow cameras.
While there are concerns about potential showboating similar to that which can turn question period in the House of Commons into a stage show, others suggest cameras in the Senate may have the opposite effect.
“No, I wouldn’t worry about it,” said Sen. David Smith. “Some people might behave better.”
The Senate has come under increased scrutiny in the wake of a series of controversies, largely about senators’ expenses.
With a report from CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson