Senate speaker says video coming soon to chamber of sober second thought

The Senate chamber on Parliament Hill is seen May 28, 2013 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA - Attention political junkies: Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella says Canada's house of sober second thought could have video cameras live-streaming debates from the upper chamber as early as this spring.

Cameras were installed in the elected House of Commons in 1977 — many will argue to the detriment of the quality of debate — but the Senate has resisted any such modernization.

Now, a four-member committee has been assembled to look into televising the appointed upper chamber.

The move is seen as an effort to sell the Senate's merits to a public jaded by the ongoing expense scandals of several senators and an alleged bribery scheme involving the Prime Minister's Office.

Kinsella says the committee will look for a modern, user-friendly and inexpensive way to video proceedings and then provide that video to broadcasters, possibly by streaming it live online.

With Parliament adjourned for the Christmas break, Kinsella told reporters that all the Senate scandal coverage has made for a tiring, frustrating year — but one that may end up reinvigorating what he calls a critical institution for the country.

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