The Senate has been much in the news lately, with the expense troubles of a few Senators – compounded by the mishandling of their investigation – bringing much negative attention to the other place. While this is really a scandal about Stephen Harper’s decision-making and the style of governance he fosters, a serious and real national debate about the Senate’s place in our democracy is long overdue.
It’s easy to look at the shenanigans and say just abolish the thing. The NDP wasted little time in making that case. I think the misdoings of a few Senators is a poor (Read more…)
Premier Kathleen Wynne is taking the opposite position of what Dalton Mcguinty advocated: instead of abolition, she is for reform of the Senate:
Kathleen Wynne, says she sees real value in having a chamber of sober, second thought and would like to see it reformed. Wynne says the discussions of just how to reform the Senate is something she would like to have with the other provincial premiers.
It is a big blow to those who wish to kill the Senate – regardless of whether it takes 7 provinces with 50 % of the population, or unanimous consent (that issue (Read more…)
Your latest poll from Forum Research on what should be done with the Senate:
“More than one third want to abolish the Senate. An additional 37% called for the Senate to become an elected body. Less than 10% felt it best to leave the Senate as is. The latest results are consistent with an earlier Forum poll on the Senate, which was conducted before the scandal gained traction. Those February results also show the majority split between abolition and reform.”
I’m in the electoral reform camp, as you may know from reading here. Consequently, I disagree with Justin Trudeau (Read more…)
By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 18, 2013: In, 2004, Stephen Harper described Canada’s Senate as a “dumping ground for the favoured cronies of the Prime Minister.” He also said: “I will not name appointed people to the Senate. Anyone who sits in the Parliament of Canada must be elected by the people they represent.” Today, none of READ MORE
Advocates of Senate reform (particularly direct election of Canadian Senators) have taken to citing Australia’s Senate as evidence that elected and democratically legitimate Senates are compatible with well run societies (here, here and here). They should desist, unless they are prepared to advocate for an actual Australian model Senate, which is quite different from the one they are proposing for Canada.
Australia’s Senate is Elected by Proportional RepresentationThis is almost certainly the most important difference. Canadian Senate reformers are advocating Senators be elected by Province in the same manner we elect House members – first
. . . → Read More: Autonomy For All: Canadian Senate Reformers Should Not Cite The Australian Senate
I decide when …
The third debate is over. No-one blew their brains out. No-one surprised the audience. The race will be decided by March 4, when each of the candidates will be able to compare the number of supporters they signed up in each of the 308 ridings, calculate that number as a percentage of the total members and supporters signed up in each such riding, multiply that percentage by 100 to get their probable share of the riding’s vote, and add these all together. So by the afternoon of March 4 rumours will be sweeping the country about vote counts come the official election day in April. But between now and March 4 are a few more debates, lots of signup steps, media interviews, journalist comments, and bloggers waxing eloquent. (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The Liberal leadership race is between Trudeau and Murray, with a 2014 early election
Calls for reform represent a stealth effort to foist a radical new form of government on an unsuspecting Canadian public.
Aside from the cost (about $90 million per year) and the recent scandals about residency and private life criminal behaviour, the real threat the Senate poses is that it has (mostly) equal formal constitutional powers to the House of Commons. The only thing that keeps them from acting like a co-equal chamber of our national legislature is that they know they lack public support and legitimacy to do so. What if that changed?
That is what Harper’s attempts to
. . . → Read More: Autonomy For All: The Sensible Path: Abolish the Senate
For years, one of the few things that I have agreed with Harper has been on the issue of Senate reform. I don’t necessarily agree on all the details, and I think the NDP’s idea of abolishing the senate over reforming it holds some merit, but to the general spirit that there is something seriously wrong with the Canadian Senate I could not agree more. It is ineffective and costly, stuffed full of partisan patronage appointments with little hope for any third parties; all points, incidentally, that Harper has made in the past.
Yet it has been with something of
. . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: Will Brazeau provide the needed momentum for Senate reform?
Ideas to reform the Senate seem to be the Canadian version of the Holy Grail. This week, you’ve seen not calls for reform, but calls to abolish it with the behaviors coming to light of a couple of Harper-appointed Conservative Senators in the form of Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau.
I’m against abolition – I think the Senate can perform its constitutionally designated role – helping to represent the provinces as it was intended to do if it was given some legitimacy, and the patronage appointment power of the Prime Minister (or technically the Governor-General) removed. Of course, that means
If Brazeau stays on as an independent Senator, he’ll cost Canadian taxpayers at lease $7-million by the time he retires approximately 37 years from today. By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 8, 2013: Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau’s charges of assault and sexual assault offer Prime Minister Stephen Harper the opportunity to do the right thing concerning his much-touted READ MORE
Yes, I’m going to give Harper credit on something this morning, and that is the apparent decision to refer the Government’s proposed Senate reform bill to the Supreme Court of Canada, and ask the High Court for their decision on whether its constitutionally valid or not:
Since 2006, the Conservative government has called for all new senators to be selected through provincial elections and to serve under a fixed term, with the latest version of the legislation proposing a nine-year mandate…experts said they feel it is appropriate to check on the constitutionality of the Senate reforms before they are put
Meet Patrick Brazeau (pictured), the sexist Canadian senator who called Ottawa-based reporter, Jennifer Ditchburn, a bitch yesterday. Her crime: she’d done her job by highlighting his poor attendance record in Canada’s appointed upper house of Parliament. He immediately issued a “reluctant” apology.
Why did Brazeau call the reporter a bitch? She was just doing her job. Is it because he’s an ex-soldier? He served in the Canadian Armed Forces. Is it because he’s a 2nd degree black belt in Karate. Is it..?
Let’s get to know a little more about Brazeau, the Conservative senator Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed in
. . . → Read More: CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Worst Canadian in The World: Senator Patrick Brazeau
If you’re in Toronto on Saturday (May 26th) this is where you should be, as the Edward Blake Society presents a pub night and discussion on Canadian democracy and reform with former Liberal leader (and still number one in my heart) Stephane Dion. It begins at 6pm at Pauper’s Pub, 539 Bloor Street West (at Bathurst) in Toronto. He’ll speak about the Senate, seat redistribution and electoral reform, with plenty of time for questions. Hope you can make it out, as it should be a great event.
. . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Great event with Stephane Dion in Toronto on Saturday
The Senate chamber – may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Somewhat progressive ‘Senatorial’ candidates Ian Urquhart and Len Bracko, in his Senatorial toga; Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Since the Alberta government is committed to hosing away an extra $3 million of our tax dollars on Monday on the ridiculous exercise of a “Senate nomination election,” progressive voters deserve the opportunity to express their protest more effectively than by spoiling than their ballots or formally declining them.
It’s a pity the more progressive parties didn’t take advantage of this spectacular opportunity for free advertising despite the preference of most
. . . → Read More: David Climenhaga’s Alberta Diary: Ian Urquhart and Len Bracko: a Senate voting strategy for progressive Alberta citizens
A tough-on-crime Conservative senator said murderers should be provided with the tools to kill themselves in jail.
Abolition by attrition, as it were.
“The Upper House remains a dumping ground for the favoured cronies of the prime minister,” a righteous Stephen Harper proclaimed back in 2004. As is always the case with this prime minister, it is instructive to compare his past statements with his present practice.
His recent Senate appointments provide yet another lesson in just how principled a leader Stephen Harper is. Stephen Mahar reviews the newest members of the chamber of sober second thought. Harper appointed Norm Doyle who:
wisely opted not to run in the 2008 election after voting with Harper and against his province on the
. . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: So Much For Senate Reform
Surely to mercy, if Prime Minister Stephen Harper was halfway serious about senate reform he could find someone else from Newfoundland and Labrador besides Norm Doyle to take up a senate seat.
Maybe Harper could have found someone other than a guy who has been recycled more times than a university freshman’s one good shirt.
And even if senate reform wasn’t the reason for making the appointment, there has got to be someone in the province who has distinguished himself or herself in the arts world, academia, social policy activism or business who could take up the appointment.
. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: So much for senate reform #nlpoli #cdnpoli
I’m watching a very interesting Senate committee with two admirals from the Canadian Forces, talking about the capacity and organization, as well as the future mandate of, the Reserve Forces, especially given the winding-down of the Afghanistan mission… . . . → Read More: Blunt Objects: Senate Committees: How The Other Place Can Redeem Itself
I’ve long argued that the Conservative strategy on Senate reform is deeply flawed, and bad for both Western Canada and effective governance.With debate underway on the latest Conservative Senate reform bill, one that seems destined to pass given their … . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Stéphane Dion on senate reform
With our parliamentarians having returned to Ottawa this week, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to just how our parliament is composed. Representation in the House of Commons is sure to be a contentious issue once again, and I’m having a ha… . . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Will anyone stand-up for equality of parliamentary representation?
“I think it’s pretty simple, he might not even want this form of Senate reform, but it appeals to his base in the West,” said Prof. [Ned] Franks. “You’ve got to remember the ‘Triple E Senate,’ which is a Canadian brand of tooth paste as f… . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: Senate Reform In A Nutshell
He’s going to stiff Westerners over their precious Triple-E? Not likely. He’s going to open The Constitution, followed a minute later by every group with complaint (legit or not) demanding that their complaint be dealt with now its open? If Senate Refo… . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: The Emptiest Of Empty Threats
The government tabled their revamped Senate reform bill yesterday, complete with a new nine-year term clause and the ability to reappoint a Senator if their term should be interrupted – but only to complete that sole nine-year term. Not… . . . → Read More: Hill Queeries: The Senate bill is a distraction