Sober Second Thought

Harper's plan to elect senators has drawn the fire of every single one of the Statist apologists in this country.

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion: "The very moment the two chambers would be elected, they would have same behaviour, a greater likelihood that you would have a stalemate without some kind of dispute mechanism..."

I'm glad Dion is worried about the troublesome senate holding back progress.

I wonder where he was when the Liberal senate was holding up Harper's Federal Accountability Act? He was pretty silent then.

Dion offers one further objection, but it's not one that is directly quoted anywhere by the media. He suggests that this Act would require a constitutional change. Since the Prime Minister is still appointing Senators, just elected ones from now on, then I think we can chalk Dion's assertion up to either a misinterpretation or just plain scaremongering on Dion's part.

NDP Leader Jack Layton:"It will give the Senate more dysfunctionality and they'll be able to monkey with the business of the House of Commons even more then they have up to now..."

True that the Senate will be more effective if elected because it will have legitimacy and won't be the pawn of a single party unless desired so by the electorate. That means that yes they will be able to "monkey with the business of the House" a lot more often. It is better to have an extra check on the power of those knuckleheads in the House, than it is to have a chamber paid on the foot of taxpayers that merely rubbers stamps anything the government does.

As to this proposal making the senate more "dysfunctional" I fail to understand Layton's logic. A proposal meant to make senators more accountable to the people by making them democratically elected causes them to be "dysfunctional"? Are we actually saying that more democracy, and more voter input create dysfunctionalism? I would certainly hope not because that would mean inversly that the House of Commons would be less dysfunctional if it weren't elected. That's the type of mentality dictatorships are made of.

Quite frankly I trust the people more than I trust politicians or Mr Layton for that matter.

Now it's possible that Layton's comments are a result of not completely distrusting the will of the people, but rather that he distrusts complete populism. So he may believe that some democratic input is needed in a just Dominion, but not too much. Which is a valid argument, however in the case of the Senate, where, by the NDP's own admission is unaccountable and a waste of taxpayer money, more accountability through more democracy is desirable.

Bloc Leader Giles Duceppe:"We don't want to start a new constitutional round..."

Again a mistranslation or a misunderstanding. This bill has no meaning constitutionally. Future Prime Ministers could easily ignore the results of a senatorial election and appoint whomever they want. The question is will they be arrogant enough to do just that? Or will this start a tradition that will one day become part of common law in this Dominion?

Leeway must be given to the opposition, because it's very well possible that these comments were made to reactions to the bill before they knew the details. They could've been reacting to merely the idea of senate reform which they figured required a constitutional change. Their supplementary comments over the coming months will testify to that truth whatever it may be in good time.

In the end, this measure may very well fail. But if it succeeds, it may very well be that the Senate may one day in the future provide REAL sober second thought.


  1. ''(PMSH would)play the constitutional card when the "ground was fertile"''

    'So far Harper has made no such move, although he has repeatedly said he’s open to constitutional talks eventually - or as he likes to phrase it, “when the ground is fertile.”'

    That phrase was explained somewhere as having the final amendment agreed on, open and close the constitution for only that one amendment.

    Limit spending powers and Senate reform??.
    All the opposition attacks have advanced the 'opening of the constitution' on Senate reform as I read it??

    Will Canadians warm up to the idea?

  2. What a joke. The senate is useless right now. Having members accountable to the electorate will only help it.

  3. Anonymous12:12 PM

    Why doesn't Harper propose a constitutional amendment or is he afraid of real senate reform?

    After two failed attempts at reform under the previous Conservative government, its no wonder Harper wants to avoid having his hand burned by this.

    This just smacks of cowardice. He should appoint a panel to draft a constitutional amendment to reform the senate.

    What is Harper afraid of?

  4. "What a joke. The senate is useless right now. Having members accountable to the electorate will only help it."

    Thanks for proving the point sir. It will "help it." That's the point.

    The possibility of abolishing the Senate is about as far off as having an NDP government. Turning the senate into a more accountable body is the only reasonable alternative as I see it.

  5. "What is Harper afraid of?"

    Anwer: Meech Lake II, Constitutional insanity, and the possibility of the country fractionalizing.

    I really don't see your point sir. You don't seem to argue anywhere against senate reform.

    Do you agree with it or not?

    Also, if Harper truly was a coward he wouldn't have suggested this reform to begin with.