Friday, July 24, 2015

Abolishing the Senate to reform it

In a surprise but no-surprise pre-election move, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall have had a leak that they will jointly announce on Saturday that they will move to abolish the Senate.

With the Conservatives surging ahead in a recent poll to 38% (majority territory), likely boosted by their child care benefit vote buying scheme (I call it like I see it), Canada being voted #1 in international reputation, and despite the thrust of social media vitriol coming from background union, NDP, and Liberal supporters, Harper announcing he would abolish the senate would negate any of bad press that the once popular but now shamed senators, Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, and Pamela Wallin have stained Harper's machine.

It's a brilliant tactical move and the timing couldn't be better.

And you can't say Harper didn't try to reform the upper chamber.  He did, in a legal backdoor way to promise to appoint the senators elected by the provinces.  But only one province, Alberta, did so.  In essence, that tactic, while noble, didn't work.  None of the other provinces went for it.

There was even a point where I thought Harper was holding back the appointments to naturally equalize the provinces.

Then there's Justin Trudeau, who in one of his first moves as heir leader, symbolically kicked out all of the Liberal senators from the Liberal caucus.  So, it appears the Liberals supposedly don't care about the senate anymore.  Trudeau, anyway.

While I still believe we need an upper house on a federal-scale, it must be elected and equal.  For about 25 years (yeesh!) I have advocated this with each province getting 6 senators for 6 year terms, 3 elected every provincial municipal cycle.  But I think 8 year terms with 3 elected every 4 years makes more logistical sense.  Or look at Australia's senate.  It's quite equal. While I'm not fond of proportional representation as seats are filled by unelected party hacks to make up the difference, a preferential ballot should be looked at and wouldn't be such a bad thing.  Many parties use this method already to elect their leaders.

All other means by which to reform the senate have not worked.  The Charlottetown and Meech Lake Accords didn't work and helped spawn another wave of Quebec separatism.  Harper's plan didn't work either.

Oddly enough, one of the reasons Canada came into being in 1867 in Charlottetown, was that although the senate was to be elected and equal among the four provinces, the deal went down because it wasn't.

In essence, it's time to start over.  Abolish the senate so we can reform it.

It's the only way.  Harper and Wall are on the right track.


Josh said...

I totally agree with your point, the reform is waiting to be done but that is a matter of readiness of our political system to accept the changes. For those that need to write a political science essay - just follow the link: buy essays

Unknown said...

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