I think the Canadian senate needs to be reformed, but not to the point where it becomes an elected body as Prime Minister Harper says it should be. I think if the Canadian senate was elected it would result in it being a carbon copy of the chaos seen in the United States of America where the two sides of the house rarely agree on anything and bills take decades if not more to pass into law. I also fear that the senate would become merely an extension of what the elected clowns we now have in the house of commons are doing and that is nothing but arguing like children and getting nothing done.
What is needed is a total reform of the senate and a ridding of political party influences as much as possible and allegiances based solely along party lines instead of what you think is right. In other words if you can not leave your political ties at the upper chamber door than you should not be allowed inside its chambers.
I think that the senate should fill its own vacancies based on a code of rules and regulations and qualifications where one would need more than a simple majority, but not a full consensus to be admitted and that no imbalance that would allow an automatic acceptance of a motion on any issue, or the passing of a bill, would be allowed.
The whole idea behind this cross-section of people who are appointed rather than elected to the senate for life and can not be removed unless they break with the rules of the upper chamber is to ensure that they keep a level balanced head while discussing parts of Canadian law , or changes to it, that the elected group can not agree on because of constituency pressure. This freedom from having to perform in order to win an election is supposed to leave them free of political party pressure, or the need to follow the official party line. This freedom is supposed to enable them to work together through debating and looking at reasonable alternatives and compromises that will best serve all of Canadians and return to the House of Commons, or parliament with solutions in the form of recommendations that they think will be best for all Canadians and Canada, or in other words be the conscience of the government and allow representation of the minority and give it a voice. Their very existence is predicated on the fact that in the senate there may be a difference of opinion, but that it is one body of people dedicated only to working together to what is good for the country and I repeat not the political party, or leader that appointed them.
The key to this working of course is the minute one is goes into the senate they must forget what political party they were from and become part of a new group of people that no longer answers to a party, but are charged with the responsibility of sifting through the political rhetoric and posturing and all the things that people who are trying to get reelected can’t seem to ever get together on. Like when I heard a Liberal Party leader state,” We are not here to agree with the government, we are here to oppose it, or find fault with it”. This gave me the impression that the party in opposition feels that it is the duty when you are the official opposition to make life difficult for the party in power digging up dirt on them wherever possible and that it must argue against a good law just because they are the opposition. The government has become like a chess game with people vying for control of the game instead of keeping the wheels of parliament moving getting things done and only fighting against the things that are truly and clearly bad for Canada.
The party in power often feels that they do not have to take into consideration that although they did win that the other parties do represent Canadians and there fore must be listened to lest you alienate a lot of Canadians; I call this constituent pressure, or the need to please who voted and supported you lest you lose them and by doing so lose your next election. When the bill goes to the senate it will be discussed and analyzed by the one body of government that is free of constituent pressure for final approval.
What the senate has been perverted into however is a mockery of what it was intended to do. Political leaders have decided to use the senate as a weapon and both the Liberals and the Conservatives are guilty of it. The senate has been split and has began to represent the leader who appointed the senators. They have become an extension of the elected branch of the government and are continuing the party fight rather than looking for alternatives and solutions to recommend for the good of Canada not the party.
We now have a government whose leader readily admits that he is making sure that the senate does his bidding like when he said, “Until senators are elected, this government will ensure that we have in the Senate people who will work hard and will support the elected government of this country,” he said. “And that includes passing our anti-crime legislation and passing our democratic reform which has been blocked in the Senate.” He has appointed 18 people to the senate he wishes to see elected including his political cronies, what a joker he is.
This being said can someone tell me why we the taxpayer are paying a Liberal Senator from Quebec who is barred from the senate a lot of money to attend and cut ribbons at grocery store openings in Quebec? Surely we cn do better than this. This is the type of behavior that has people wanting the abolishment of a non elected senate.
I think that as long as a senator is going to be paid unless they are out of town on official senate business they should be expected to show up and go to work. Why should they be able to come in a minimal time which is possible under the rules of today, when other Canadians are expected to go to work everyday unless there is a genuine reason for their absence and after a while they are removed and replaced so that the job they are doing can be carried out. I think that the rules governing the senate need to be updated and changed to address this problem. I could go on, but I think that this is enough to think about and explains why I feel the way I do. Just imagine if everyone who elected the senate was over run by Liberals and Conservatives needing to compete for voters and their jobs; not a comforting thought is it?