An alternative to the abolition of the Senate

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Because it, abolishion,  would include more (second separate) committee review of bills after selving them for a cool off period. This would ensure better bill making and involve the backbenchers more making them less trained seals. The primary problem is getting the PMO to be reformed more than senate. The PMO is running the country, not even the vote of MPs.


I support a bi-cameral legislature.  The questions is really to me what the houses would look like. If the Senate is abolished I would like it replaced with a house that provides adequate representation for First Nations and the regions.

Sean in Ottawa

Looks like the politics of the Senate are interesting given the timing: Harper may have blown it.

Likely Harper could have named Senators over the last while -- trying to avoid controversy. Instead he held off. Now he has a tactical problem: does he give up on the Senate and let the new PM name Senators wiping out the Conservative majority in the Senate in three months? Or does he create massive headlines with the biggest amount of Senate patronage in Canadian history right on the edge of the election with Duffy in the news? It is certain that Harper was not imagining the NDP could win when he stopped naming Senators. Was he really planning on giving the Chamber to Trudeau?

Trudeau could erase the Conservative majority by January.

If Mulcair gets the Senate, the Conservatives may think he is screwed but he isn't at all. For Mulcair the answer is very simple: convene an urgent First Ministers' conference on the Senate. Ask them if they would be willing to abolish (keeping the NDP promise). If they agree the Constitution is amended. If they don't he can sit with the Premiers and come up with a strategy to fill the Senate without PMO patronage using a new nomination program. He could continue the discussion and amend the Senate. He could name First Nations and Inuit Senators. In short he can try plan A: Abolish and Plan B reform in one single conference with the First Ministers. Once done the Conservative Senate would be gone replaced with something very different. Trudeau could do the same thing just skipping over the attempt to abolish and go right to amending it. Harper has blown the Senate file and lost the chance even to leave the opposition with his choice of Senate.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

There can't be aboriginal reconciliation until the treaties are resolved. That will never happen. All we can expect from Canadian governments is bad faith in that department.

The business interests are planning more thefts and more degradation of land.

A Quebec veto will never sell west of the Ottawa River. It's a non-starter. Abolish it.

had enough

The senate discussion is one example of why I say we have to keep our heads and take a much more ordered attitude toward all things like this.

harper has poisoned our country and certainly earned a label such as "The Traitor Regime," among many others, but, it's our political/social/legal systems that allowed it. We have to look at a number of things before deciding what to do about the senate, from the perspective of, "once democracy is established, what will we need".

Naturally we "the people" have no power to change anything right now. That's not actually true of course, since we'll always have the power, but what we lack is the means to understand and co-ordinate that power.

A senate-like entity is necessary as independent secondary oversight, notwithstanding the vile perversion it is now, that'll be an essential part of our ability to maintain realistic public control between elections, without having to constantly run to vote.

A useful senate-like body in a democracy might (all with the goal of improving and increasing public information and oversight, to facilitate public control):

1) provide general oversight of gov't operations (according to a standard analysis as well as independent)
2) review and research laws proposed by technical gov't
3) co-ordinate with universities, etc. to meaningfully engage students/staff in front line work of evaluating laws and other research, both to give students valuable experience and allow moderation of the required size and composition of the senate body
4) have the ability to dely, to a point pending public review (another area requiring discussion), laws, etc. passed by the technical political authority
5) provide public oversight and information for foreign related aspects
6) have real independence from the technical gov't
7) appointment/election method to be determined
8) list, compare and inform about "partisan" positions
9) ensure real public advocacy
10) have proper, publically approved expense rules, etc.
11) etc.

Note that this senate-like body would have a specifically defined process to inform the public (to be determined), as well as flexibility to evaluate and inform beyond the standard framework, when necessary.

How to choose/elect the individuals is secondary to their role, although "democratically" primary, of course. It's already been pointed out that any sense of advantage by having more individuals for your area is just an illusion. As are so many other things.

What would you like a senate-like body to do?, not worrying about their current role, and assuming you could trust them and their loyalty was to us. We're talking about "democracy".

I'm not saying replace current discussions with such musings, just have it as an extra. Purely as a mental exercise, what would a trusted oversight body with total power to inform and limited power to disrupt look like.

Keep in mind that if we don't have a mechanism to act when informed, the senate is useless. So as I see it, it's worthless to worry about how to change the senate at this point, until we decide what we want to change it in to (first), along with a few other things regarding fundamental governance.

The essential problems with the senate aren't the expense rules, etc., which are purely pedantic. It's that a political body designed for a monarchy exists in a "democracy" relatively unchanged.

One question too, why is it that everyone seems to think we have to include politicians as overlords in these discussions. Just because chauffer's have the keys to a car, it doesn't mean they own the car. These are hired managers.

And, even if it is functionally that way now, it doesn't mean it has to be that way.


PS Just as a note, "term limits" have been mentioned, and although they may have a value in a dictatorship, they're an attack on a "legitimate" democracy and an attack on future generations that greatly weaken and threaten democracy. If you want to inject poison in to a real democracy, introduce term limits.

PPS Of the many, many attacks on our country committed by the traitor regime, perversion of the interpretation of the term "reasonable", which is a central concept in our "constitution", is a particularly threatening one.


This is too weird... our favourite political columnist John Ivison tweeted this evening that tomorrow Stephen Harper and Brad Wall will announce the Conservative plan for abolishing the Senate. Can this be real?




"Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall are expected to appear together Friday to call for the abolition of the Senate, according to a source familiar with their plans."


Well, this will be the smoking gun for all our Liberal friends that NDP=CPC=NDP.


Brilliant, as usual.

Harper can say:

"Canadians are overwhelmingly opposed to 'business as usual' for the Senate. We have always said, make it work, or abolish it. Despite our best efforts, the Supreme Court's decision makes reform virtually impossible. So, abolish it."

What will Mulcair say? What will Trudeau say?



Mulcair: "We thought of it first!"

Trudeau: "The other two parties are in cahoots!"  


Interesting, I think the media spin will have a more lasting impression than anything the PM might say.


The word this afternoon is that Harper and Wall will only talk to the press about forest fires today.

So either the Harper Cons read the tea leaves after the story was first floated and concluded that it wouldn't fly as a bold new initative.

Or John Ivison is full of shit.

One does not preclude the other.


Late-breaking: Ivison says he's sorry for the mistake.

And Stephen Harper announces a moratorium on any new Senate appointments.

(Rex Murphy, Andrew Coyne, and John Ivison wilt noticeably.)


One now defunct party had proposed replacing the Senate with a First Nations Asembly. If the goal is to protect minorities from the tiranny of the majority, it wouldn't be a bad idea given the usual ethnic composition of Parliament.


Pondering wrote:

People on the prairies also seem to support Senate reform more than Senate abolition.

It does seem that people from the Atlantic provinces prefer reforming the Senate.

But it isn't up to them. It is up to the political class.

JKR wrote:

It seems to me that the "political class" takes into consideration the opinion of large segments of the population.

Quebec will use their veto if they don't get whatever they want out of the deal. I shudder to think what Mulcair would offer to get agreement on abolishing the Senate.

Many Quebecers would support making demands or no deal. Even if they didn't it wouldn't matter. Which party to vote for in Quebec is already a joke.  Couillard or PKP, pick one.