Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

The Scott Ross: Senate Saves Canada… Again

How do you save democracy from itself? You appoint a Senate.

In 1990 the democratically elected House of Commons passed Bill C-43 which would have criminalized all abortions. That bill was defeated by the appointed Senate. To this day abortions remain legal solely because of the Senate’s actions. In 2013 the democratically elected House of Commons passed Bill C-377 which would have weakened labour unions. That bill was stopped by the appointed Senate.  Today the democratically elected House of Commons is preparing to pass Bill C-23 The Fair Elections Act which seeks to undermine democracy. The appointed Senate is (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: How Harper Made The Senate More Accountable, Even If Just A Little

If Justin Beiber was in the Canadian Senate it would be the most watched institution in all of government, and, undoubtedly, the most accountable.

For if the Biebs walked down the Ottawan red carpet into that similarly coloured chamber, his every action would be televised, sensationalized, and scrutinized. There wouldn’t be a Bieber vote that wouldn’t make a headline.

And not only would every single one of his receipts be analyzed by the Toronto Star and every other news agency, there would be over a hundred pictures documenting the young star in racking them up.

Though he would still be (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: Mike Duffy & Why An Elected Senate Would Have Made This Worse

Nobody really thinks Senator Mike Duffy received $90,000 in return for some political favour, but that public perception would most certainly change if he and every other Senator faced regular expensive election campaigns that depended on large contributions and even larger political favours.

An elected Senate requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars every four years for its members to run for office in much larger ridings would without a doubt only increase the likelihood of Senators exchanging votes for large financial contributions, both over and under the table.

In contrast, appointed Senators aren’t as vulnerable to bribes or shady deals.

(Read more…)

The Scott Ross: The Undemocratic Elected Senate & The Democratic Appointed One

90% of Americans support universal background checks for guns yet on Wednesday the American Senate struck down that legislation. That’s not very democratic, is it?

Those in Canada who fervently cling to the idea that voting will make our Senate democratic almost completely ignore the problems that come with it, such as the lobbyists and interest groups, like the National Rifle Association, that frequently override public opinion.

Contrasted with the American example, it is the Canadian appointed Senate that actually represents its citizens, because in not being elected the Senate recognizes the public does not empower it to drastically change (Read more…) defeat bills from the House of Commons.

And when the Senate does, in the rare times, reject bills from the elected house, it is to protect the interests of minorities and Canada’s regions, as it did in 1991 where it defeated a bill to re-criminalize abortion.

Considering the . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: The Undemocratic Elected Senate & The Democratic Appointed One

The Scott Ross: Why Canada Needs An Elected Senate Just Like America’s

“Washington is broken.” – Barack Obama

Looking at the Canadian Senate in isolation might motivate many to question it, but compared to the American Senate, Canadians should be proud of their upper chamber.

Besides the fact that googling “Ottawa is broken” brings zero related results, the American Senate is so dysfunctional quite a few of its members, like former Senators Olivia Snowe and Evan Bayh, have actually quit, citing that the American institution is just too broken.

From the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s to bringing the world’s largest economy to the brink of collapse in the fiscal crisis

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Why Canada Needs An Elected Senate Just Like America’s

The Scott Ross: A More Democratic Senate Is Less So

Canadians certainly are no Nero, but they do have at least one thing in common with the late Roman emperor.

In 64 AD it is said that while Rome burned its emperor Nero fiddled. That while his city suffered calamity he amused himself with music. Today Canadians are doing something similar.

Rome may not be burning, but with decreasing turnout, less party members, and more partisanship, Canada’s democracy is clearly in danger and instead of stopping to help, Canadians are too busy fiddling, with the Senate.

It can’t be anything but odd, that while Canada’s democracy is weakening on every

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: A More Democratic Senate Is Less So

The Scott Ross: Wynne-ing Like It’s 2006…And Losing Like It’s 2008

Today Ontario Liberals chose their next leader, but if 2006 is any indication, they might have just chosen their next loser.

Similarities between Kathleen Wynne’s recent victory in the Ontario leadership race and Stephane Dion’s in the federal Liberal leadership contest in 2006 suggest a just as similar electoral future.

Old, Tired Parties: It was just over seven years ago that the federal Liberals, after a long tenure in government and facing lagging poll numbers, held a leadership race with a crowded field of candidates. Starting in October of last year the Ontario Liberals did the exact same thing.


. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Wynne-ing Like It’s 2006…And Losing Like It’s 2008

The Scott Ross: Sex and the Senate

Winston Churchill is credited with an exchange that when adapted illustrates, not only the similarities between prostitution and politics, but current inconsistencies in the popular view of our Canadian government.

Churchill: “Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?” Socialite: “My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course… “ Churchill: “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?” Socialite: “Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!” Churchill: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price

The Canadian adaptation, not as

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Sex and the Senate

The Scott Ross: America’s Broken Senate

There might not be a more persuasive argument against an elected senate than the American example. From filibustering to partisan deadlock to disproportionate representation, this broken institution south of our border is largely responsible for the lo… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: America’s Broken Senate

The Scott Ross: Old Incumbent Liberal MPs Are A Problem

Only 4% of NDP MPs and 7% of Conservative MPs have been in Parliament since 1999 compared to 40% of Liberal MPs. If the Liberal Party needs to change, it needs to start with its MPs.

The Liberal Party’s main problem is it’s old. It’s few MPs are the oldest and the longest serving, indicating a party that is stagnant and anything but new. If the Liberals do need new ideas, they need new MPs to champion them. The party needs old MPs to step down for new ones to step up.

Liberal MPs may represent Liberal policies, but in

. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Old Incumbent Liberal MPs Are A Problem

The Scott Ross: North Korea is no Iran

Iran has an elected President. Iran allows for protests against the government. Iran does not have nuclear weapons and is years away from having the capability to build them.Iran has not declared war with any country.

North Korea has a dictator who doesn’t hold elections. North Korea does not allow protests of any kind. North Korea has multiple nuclear weapons. North Korea is still at war with South Korea.

But Iran is the threat and should be preemptively attacked.