A guaranteed income for Canadian elites?

That was a firm step backward in time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday. He gave jobs to people who had no need for another job. He gave the title of senator to people who had no need for further titles. He made a mockery of much needed reform.

This is elitism at its worst. It is putting the onus of reviewing government legislation on people known for other accomplishments. While two of yesterday’s elitist appointees had some government experience with legislation, our prime minister expects the rest to suddenly turn their talents to reviewing and debating government legislation in a forum created for another era almost 150 years ago.

We might as well call it what it is. This is just simple cowardice. Justin Trudeau is afraid of the constitutional struggles of his father. He wants to leave sleeping dogs lie. He believes he can change how people vote in this country without constitutional change or referendum yet cannot conceive an approach to senate reform that does not necessarily challenge the constitution.

But the prime minister’s sunny days are going to become rainy days if he does not start paying attention to the problems our constitution creates. Only a foolish egotist believes that a constitution if we write it today can meet the needs of a country more than 100 years in the future. Constitutions do not need to be easy to change but they should never be impossible to change.

Canada exists today with an irrelevant foreign monarchy, an overly powerful prime minister, a moribund senate, a ceremonial governor general, and a collection of unequal and unbalanced provinces–with improperly allotted responsibilities. And the further problems these create could feed this one commentary with subjects for the next 50 years.

But the better short term solution to the senate was suggested quite some time ago by Babel-on-the-Bay. The senate has a political job to do. It therefore needs to be political. It needs people selected by their respective political parties according to the popular vote in each federal election. It would be proportional and unlikely to have a majority. It does not need a majority to do its job. It just needs people who care. There is no need for the senate to be a sinecure. It just needs some new blood after every federal election. And does that not make more sense?

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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