Saturday, December 31, 2005

Rather Have a Bastion of Patronage, than Senate Reform

Senate reform could become a reality with a Conservative victory. Not sure how far they plan to go with a minority government besides holding elections for vacant spots. I am totally opposed to senate reform, if I had my way it would be abolished. Since that is not a likely solution I would rather have it impotent and irrelevant as it is now then elected and legitimate. The “sober second thought” was created so that that there would be a check on the ‘people’. The elite did not know what the people (minus women, aboriginals and most ethnic minorities) would do when they had the power to elect their own representatives.

So what happens if we elected a senate? Simply put trouble ahead. If the senate is elected it becomes legitimate and that is not a good thing. Two houses of parliament would become a battle ground, a fight between two bodies of legislatures in which the legislative process is the target. As we see with our neighbors to the south and in Europe competitive legislative bodies lead most often to watering down of the government’s agenda. Is this what we want?

I have little faith that any time soon that provision will be removed or any distribution of seats will change. Opening up the constitution is not something any party wants to do. So what happens when we elected senators as Harper wants to do right away, remember they will serve to 75What you have then is a legitimately elected senator who knows feels he has the backing of the population; problem is he will not be accountable anymore. Now, I know what your thinking. How can you say that an elected senator then becomes unaccountable when a appointed one never is even chosen by the people? The simple answer is that senators roles are different in this system then in an elected one. Senators know there role, which now is unless a piece of legislation is so bad then they must rubber stamp it. When they become elected, they will do more then that. They will start opposing legislation passed by the House of Commons.

The senate is a plum job, and you get there by knowing people in the top jobs. I know its bad old patronage but I rather waste my money filling the seats of that hole then elect them. Yes I sometimes have to re-read what I wrote when I right a sentence like that. Its not a good thing but its better then the proposed solution.


  • At 11:43 AM, Blogger Mark said…

    Couldn't agree more. I was just discussing this the other day. We're going to have people spending ridiculous amounts of their own money to convince people they'll be great for the job and promising whatever they have to do get elected and then doing whatever the heck they want when they get in... but with legitimacy.

  • At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Loraine King said…

    As I understand it, the PM (Harper) would continue to name senators but would only name persons who will have been elected. These new senators would be there for life, i.e., 75 years old. I like the Senate as is. I actually read the Senate Question Period on-line and find it a lot more informative than the House of Commons'. Ditto for their committee hearings and exhaustive reports. Senators don't get good press because they are not licking the boots of the media in order to get exposure to help their re-election. I remember hearing Sheila Fraser commenting on the higher level of competence and knowledge found in the Upper House. I don't feel it undemocratic that we have appointed persons - I don't think the US is an undemocratic country for having a nominated Executive branch, i.e., Rumsfeld, Rice... I think Harper is playing up to misguided sentiments and will damage Parliament greatly. I would prefer a PM who would accept his responsibilities vis-a-vis Parliament and name the best, most competent persons to the Senate. Maybe a new review mechanism of the nominees would be useful but ultimately the PM is responsible for who gets it the Upper House.

  • At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sorry to nitpick, "Rather have a Bastion of Patronage *THAN* Senate Reform"

    Heh, I agree with your original headline though. Senate Reform seems like a logical step after patronage.

  • At 4:01 PM, Blogger Red Tory said…

    I agree with loraine. I used to yet the Hansard from the Senate and always found the discussion coming out of the Red Chamber a lot more informative than the braying and posturing that goes on in “the other place.” Harper’s proposals for Senate reform are disjointed and make little sense. Martin is correct when he says that an overall re-think of the system is needed before so-called “reforms” are haphazardly made.

  • At 7:31 AM, Blogger Laurent said…

    Check out
    Politically incorrect... with style!

  • At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm certain that Harper and his pals have an acute awareness of the benefits to their party in the case of imitating our southern neighbors political structure. Personally I think politics is far too plump full of elitist self-affirmation and self-graitification as it is. Scrap and replace the whole concept of the Senate with something closer resembling a reform of the existing system as a whole, and I'll consider having a listen.

  • At 3:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    the dumbest shit i've ever heard. You just want your librano patronage factory to stay in order.

  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger AwaWiYe said…

    Our senate may have its origins in a house which was supposed to be a check on the people, but it doesn't have to be that way. We could place the appointment of senate squarely in the hands of the provincial legislatures and institute a real check-and-balance against Parliament (ie. the PMO).

  • At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My name is Alan Robberstad I am a Canadian. One voter out of millions of Canadian voters.
    Paul Martin is no friend of mine. Liberal governments have not made my life any better. Liberal governments have made the future worse for my children.

    Jean Chretien became Prime Minister many years ago. Guess who was the Liberal Finance Minister.....Paul Martin... LEST WE FORGET

    Since 1993:
    (1) My taxes have increased.
    (2) My family's share of the national debt has increased.
    (3) My personal expenses have increased.
    (4) My waiting time to see a doctor has increased.
    (5) My concerns for my family's safety have increased.
    (6) My costs to educate my children have increased.
    (7) Government interference in my life has increased.
    (8) My personal debt has increased.
    (9) My income has stayed more or less the same.
    (10) My savings have decreased.
    (11) The buying power of my dollar, in Canada, has decreased.
    (12) The value of my dollar, in the U.S., has decreased.
    (13) My trust of elected officials has decreased.
    (14) My trust in the justice system has decreased.
    (15 )My trust in the immigration system has decreased.
    (16) My hope that a Liberal won't waste my tax dollars has decreased.
    (17 ) My dreams for a better future for my kids, in Canada, have disappeared.

    That is my story since the Liberals came to power.

    I am not voting for Paul Martin's Liberals. I am voting against Paul Martin and his Liberal Party in January. I am voting for Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party.

    Do I like the Conservatives? Not particularly......I don't really like Politics. I am not political by nature. I am not passionate
    about politics. I am a middle age guy (48). I live in a small house on a fairly quiet street in Edmonton. I have a wife, Kathy, and two children (ages 19 and 17). I have no pets. I am a middle class man. I don't usually say too much.
    Until now.

    Now I am going to say something!

    In 35 of the past 37 years, Canada has been ruled by:
    (1) Pierre Trudeau - a multi-millionaire lawyer from Quebec.
    (2) Brian Mulroney - a multi-millionaire lawyer from Quebec.
    (3) Jean Chretien - a multi-millionaire lawyer from Quebec.
    (4) And now we are going to vote for Paul Martin???? - a multi-millionaire lawyer from Quebec???
    The leader of the Conservative party, Stephen Harper, is:
    (1) Not a lawyer.
    (2) Not a multi-millionaire.
    (3) Not from Quebec.
    Stephen Harper says that the Conservative party will:
    (1) Reduce my taxes.
    (2) Pay off the national debt as fast as they can.
    (3) Shrink the size and influence of the federal government.

    Do I believe Stephen Harper? I don't believe any politician. However, let's give Harper the benefit of the doubt and allow him to prove or disprove his platform. I am going to give the Conservative party a chance with my vote. But wait! Paul Martin is now saying the same thing. My mother told me forty years ago: "Fool me once - shame on you. Fool me twice -
    shame on me!"

    The Liberals have had 34 years to be financially responsible. Remember, Jean Chretien was Trudeau's Finance Minister. Remember also, Paul Martin was Jean Chretien's Finance Minister These people have been raising my taxes for thirty-four years. They have been mis-spending my tax dollars for 34 years. 34 years!

    And now Paul Martin says he will stop taxing and spending. No way.

    Thank you for reading my story so far!

    Why am I telling my story to you?

    Although I feel alone, I know that I am not alone. Your story may be similar to mine. And you may also feel alone. One small voter in the midst of millions of voters.

    What can you and I do together to change things?

    Here is my idea: Lets you and I join up together. Just you and I. Together. As a small team of two. How can you and I fight a huge political machine?

    You and I have two things that we can use:
    (1) Our individual personal connections.
    (2) The Internet.

    The Internet is supposed to be this globalizing tool, right? Let's put it to use. I have 27 Canadians in my personal e-mail address book. I am sending this e-mail to each of them including those who reside in Ontario.

    Now you can send it to your list


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