Have to admit when I saw the above expression used in a Globe article all I could see was the possibility of jokes - so many possibilities, so many bums! Especially in the Canadian Senate. Especially now that Stephen packed it chock full of conservative wankers... but I'm splitting hairs. A wanker's a wanker no matter how privileged or lazy or uncaring or conservative. Those seats by the way, did you know that senators are paid more than $130,000 a year to fill them? Sometimes that's just too much to ask of them though.
Even though it involved an attempt to excise from the omnibus budget parts pertaining to the sale of the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the privatization of the foreign arm of Canada Post, and the restructuring of environmental assessment (which gives the government the right unilaterally decide that some federal projects don't need environmental assessments before they proceed), it wasn't important enough for some Liberal Senators to show up for.
These are measures the Conservative government could not have pushed through the House of Commons as stand-alone items, but the vacations and travel plans of a handful of Senators proved to be far more important than their duties to the Canadian people. Those missing Senators by the way were Tommy Banks, Sharon Carstairs, Pierre De Bané, Francis Fox, Serge Joyal, David Smith and Nick Sibbeston.