Wednesday, December 02, 2009

History of Canadian Senate Reform (with comparisons to Australia)

After reading today that the Australian senate has blocked a gov't bill on implementing a "Cap and Trade" system, here is an excellent paper I stumbled upon that I strongly recommend about the detailed history of Canadian senate reform with comparisons to the Australian model.

As a proud Albertan, Canadian senate reform has always been one of my most contentious issues and so I am always interested in hearing and reading people's opinions about it.

The paper was written by Hon. Dr. Ted Morton, a former professor of political science, senate candidate in Alberta, former Alberta PC leadership candidate (whom I voted for), and current Alberta government Minister for Sustainable Resource Development. 

The paper provides a thorough understanding of the Australian parliamentary system, notably their senate, and outlines the several attempts at senate reform in Canada, and the reasons for it--usually spurred on by Western alienation in Canada, but halted by the need to appease Quebec. 

Dr. Morton also mentions that because of the lack of an elected Canadian senate, the voice of minority rights  are heard through challenges in the Supreme Court referring to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Whereas in Australia, with their lack of such a Charter, minority rights are heard through their elected regional senators as members of minor political parties can be elected through their proportional representative single-transferrable ballot system. 

I learned a lot from the paper and Dr. Morton's opinions on and reasons for senate reform in Canada exactly match with my own.  I'm not a big fan of the P.R. system in voting for the lower house as popular as it is with minor parties like the NDP and Greens, but applying it to the upper house as Australia does now interests me.

So with that, I believe Canadians should look strongly at the Australian system as a model for our own. 

Australian Senate
Number of states, territories:  6, 2
Senators per state, territory:  12, 2
Total senators:  76
Half of state senators elected every 6 years
All territory senators elected every 3 years
Senators can hold cabinet positions in gov't.

Read more on the Australian system here.


Anonymous said...

A legitimate Canadian small-c fiscal conservative government would stand up fervently and passionately as opponents of any kind of "Cap, Tax, & Transfer system of wealth redistribution. Rather, the "Cap, Tax & Transfer" system that left-plunging Harper and Prentice keep referring to is a stealth strategy for an enormous, disingenuous, long-term tax increase on all Canadian households. "Cap, Tax & Transfer" would evolve around an economic Ponzi scheme that includes an enormous new source of tax revenue to the Canadian government to allow it to continue to expand into the private sector, demolishing thousands of high paying manufacturing jobs, the emergence of global governance, create a temple of dome which would lock in devastating disasters for our children's generation, and a devastating transfer of wealth from wealth producers to wealth wasters.

This tax increase and wealth transferring vehicle would immediately increase the costs of goods and services such as gasoline, electricity and a wide range of industrial products. The increase in the price of Canadian goods would make them less competitive. Canadian firms would suffer in export markets and domestically in competition with goods imported from countries that do not impose such a high implicit tax on CO2 emissions. There would no doubt be pressure to impose tariffs on imports from other countries that have lower carbon costs. Countervailing tariffs base on carbon content would hurt Canadian consumers, destroy thousands of jobs, and threaten our global trading system.

Any candid, forthright genuine small-c fiscal conservative would verify that the “Cap, Tax & Transfer” tax system is nothing less that the extreme left’s new, socialistic approach to redistribute wealth from wealth producers to others. An ingenuous small-c fiscal conservative, contrasting our CINO PM, would divulge that the “Cap, Tax & Transfer” system is just another version of Trudeau’s National Energy Program which also was created to transfer wealth from the west.

If Canada had a authentic, candid fiscal, social and judicial small-c conservative as PM, he would informed us that the climate has not changed in the last eleven years, that "Cap, Tax & transfer is a socialistic hoax; therefore, he would not annihilate the Canadian economy just to please the left-wing extremists who insist on transferring wealth. Rather a genuine small c- conservative would insist on starting at step one which would mean examining the contradictions in the climate data. Before we destroy our economy with employment killing taxes, and transfers of wealth to the dictators of Africa, we must reach an accurate understanding of the current climate situation.


Unknown said...

I've also been a fan of the Australian system for quite a while now.