SHOULD SENATORS BE ELECTED?

The province of Saskatchewan has just announced that henceforth it will elect senators. That would mean the prime minister would appoint those members to the senate who have been elected in Saskatchewan. This is the system – an elected senate – that Mr. Harper himself has been promoting for years.

The way the system works now is that the Prime Minister directly appoints all members of the senate. Or he doesn’t appoint them. There are now 14 vacancies in the senate and Mr. Harper seems in no hurry to fill any of them.   Many senate appointments in the past have been made to reward services to the party in power.   There is not another jurisdiction in the western world that I know of where the prime minister gets to appoint the members of the second sober house.  Surely we can come up with a better, more democratic system than that.

Do your favour the continued appointment of senators by the prime minister?

Or would you favour the election of senators?

Or, like the province of Ontario would you like to see the senate abolished altogether?

8 Comments »

  1. 1
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    I would abolish the Senate. However, whichever way you look at it requires a constitutional amendment. That, in Canada, is tantamount to squaring the circle.

  2. 2
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    Do anybody seriously believe that Stephen Harper seriously believes anything that he says? Just for you: I have this great oceanfront lot in Fort McMurray. A real steal, I gotta tell ya. You can trust me – Harper sold it to me in the first place. You do believe me, don’t you? Why not? You believe Stephen Harper. CTZen.

  3. 3
    Chimera Says:

    We need a Senate. That “sober second thought” idea is exactly what’s needed to keep us from becoming a complete autocracy, as is the very real potential in this country.

    Having the prime minister appoint senators is like having the president appoint justices to the Supreme Court — he gets to weight the thing any way he likes. And the prime minister already has too much power.

    Time to elect all senators.

  4. 4

    Chimera-

    There is a difference, though. The Prime Minister could appoint the village bum to the Senate and no one could gainsay him.

    On the other hand, when the President names a person to the Supreme Court, that person must be confirmed by a vote of the Senate. Sometimes the Senate refuses and the president’s appointment is dead.

  5. 5

    Ok, abolish it but replace it with what? You can’t just remove something for its own sake.

    Make Canada more responsive. Make its democracy more transparent.

    Maybe electing them is a step towards that?

  6. 6
    jim Says:

    Abolish the senate. Was Dief the Chief sending us a message when he appointed a train conductor to the senate?

  7. 7
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    Brian Mulroney loaded the Senate with Conservative hacks, in order to make the GST law. Then, he abandoned ship, and left Kim Campbell to go down with all hands on deck. Jean Chretien inherited a Senate loaded with Tory hacks, and it took him some years to address the “imbalance”.
    The purpose of the Senate is to take legislation drafted by bureaucrats on drugs, voted on by drunken monkeys, and apply “sober, second thought,” theoretically free of political consideration. Should we abolish the Senate, the only remaining recourse involves a program of tarring and feathering politicians, until they get the message: Parliament belongs to the people, NOT the other way around.
    To paraphrase Mark Twain: The only diference between death and taxes is…death doesn’t get any worse when Parliament is in session.
    You can bet they’re working on that, too. CTZen.

  8. 8
    Chimera Says:

    “There is a difference, though. The Prime Minister could appoint the village bum to the Senate and no one could gainsay him.”

    True — and that actually makes my point even more pertinent, doesn’t it?


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