By: Chris Burke
With other writers here at 1837 offering up their views on the Senate reform debate, I figured I might as well weigh in. Being the socialist of this group, I’m generally not concerned with issues of reform. I don’t view them as the way to go about making the changes that need to be made. With that being said, there is a conversation worth having around this debate.
Back in my liberal days, you would’ve found me on the side arguing for an elected Senate. I found it to be a contradiction that a democracy would be partly run by un-elected officials. As my views shifted, however, so did my views on voting. While it is held up as a great aspect of liberal democracy, voting doesn’t appeal to yours truly. What I mean is that voting shouldn’t be seen as the end to everything in democracy. Read More
By: Clement Nocos
For whatever reason we’ve been given in the last week, the Senate of Canada has once again found its way somehow to the top of the Canadian political agenda. Solutions like Triple E senate reform or the institution’s complete abolition usually come to mind when it comes to treating its chronic democratic incapacities. These resolutions, nonetheless, come with their own sets of problems, while Canadian federalism further complicates any attempts at reform.
As the debate over what to do with the senate heats up, I would like to take a crack at solving the senate question. I propose not abolition or reform, but the replacement of Senators with representatives that have already been elected, have proven to be responsible, are already under the accountability spotlight, and who already properly represent their constituents: Canada’s provincial and territorial Premiers.
As Parliament’s chamber of independent, sober second thought, who better and “independent” enough to exercise secondary legislative review in the Senate than the leaders of provincial governments? Premiers are already charged with intergovernmental affairs responsibilities and meet regularly to discuss united actions in interacting with the federal government through the Council of the Federation.
By: Martin Pharand
In front of the Supreme Court of Canada as of February 1st are 6 questions regarding the legality of proposed reform measures for the Senate. These 6 questions address term limits, methods of electing senators (either nationally or provincially) and complete abolition. Despite the potential reasons for delaying senate reform, it is high time this Government open and shut the Senate reform case for good.
It is no secret that Canadian voter apathy and negative feelings toward Canada’s democracy are on the rise. A recent study conducted by Samara Canada (another good source is the ‘Reinventing Parliament’ series in the Globe and Mail) states that although MPs in the Commons cover what Canadians care about, they still do not feel that confident in their legislature’s ability to affect change in those areas. The study then goes on to suggest several potential avenues for changing Parliament and then appeals to Canadians for more suggestions. The following are my thoughts and suggestions; the central thrust of which is reforming the Senate. (as a first step before getting to the Commons)