Canada’s Senate: Still not Democratic.

Despite having many friends in the Senate over the years and appreciating some of their hard work, there is no justification for such an elitist and undemocratic component to the Canadian parliament. It represents millions of dollars in expense for the Canadian taxpayer over which the taxpayer has no say.

While it might have been seen as a necessary brake on the ambitions of the House of Commons when conceived in the 1860s, it has become more of a drag on legislative proceedings in the modern day. It is as though the Commons does not bother to consider its legislation as carefully, as they can leave parts of it for the Senate to fix.

Surprisingly, in considering this commentary about the Senate, I realized I have never sat through a debate in that chamber. And yet, I will always remember an interminable discussion on drainage ditches that I once sat through in the British House of Lords.

Like the Lords in the United Kingdom, the Senate in Canada is an attempt to preserve the property owners’ say on legislation. It is why the hue and cry went up when it was found that Senator Mike Duffy had listed a holiday cottage in PEI as his permanent residence.

There is no fear of such chicanery today as an elitist committee advises the prime minister as to possible appointments. They are all thoroughly vetted ahead of the appointment.

What might be of more concern is what will happen to this Independent senator’s group (ISG) if the conservatives win the election in October. Observers think the ISG will split into at least three groups of independent elitists. Instead of referring to the Senate as ‘The other place,’ the MPs might just refer to it as ‘The Zoo.’


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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