Monday, December 27, 2010

The Problem With the Senate is Not That They are Unelected But That They Have Been Enfeebled

Stephen Harper appointed two more crony senators this week, giving him an absolute majority in the Upper Chamber. The place that is to be the sober second thought. The group paid to protect Canadians from arbitrary decisions made in the House of Commons.

All of the talk in the media is about yet another "flip flop". Harper's Reform Party had promoted an elected senate and denounced it's stacking by the government of the day.

But most are missing the point.

This Senate is no longer a sober anything. They are drunk with power and are simply there to function as a big rubber stamp for neoconservatism.

We saw it with the Climate Change bill, hashed out in the House by our elected representatives. On order from Herr Harper they rubber stamped it 'denied'. No debate in the Red Chamber, just a chuckle and a smirk and wham bam thank you ma'am. It was gone.

And all of the posturing by Harper on limiting terms to eight years, and how these holders of the rubber stamps have agreed to it, is nonsense. Because for eight years it means that despite the government of the day, neoconservatism will prevail, because these guys now have all the power.

All of it. And they are beholden to one person and one person only. Stephen Harper.

I don't think electing senators is the answer. We can't get people voting now. What we need to do though, is remove this function from the prime minister. Any prime minister.

The Senate needs to be appointed by an independent body, and failing that, abolished completely.

Because my friends, it is NOT democracy, when a group of people not held to account by the citizens of the country, have ALL the power over those citizens. And is is NOT democracy when one person controls it all.

It renders the House of Commons obsolete, meaning that our votes are mere scraps of paper.


  1. Couldn't agree more Emily. It's a complete sham. It no longer fulfills its role as a body of wise oversight. And I would add that, again, Conservative senators Runciman and Plett, used their positions and taxpayers money to send Conservative campaign materials into Liberal ridings. And that it simply more of the unacceptable and unethical campaigning practices we have seen from this government like the in and out scheme.

  2. Trouble with an independent body, is who is going to appoint the independent body, not to mention who will rubber-stamp the law taking senator-appointing out of the hands of the prime minister?

  3. You're right Kay. But the system is broken. The NDP are not represented at all in the Senate.

    Maybe they should have no party affiliation.

    Or maybe they should just be abolished. I don't know.