Friday, January 6, 2012

Elected Senate Fading Away

The dream of an elected Senate is one that is unlikely to be realized in this Conservative majority. The best we can hope for is term limits because for an elected Senate we need to re-write our constitution and for that we need the provinces. Some provinces want to retain the status quo while others want to abolish the chamber altogether. The re-election of Dalton McGuinty (who favours abolishing the Senate) decreases the likelihood that constitutional reform will pass without a national referendum. Otherwise we need individual provinces to hold their own Senate elections so that the feds can appoint them. Thus far Alberta is the only province to do so.

I'm not happy seeing Stephen Harper appoint new Senators when the Tories already had a Senate majority. I could see the argument in appointing enough Senators to pass term limits, but doing so with the majority doesn't feel right. Yet, there has to be an intersection of ideology and reality where we compromise on what we originally sought to accomplish. If any provinces want to hold elections for Senators (concurrent with municipal or provincial elections), then Stephen Harper will appoint them. If you want to take the road of abolition or nothing at all, then he can appoint whoever he pleases. Abolishing the Senate is far more complicated than abolishing the gun registry.


  1. Harper is going to need to fork over the money for senate elections if he wants them, it's not the provinces responsibility.

  2. harper can and should continue to appoint senators. the more conservative the better. fill the senate with conservatives then it will be decades before the left can undo what has been put in place. the libs did it for decades why not conservatives.

  3. Jordan,
    the cost is very small. Paper ballots (and a ballot box) handed out when voters go to the booth to mark their X in a provincial/municiple election.

    shortly there will be 5 provinces on board, half the country agreeing to elected Senators.

    'By the time the next federal election rolls around in October, 2015, 62 Senators will be Harper appointees.' David Akin

    62 out of 105, sounds good to me!
    - the Senate is the only thing we in the Western provinces have between us and any future Coalition of Losers govt.
    - the Harper appointees (some quite young) promised PMSH they would step down after 8? years,
    that committment will evaporate should the Coalition of Losers take over, hence the Senate Cons majority remains for many years.

    So if a Bob Rae led Coalition of Losers want to punish the West for not voting Liberal,
    as they do every time they are in power, the Conservative majority Senate can at least stall them 'till Canadians can throw the losers out.

  4. Jordan..Look to Alberta..we have been doing it in conjunction with other election..minimal cost. But that would shoot down your opposition, wouldn't it!

  5. i put this up on bc blue s page . before the sky lands on your head , maybe read this ---

  6. Oink oink. It is better to be a defeated Tory than an elected one. An election is only good for a few years. The senate is a gift that keeps giving to age 75.

  7. The reason the constitutional argument is used was to frame senate reform as a third rail issue.
    A law can be passed that allows elections to take place, it leaves it to each province then to allow it's voters the chance to do so.
    If a province (read legislature) decided not to give it's citizens a voice, then that gives the PM the sole discretion to give the appointment to whomever they wish.
    The opposition can whine all they like, but when given the chance to pass senate reform bills in the past, they put up as many procedural road blocks as possible. They have no right to complain about patronage now.
    The real fear is that the premier of Ontario, and Quebec don't want to have to offer their voters a chance to vote for senate seats.

  8. "All new senators have pledged to support legislation to limit term lengths and encourage the provinces and territories to hold elections for Senate nominees"

    Although Liberals have accused Harper of partisan appointments, if Harper is to make some radical change of the Senate, he has to find people who are prepared to approve of his Senate changes, and the last place he would find them is in the Liberal ranks. Given the track record and history of Liberal appointees to the Senate, who saw the Senate as a secure financial haven for themselves, and who to this day have never launched any initiatives for radical change in the senate. Can anyone forget or forgive Sharon Carstairs for her total lack of integrity,sincerity and ethics, who as leader of the Manitoba Liberal party, campaigned on a promise to eliminate the Senate, but showed 4.6 speed to Ottawa when Chretien appointed her to the senate. Maybe we should cut Harper some slack in regard to changes in the Senate, now that he has a majority in both the House and the Senate, rather than have him rush into changes, and be accused by some politicians and members of the media of being dictatorial. It must also be remembered, particularly by some political pundits, who profess to have some expertise in political matters, that control of both the House and Senate does not give Harper a free hand in any changes to the Senate as the provinces have a vested interest and say in any proposed changes and constitutional gridlock must be avoided.