Triple 'E' Doubts

Stephen Harper's Elected Senate plans have come under fire from one of his own:
"I don't think that being elected that will add to sober second thought," Nolin told the Senate.
"Quite to the contrary, I think that will create havoc between this house and the other house because at the end of the day we will try to challenge them (on) being more popular than them, being more democratic than them."
Nolin is wrong on several fronts.


An elected senate would make Senators in the upper chamber actually accountable. The question of accountability has been the central reason the Upper Chamber's reputation has been called into question over the last 20 years.

Making senators accountable, even in a loose way, to an electorate gives them a boss.


Canadians don't take the Senate seriously.

Maybe that last sentence should have an exclamation point. No one believes that the senate actually holds parliament accountable in any way shape or form.

The senate is merely a rubber stamp for a Prime Minister who crams loyalists into the upper chamber who will do his bidding. Recent sporadic signs of spine by Senate do not undue the years of rubber stamping under successive Liberal and Conservative governments.

An elected senate gives the upper chamber a legitimacy that otherwise will never come on its own.

Sober Second Thought

Nolin's argument that instead of more sober second thought "... two elected chambers would be a recipe for parliamentary gridlock..." makes no sense. If the Senate is going to provide "Sober Second Thought" it needs to question.

Questioning means in some cases gridlock. Gridlock means that it will be tough to pass legislation. For some reason this is a bad thing.

Governments do not have a natural tendency to create less laws. They create more. And then more. And then when that's done they create more laws.

Ensuring a hint of division in an otherwise undivided senate injects into the upper chamber a questioning attitude. It'll lead to less laws, less government, and better quality in the bills that do make it through.

Less government is a noted goal of conservatives last time I checked. We'll just have to wait and see if the Harper's bill manages to shrink big old government just a tiny bit.