Friday, December 15, 2006

An Elected Senate

An elected Senate. As Harper has been saying for the past day, "Finally, after 150 years, we will have true democracy" and the like. Obviously, as a Canadian, I believe in democracy, it is an amazing system. And having an elected Senate, compared to the status quo, is more democratic. But I'd like to ask these questions: What will be the real change for Canada's democratic system? Will this change be the best possible for the time that it will take, and will it even be the right thing to do? To start off, I will explain the Senate. The Senate is often called the chamber of "Sober Second Thought" and others may call it the chamber of "Sober, Un-accountable Thought". And if it is elected, what will it be? It will just take in all of the politics like in the House of Commons. The Senate will become just another thing that makes people hate politics. There will be more campaign and election costs, and candidates will have less workers as some will also be working for Senate candidates. But to my main point: The Senate will become just another House of Commons. The Senate will no longer have a purpose, such as the chamber of sober second thought. With no real purpose, and more hassles for government and Canadians, Harper's plan is pointless.

So what should we actually do? I can guess what you think my stance is, as it is also the NDP stance, but it makes sense: Abolish the Senate altogether. If we stay with the status quo, we have an unelected chamber that is technically higher and more powerful than the elected body of representatives. And if we follow Harper's plan, we have a meaningless, resource-using legislative body, it would be just like having two phones in a very small room that are connected to the same line, but you have to pay the full phone service price for each of them. But back to abolishing the Senate. The Senate's framework or intended purpose is no longer applicable to society. It has always been that Senators needed to own $4,000 of property in order to become a Senator. This was created long ago to ensure that only the middle-high and high class of people could become Senators. While this restriction no longer prohibits most Canadians to become a Senator, the principle is still there. There was an incident in the '90s where a nun was appointed to the Senate, but long ago she took a vow of poverty, thus she did not have $4,000. To resolve this, someone transfered $4000 of land to her, but this law was never repealed.

Finally to my last point. The Senate, even when it is elected, can delay and hold up government business. Say if 'A' party won the majority of the seats in the House of Commons, thus becoming government, but even though 'A' (a right-wing party) party won the House, 'B' (centre-left) party has a majority in the Senate. Then how could laws by the Prime Minister and the government ever come to be? For the duration of that Parliament, very few things that could benefit (or harm) Canadians would become law. And seeing that the House jurisdictions are smaller than Senate jurisdictions, the House more accurately reflects the people.

In our country, we need to be progressive. But, we have to make sure that our changes are for the better, and that they keep business flowing smoothly. And these are things that Harper needs a lesson in.

1 comment:

leftdog said...

Great site! Glad to see you in the lefty blogosphere!

Enjoyed reading your thoughts on the Senate.