A simple solution for Canada’s Senate.

During the honeymoon that our new Prime Minister Trudeau deserves, we should all try to be helpful. It is in this spirit of cooperation that Babel-on-the-Bay would like to extend a helping hand in resolving what to do about the Senate of Canada. And in as much as Justin has already told us what to do with suggestions that involve constitutional change, we will stay away from that pitfall.

As matters stand the Senate is a constitutional commitment that involves so many appointees from each province or territory and that the senators should represent their home province or territory by owning land there worth at least $4000. And that is the easy part. Where the difficulty arises is that senators are appointed by the Governor General in Council (meaning the Prime Minister) to serve until age 75.

We should change that. First of all we need to ask the current senators to resign en masse. If any are reluctant, we can probably bribe them. Since we know from the last senator to be bribed it is the senator who is charged not the briber. And if they accept the bribe, they would no longer be a senator and nobody would care.

We would then use the popular vote of the recent election to assign party standings in the senate. Those who think we should have proportional voting can have a proportionally elected Senate while we keep the first-past-the-post House of Commons. The only stipulation we need make to the new Senators is that, before they are appointed, they agree to resign at the calling of the next federal election.

It would be ideal if the different parties listed only their best and brightest to be senators as these people would have the job of reviewing all their legislation. If they only spent their time repeating what had already been said in the House, it would be a waste of our time and money.

Senators who did the job properly for a term would also have the best chance of a repeat performance after the subsequent federal election. This would give us some continuity in the Senate and the lists of potential appointees would be public to show whether the parties are taking it seriously.

The only problem that has been noted in the plan is getting rid of the present office holders in the Senate. There is some fairly serious deadwood in that house but you never know what will be left if you come up with the right bribes. And even if there are still some holdouts, just remember, they get older every year.

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Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

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