Senate Reform Stephen Harper

i sense a lack of sincerity.

At the best of times, I have a really hard time taking federal politics in this country seriously. On the issue of Senate reform, I believe that it’s time we all stopped pretending that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is sincerely interested in reforming Canada’s Upper Chamber.

Stephen Harper on September 7, 2006:

“As everyone in this room knows, it has become a right of passage for aspiring leaders and prime ministers to promise Senate reform – on their way to the top. But once they are elected, Senate reform quickly falls to the bottom of the Government’s agenda. Nothing ever gets done.”

CBC News on August 26, 2009:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to name eight new members to the Senate as early as Thursday, and the appointments will include loyal and long-serving Conservative advisers…

(Thanks to a long-time reader for providing the Harper quote)

Senate Reform Stephen Harper

reforming canada’s senate…

A number of things have been going on over my brief sejourn from the blogging world.

Senate Reform… Prime Minister Harper has put forward a Bill C-43: The Senate Appointments Consultations Act, Senate reform package which would allow Senators to be elected through preferential elections.

I don’t oppose Senate reform, but I do have unanswered questions about some of the outcomes, mostly because I don’t think many Canadians have thought about “what are the political concequences of having an elected Senate?”

I agree that the appointed Senate which Canadians currently have is an antiquated and archane method of chosing an Upper House, but it’s more the consiquances of an elected Senate that I’m interested in. Reforming the Senate could completely redefine Canadian politics and has the potential to remove power from the House of Commons. Not to mention that I’m not sure the Senate as a House of Parliament will be any more effective if it became elected (*cough*a la House of Commons*cough*)

The eight year term which the Tories propose seems like a number drawn out of a hat, it’s alot better than “for life” but still quite random. Will a Senator be allowed to run for re-election? Should Senators be elected through a province-wide elections or through large district elections? (Will Ontario elected 24 Senators from Toronto?)

I’m very interested to see how a move like this will effect the power of the provinces on a national scale, who will be the voice of the Provinces in Ottawa? As most proponants of Senate reform and Triple-E Senate reform would say, having an elected Senate would give the provinces a better voice in Ottawa. But would it? Would Senators displace Premiers as the voices of the Provinces in Ottawa? Would Senators be federal politicians representing their province in Ottawa or provincial politicians representing their Provincial government in Ottawa? I’m sure there are some Premiers who may not like one of the results…

Also, would political parties collect public funding from the votes their recieve from Senate elections similar to what they recieve in House of Commons elections? $1.75 per vote?

If anyone would care to take a stab at answering or if you have any other questions, pop them in the comment box…