babble-intro-img
babble is rabble.ca's discussion board but it's much more than that: it's an online community for folks who just won't shut up. It's a place to tell each other — and the world — what's up with our work and campaigns.

Harper promises bill to elect senators

Noops
Offline
Joined: Feb 15 2005
 

Comments

Noops
Offline
Joined: Feb 15 2005
Now who said we didn't have a progressive PM?
This is great news!


thorin_bane
Online
Joined: Jun 19 2004
yes real great [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img] abolish this albatross. It won't be any different in composition than the house of commons.Just less democratic because it will be 1 province 5 votes or something where no matter population same number of votes. So the west will vote mostly CRAP with a mix in the east. Then if the libs win ontario again nothing will get done because whatever the libs pass in the house will get shot down by the senate....dumb dumb dumb. More lobbiest jobs I guess if you consider that a plus.

otter
Offline
Joined: Feb 10 2006
its always cute to see folks get excited about the smoke and mirrors show that our political leaders put on. The promise of a "house of sober, second thought" has never been realized thus far. Nor will it occur any quicker if the mutts are elected. How anyone can conceive of an elected senator being any better than an elected parliament has been over the ages is beyond understanding.

But you can be sure there will be a hell of a lot more politicians provided access to the more than generous salaries, perks and obscene pensions that senators receive as the turn over of these guys is accelerated into hyper drive by the election process. Instead of a handful of these guys staying in office till they die or simply fade away, we will see a steady flow of them into and out of those not so august halls.

However, it does give Herpies the chance to fiddle with our Constitution and that is probably what this is really all about. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]


Disgusted
Offline
Joined: Mar 17 2006
My understanding of the senate is fairly minimal, so can't comment with any authority on the topic. But I'm inclined to think that anything that Harper says is good for Canada is probably going to wind up just the opposite.

Joe Calgary
Offline
Joined: Sep 7 2006
Disgusted, thats a pretty obtuse reply when you state you don't really understand the Senate. Buy a book, read it, and then make an informed opinion.

Not to hard is it?


Disgusted
Offline
Joined: Mar 17 2006
My opinion has already been informed by watching what Harper has done since he became PM. I'm not impressed.

otter
Offline
Joined: Feb 10 2006
Or simply google it.
wiki link


quote:In 1980, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the Senate Reference that it would be beyond the legislative authority of Parliament to amend the Constitution to abolish the Senate or otherwise to alter its fundamental features and essential characteristics. The Court did not rule specifically on the issue of Senate tenure, but cited the 1965 amendment as an example of how Parliament could act alone to amend the Constitution.
GC link

oldgoat
Offline
Joined: Jul 27 2001
My problem with an elected senate is that it will have a legitimacy without first having it's parameters , role, and relationship to the other parts of government fully worked out. Clearly, (at least to me) it will tend more to be a house of the provinces, and a force for decentralisation. This has been a philosophical pet of the old reform for ages.

You can't majorly tinker with one part of the government without having very thorough deliberation on how other parts will be affected, and they certainly will be affected.

Right now the Senate has considerable powers under very limited circumstances, and very limited authority under most circumstances. What it does offer is a ready made body when you need a committee or study on something. Some may (rightly) see this as irrelevant, but it's a lot cheaper than setting up a Royal Commission every time you need to do this. Also, the Senate takes a certain amount of heat off the House by passing routine day to day non-controversial housekeeping legislation.

Actually, I'm not too sure what to do with it. The last thing we need is for the senate to be just a body representing the provinces. I'd rather see out and out abolition.


Ken Burch
Offline
Joined: Feb 26 2005
Isn't the idea of a "Triple E" senate just basically designed to give Canada government of, by and for Alberta?

And to the poster who said this would be "progressive" basically, had there been such a senate at earlier points in Canadian history, there would be no single-payer health care(because Alberta would have stopped it)no bilingualism and thus the death of Quebecois culture(because Alberta would have stopped it)and probably no transfer payments to poor provinces, much smaller social spending and a massive Canadian war machine(because that's what Alberta would have demanded).

Oh, and probably mandatory gun ownership as well.


500_Apples
Offline
Joined: Jun 3 2006
An elected senate would counterbalance the powers of the PM. We all remember the abuses of the Chretien era.

Ken Burch
Offline
Joined: Feb 26 2005
An elected senate would mean that Canada would have Tory governance forever, despite what the majority voted for.

It would just be Alberta saying no to all change.
Except change for the worse, of course.


Stargazer
Offline
Joined: Jun 9 2004
quote: An elected senate would counterbalance the powers of the PM

Oh sure. That must be why Stevie is doing it! Less power for him. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]


Pinko525
Offline
Joined: Sep 8 2005
The Senate has real power as it is set up now. But it is reluctanct to wield that power because of it's undemocratic nature. Of course the fact that the Liberals have controlled both Chambers of Parliament most of the time has palyed a role in extending the life of the current morass, it's not too often people disagree with themselves.

As an elected body with all the legitamacy that entails the Senate will be more likely to use the power it currently has to offset the will of the House of Commons. If a powerful Senate forces the House to 'moderate' legislation that negatively impacts one region of the country or another, then it's not all bad. Or if legislation is blocked all together, that may not be bad either. The status quo can be better than what may be proposed.

Let's just say that it would be very unlikely that a government in the House of Commons dominated by support from central Canada and one party in the House of Commons would be able to get a National Energy Program that forces one region to subsidize the interests of another through the Parliament that has an elected Senate.


josh
Offline
Joined: Aug 5 2002
An elected senate would be like putting lipstick on a pig. The senate envisioned by Harper would be anti-democratic, anti-city and anti-progressive. Much like the senate in the U.S. has been historically. Which is why he wants it.

Pearson
Offline
Joined: Jun 10 2006
There are many reasons to be against Senate reform, particulary given the hints that the Conservatives have provided on the form of that Senate.

However, it still does not explain the rampant nonsense on this board.

I don't know why Ken Burch is under the impression that this will give complete power to Alberta. Perhaps he can enlighten us - or just leave his unadulterated bias against Alberta stand as it is.

As for democratic, it's certainly going to be more democratic than a senate that's appointed? How precisely are appointees more democratic.

Honestly, if you're going to criticize government policy, at least make your points semi-credible.


Pinko525
Offline
Joined: Sep 8 2005
If that represents the will of the people, what's the problem?

Ken Burch
Offline
Joined: Feb 26 2005
The problem is that the senate can be used to thwart the will of the people. My understanding of it(which I admit is imcomplete)is that the West would be able to use the disproportionate power it would have in a Senate to stop legislation enacted by a government with a clear parliamentary majority.

The West(read Alberta) is determined to have this
in order to force its particularly sanctimonious, heartless and anal-retentive form of conservatism on all Canadians forever, election results be damned.

As to my feelings about Alberta(which are shared, I suspect, to varying degrees by most Babblers)from what I can see(and I'm willing to be corrected if anyone can prove I'm wrong) it is the most reactionary, homophobic, antidemocratic, antilabour and antifrancophone province in the country. Alberta wants to prevent basically any progressive legislation from being enforced within its boundaries.

It's Alberta

...that led the fight against bilingualism and against recognition of the equality of francophone culture within Canada,

...that led opposition to single-payer health care,

...that is more obsessively anti-union and antiworker than any other part of Canada,

...that repeatedly and vindictively cuts its welfare payments even though the province is insanely wealthy(meanwhile congratulating itself on how "Christian" it is).

And it's Alberta, more than anywhere else in Canada, that is determined to keep gay and lesbian relationships legally inferior to heterosexual marriage.

Basically, a place that wants to stop time in 1958. A place against compassion, tolerance, equality and in favor of militarism, bigotry and tax cut after tax cut after tax cut for the rich.

Or a bigger Texas but with cold winters.

Can anybody seriously quarrel with the above assessment?

And can anyone seriously argue that such a poisonous place should be given an entire parliamentary chamber with which to block any legislation it doesn't like through endless delay?

Also, people should look at what happened in Australia in 1975, a scenario which could be repeated in Canada should a genuinely left-wing government win a majority in the Commons.

In that year, the Labor government, which had just won a second solid majority in the lower house of Australia's parliament, was dismissed by the governor general just because the Senate had defeated a piece of legislation the government had introduced. This led to a snap election in which a reactionary "Liberal Party" government came to power, an election that should not have been called because the Labor government still had a parliamentary majority in the lower house.

(The CIA was involved, for those who were wondering, and would be again if this scenario were to repeat in Canada.)

[ 07 September 2006: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]


Cueball
Offline
Joined: Dec 23 2003
Well if you were really concerned about regionalized jinogism, you would probably not be so concerned about the regional proportionality of homophobes and reactionaries, as they are everywhere.

For instance, if you were to break down political views on the basis of urban vs. rural and elminate the major cities such as Vancouver, from BC; Toronto, from Ontario; and Montreal, from Quebec, you would probably find that rural Albertans more or less shared the similar views as rural British Columbians.


Stargazer
Offline
Joined: Jun 9 2004
Nope. You have it in a nutshell aand before anyone from Alberta starts freaking out please, talk to the neo-cons and so-cons that reside there prior to pissing on people who don't happen to like the fact that Alberta is a Conservative province. All I can say is, thank god for Quebec!

Ken Burch
Offline
Joined: Feb 26 2005
Still, they do have a level of dominance in Alberta that exists nowhere else in Canada.

Look at the comparative provincial election results. Alberta has had uninterrupted right-wing provincial government, either Social Credit or Tory, for SEVENTY-ONE FREAKIN' YEARS.

And, as a Yank, I also remember what our beloved
"upper house" did(and continues to do) on civil rights and worker's rights for most of our country's history. Which was to say "no, no, no, no, no, and no". These were the people who wouldn't even pass an anti-lynching law. We can assume Harper's senate would be just as loathsome.


Stargazer
Offline
Joined: Jun 9 2004
Not to mention that shamefully Alberta may become (or already has become?) the only province to outlaw same sex marriage. Never mind, here it is, from Wikipedia:

quote: On July 12, 2005, Klein conceded that the advice given to him by legal experts is that a challenge in Court to refuse to marry same-sex couples has no chance, and wasting taxpayers' money to fight it would be "giving false hope." Klein said, "much to our chagrin," the Alberta government will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples when the bill receives royal assent. Klein also said that the Alberta government would enact provincial legislation to protect religious and civil officials who do not wish to perform a same-sex marriage. This means that an Alberta marriage commissioner who refuses to solemnize same-sex marriages would not be liable for dismissal on those grounds — in most of the other provinces, marriage commissioners face automatic dismissal if they refuse to solemnize a same-sex marriage.


otter
Offline
Joined: Feb 10 2006
quote: The Senate has real power as it is set up now. But it is reluctanct to wield that power because of it's undemocratic nature. Of course the fact that the Liberals have controlled both Chambers of Parliament most of the time has palyed a role in extending the life of the current morass, it's not too often people disagree with themselves.

As an elected body with all the legitamacy that entails the Senate will be more likely to use the power it currently has to offset the will of the House of Commons. If a powerful Senate forces the House to 'moderate' legislation that negatively impacts one region of the country or another, then it's not all bad. Or if legislation is blocked all together, that may not be bad either. The status quo can be better than what may be proposed.

This is an excellent analysis of the Canadian Senate. Originally proclaimed as a Hosue of Sober Second Thought it was expected that the Senate would be a control mechanism against the excess of a rogue or otherwise self-serving government.

But partisanship in the appointments to the Senate has turned the Senate into nothing more than a payoff for the party faithful.

However, if the Senate seats where to be decided by another form of voting, namely public referendum, whereby only non-political personalities may compete, it is possible that we might get a bunch of people occupying those seats who have no real political baggage or loyalty contaminating their voting preferences.


Van resident
Offline
Joined: Jan 13 2005
quote:Originally posted by Ken Burch:

The West(read Alberta) is determined to have this
in order to force its particularly sanctimonious, heartless and anal-retentive form of conservatism on all Canadians forever, election results be damned.

Did you mention you were an American cuz that would explain why you could possibly think anyone could take your rant seriously?

Provincial Senate Seat Distribution

NF 6
NS 10
NB 10
PEI 4
QU 24
ON 24
MN 6
SK 6
AL 6
BC 6
YK 1
NW 1
NU 1

Add in that the NDP has Govts in both MN and SK and has formed Govt in BC and would have their first reps in the Senate in the West.

How are those 6 Albertan senators going to initiate the reign of terror you spout off about?

Keep in mind that it takes a constitional change to change the above numbers which requires the House, the Senate and all ten provincial legislatures to pass - and probably a national referendum.

[ 07 September 2006: Message edited by: George Pringle ]


Abe from Alberta
Offline
Joined: Nov 21 2005
quote:Originally posted by Ken Burch:
The problem is that the senate can be used to thwart the will of the people. My understanding of it(which I admit is imcomplete)is that the West would be able to use the disproportionate power it would have in a Senate to stop legislation enacted by a government with a clear parliamentary majority.

The West(read Alberta) is determined to have this
in order to force its particularly sanctimonious, heartless and anal-retentive form of conservatism on all Canadians forever, election results be damned.

As to my feelings about Alberta(which are shared, I suspect, to varying degrees by most Babblers)from what I can see(and I'm willing to be corrected if anyone can prove I'm wrong) it is the most reactionary, homophobic, antidemocratic, antilabour and antifrancophone province in the country. Alberta wants to prevent basically any progressive legislation from being enforced within its boundaries.

It's Alberta

...that led the fight against bilingualism and against recognition of the equality of francophone culture within Canada,

...that led opposition to single-payer health care,

...that is more obsessively anti-union and antiworker than any other part of Canada,

...that repeatedly and vindictively cuts its welfare payments even though the province is insanely wealthy(meanwhile congratulating itself on how "Christian" it is).

And it's Alberta, more than anywhere else in Canada, that is determined to keep gay and lesbian relationships legally inferior to heterosexual marriage.

Basically, a place that wants to stop time in 1958. A place against compassion, tolerance, equality and in favor of militarism, bigotry and tax cut after tax cut after tax cut for the rich.

Or a bigger Texas but with cold winters.

Can anybody seriously quarrel with the above assessment?

And can anyone seriously argue that such a poisonous place should be given an entire parliamentary chamber with which to block any legislation it doesn't like through endless delay?

Also, people should look at what happened in Australia in 1975, a scenario which could be repeated in Canada should a genuinely left-wing government win a majority in the Commons.

In that year, the Labor government, which had just won a second solid majority in the lower house of Australia's parliament, was dismissed by the governor general just because the Senate had defeated a piece of legislation the government had introduced. This led to a snap election in which a reactionary "Liberal Party" government came to power, an election that should not have been called because the Labor government still had a parliamentary majority in the lower house.

(The CIA was involved, for those who were wondering, and would be again if this scenario were to repeat in Canada.)

[ 07 September 2006: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]

Some things just take your breath away, don't they?

Ken, would you mind doing me one small favour? Could you please tell me where on earth you get your information from?

I'd really like to look into your sources some more.

If you can do that for me, I'll promise to be really, really, nice and stop ramming my neocon agenda down the throats of all these poor, unsuspecting Canadians.

[ 07 September 2006: Message edited by: Abe from Alberta ]


Joey Kay
Offline
Joined: Jun 1 2004

[ 15 June 2007: Message edited by: Joey Kay ]


ghlobe
Offline
Joined: Jun 10 2006
quote:Originally posted by Ken Burch:
Still, they do have a level of dominance in Alberta that exists nowhere else in Canada.

Please explain first how could one province alone control the senate the way you said.

Ken Burch
Offline
Joined: Feb 26 2005
If the Senate is "triple E", then Alberta would have the same number of senators as Ontario. The Alberta Senate delegation(which we can assume would always be all-Tory)would force all the Tory senators from the rest of Canada to back it up on any filibuster or delaying tactics to stop the passage of progressive legislation.

If an elected Senate didn't give Alberta and other right-wing areas of the west blocking power, why would Harper be bothering to make it elected?


josh
Offline
Joined: Aug 5 2002
Exactly. What some of the others are failing to see is that Harper wants to model the U.S. Senate. Where Wyoming has the same number of seats as California.

Abolishing the senate is the best way of amending it.


Abe from Alberta
Offline
Joined: Nov 21 2005
The Senate cannot be abolished because that would require constitutional amendment. The policy of abolishment is nothing more than a convenient way for parties like the NDP to avoid taking a real position on Senate reform. Even the NDP concedes that the seat allocations in the present Senate are a total farce, and are indefensible by any reasonable person. No democracy in the world features such a blatant example of one region dominating another.

At the same time, since the NDP doesn't favour western empowerment or provincial equality either, they have come up with a policy of abolishment which allows them to at least participate in the debate without having to fear that eastern Canada will lose its undemocratic domination of the Senate.

Ken Burch, I will ask you again, can you please explain where you get your information from? Is it from reading the posts of your fellow leftists here on Babble, or do you have some other source?

[ 08 September 2006: Message edited by: Abe from Alberta ]


josh
Offline
Joined: Aug 5 2002
quote:

The Senate cannot be abolished because that would require constitutional amendment. The policy of abolishment is nothing more than a convenient way for parties like the NDP to avoid taking a real position on Senate reform.


How is that not a legitimate position? Or are the RepubliCons now dictating the parameters of the debate.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or register to post comments