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Friday, April 24, 2015

An Idea about Senate Reform

Would it take a constitutional conference to change the way that Canadian senators are appointed? It doesn't seem like it should, but I'm no legal expert.

If I understand our system correctly, the Commons is supposed to represent the population in general while the Senate represents the regions, namely the provinces. If so, it would seem to make sense for the provinces to appoint their representatives, as long as they have to be appointed, instead of the leader of the Commons. This would take it out of the hands of one person and perhaps make it less of a patronage retirement home and fundraising service. It might also lend the institution  a better sense of legitimacy, because it would actually serve the purpose it was intended for: sober second thought from a regional perspective to balance potential oppression by the majority. No longer could a PM stack the Senate to get bad legislation through. It might actually encourage Ottawa to consult and work with the provinces.

Of course our current dictator doesn't let anyone, "fuck with my country", as he once said to the Premiere of Newfoundland. I guess it's his Senate and his Supreme Court too (considering the PM appoints them all). BTW I love our Supreme Court, they actually do their job and fulfill their constitutional role without regard for politics. They have class, despite being picked by Harper in hopes of stacking the court they way it's done in the States.

Maybe taking it out of one man's hands is the best senate reform we can do.

As for who should introduce bills in a more non-partisan chamber, if there isn't already a chamber speaker or other chamber leader, the Senate could choose one. That person would introduces all legislation for free consideration and free votes.

Just a thought.