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Author Topic: Canadian Senate
Alienrocker
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posted 28 March 2003 11:10 AM      Profile for Alienrocker        Edit/Delete Post
Just read the posts on the lower house of Canada and how it's modeled on Britain's house of Commons.

I imagine the Canadian Senate must be modeled on House of Lords, since they are appointed for life.

Do you like that? Wouldn't you rather elect your senators?


From: visiting central CT, USA from Rigel IV, Quadrant 9 | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
bellows
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posted 28 March 2003 11:35 AM      Profile for bellows     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh! we couldn't have an elected senate, that would be The American way.
From: Corner Brook | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
ronb
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posted 28 March 2003 11:41 AM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
At least we elect our leaders here instead of letting the supreme court decide for us.
From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
bellows
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posted 28 March 2003 11:54 AM      Profile for bellows     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Most laws in Canada ends up in the suprene court and they have the final say. Do that mean they are always right?. But, we have to abide by that decision. All senitor's are elected in the USA.
From: Corner Brook | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
SamL
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posted 28 March 2003 12:11 PM      Profile for SamL     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Daniel Hays, the Speaker of the Senate spoke at our school a while back. He feels that having non-elected Senators frees them from the constraints of winning the next elections... and I see the logic in that. Take the marijuana report... what are the chances that it would have happened in the House of Commons?

That said... maybe Canada could go tri-cameral.


From: Cambridge, MA | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
oldgoat
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posted 28 March 2003 12:12 PM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The Canadian Senate is indeed modelled after the House of Lords. One of the very few things that Canadians of all political stripe agree on, is that the Senate as it exists today is an anachronism and should be altered or abolished. The only reason it's still there, is that we can't agree on what to do with it.

To simply turn it into an elected model like the American Senate is, in MHO a non-starter for a number of reasons. Beyond both being called a Senate, they share nothing in common in terms of the intent and evolution of the respective institutions.

The House of Lords evolved over centuries within the parliamentery system as a means of protecting the status-quo, that being the hegonomy of the aristocracy. It was supposed to be a check on the powers of the commons, and reflected a fear of the rule of the common classes. That was transported to Canada and called a Senate.

At the time of the founding of your fine nation, (other comments you may read here notwithstanding) the USA was a number of states which regarde themselves as more or less sovereign. Senators were more ambassadors from their states than what they are today. The constitutional role was a check against a central federal power. Americans created their constitution durind the height of the enlightenment, and during a neo-classical revival. Thus the use of the Roman term "senate" which was seen as a bulwark against tyrrany. The House of Lords slowly evolved, and it's purpose was almost the opposite.

That's why I don't think merely electing a senate on the American model serves no good purpose. It's like grafting on a part that was made for something else. Our senate actually does a certain amount of useful day-to-day housekeeping legislation, freeing the commons for other stuff, and it is by tradition very limited in it's scope. I'm in favour of chucking it.


From: The 10th circle | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Doug
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posted 28 March 2003 12:43 PM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The interesting thing is that the House of Lords has now come to resemble the Canadian Senate. The hereditary peers have largely been replaced by partisan appointees, the only difference being that the opposition gets to nominate some of them.
From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
oldgoat
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posted 28 March 2003 01:36 PM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yup. There's realy been some pretty eccentric characters among the Labour Lords. I'll have to Google that when I get a minute.
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Pellaken
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posted 28 March 2003 02:27 PM      Profile for Pellaken     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I am going to write an article about senate, and parliamentary reform. give me time though, it may not be done till the end of april. when it's done I will post it on every forum that I chat on, including this one. I will post it in the politics secton, and title it "The Boragina System"

in brief:
senate as-is = bad
throwing senate out = bad
making senate better = good


From: UPEI or at home in S-Side, PEI | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 28 March 2003 02:39 PM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
making senate better = good
It's hard to disagree with that.

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Alienrocker
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posted 28 March 2003 03:36 PM      Profile for Alienrocker        Edit/Delete Post
Hi Oldgoat - thanks for the lesson.

The Senate in the US was created as a means to give each state equal representation in one of the legislative houses and also checking the lower house of representation (whose makeup is determined by state populations).

While the lower house was determined proportionally by population, the smaller states were worried they would have little say in 1787.

By creating a senate in which each state gets two votes (by electing two senators), the US makes Wyoming (with lowest population)as equal a state as California (with highest).

Does each province in Canada get a certain number of senators, and who exactly appoints them?

Thank you for teaching me.


From: visiting central CT, USA from Rigel IV, Quadrant 9 | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 28 March 2003 03:47 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Just read the posts on the lower house of Canada and how it's modeled on Britain's house of Commons.

I imagine the Canadian Senate must be modeled on House of Lords, since they are appointed for life.


Just to add a little more data here, Canadian Senators are not appointed for life. They have to retire from the Senate at age 75. Which of course means that some die in harness -- some harness, though. The attendance requirements are, to say the least, not onerous.

quote:
Does each province in Canada get a certain number of senators, and who exactly appoints them?

The Senate is supposed to feature equal "regional representation," meaning different provinces and territories have different numbers of Senators, depending on which region they're in. The figures are on this page.

Senators are appointed by the government of the day, which in practice means the Prime Minister.

A few years ago, Alberta had an "election" to choose two Senators -- that is, two people whom they hoped the PM would then appoint. They're still called "Senators-in-waiting" in these parts.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 28 March 2003 03:59 PM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The regional distribution on the face of it makes no sense, but it's based on the deal struck at Confederation in 1867: 24 seats each for the orginal three regions (Ontario, Quebec, and the two -- later three -- Maritime provinces). The West was also given 24 seats to share out later on, and some extra seats added on more recently for Newfoundland and the North.

As an aside, no province can have fewer seats in the Commons then it does i the Senate. That's why PEI has four seats in the Commons when it really should only have one, if rep by pop was really implemented.


From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy Shanks
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posted 28 March 2003 04:26 PM      Profile for Tommy Shanks     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
making senate better = good

I recommend that we replace all of the deadwood there now with chimps and some dalmations in sweaters. More exciting, more fun, probably more effective.


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Pellaken
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posted 28 March 2003 07:52 PM      Profile for Pellaken     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
swallow
you are right about the PEI thing
in 1915 we took the government to court when they tried to give us 3 MP's we won! we also forced them to totally change the senate. one of the changes was the addition of "the west" as a region. so if not for us, the west would have much less in terms of senators then it has now

when newfoundland joined, they were not counted in with the maritmies, but were given 6 seats, cause 4 other provinces already had 6 seats, and it seemed like a nice number.
therefore western canada, plus the territories, got 27 senators, central canada 48, and eastern canada, 30. as you can see, its neither fair nor balanced.


From: UPEI or at home in S-Side, PEI | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Marc
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posted 28 March 2003 08:28 PM      Profile for Marc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Elected senate = bad
Current senate = bad but could be worse
Abolished senate, with FPTP in H of C = bad
Abolished senate, with PR in H of C= good

Elected Senates are unnecessary and have a tendency to be partisan and hold up important legislation when their party affiliation differs from the governing party of the House of Commons and also tend to be "rubber stamps" when they have the same political affiliation. Appointed senates are good because they represent people, like women and visible minorities, that are typically underrepresented in the House of Commons. However, with a MMP system, the list PR section could do a great job giving representation to these segments of our population. Furthermore, it would begin to develop an air of consensus around the House because parties will likely have to work together to pass legislation, thus, putting a stronger check on the power of the PMO than any Senate would. An elected Senate, on the other hand, would likely lead to a further continuation of this combative nature or make it even worse.


From: Calgary, AB | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pellaken
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posted 28 March 2003 08:49 PM      Profile for Pellaken     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
unfortunatly, I disagree.
while I like PR, I think that it does cause instability. and I'm not talking about Israel or Italy, I'm talking about naitons like Germany and Holland. minority governments take time to get laws done.

now, I wont go into super-ultra detail, but my plan is simple:

400 seat HoC, partially, and infact mostly PR
100 seat senate, totally PR, representing the provinces.

we are a federation, and we sometimes need to remember that. the provinces should be represented... you'll see when I write my article


From: UPEI or at home in S-Side, PEI | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 28 March 2003 09:03 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
while I like PR, I think that it does cause instability. and I'm not talking about Israel or Italy, I'm talking about naitons like Germany and Holland. minority governments take time to get laws done.

Germany and Holland? We could use that kind of instability. Best social-welfare and labour legislation in Europe.


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Marc
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posted 28 March 2003 09:05 PM      Profile for Marc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Instability? Come on...if there is a threshold of 5% there is no less instability than a minority government under the current system.
From: Calgary, AB | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marc
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posted 28 March 2003 09:07 PM      Profile for Marc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The provinces are fully capable of representing themselves through executive federalism at various summit meetings. The majority of the important decisions that affect provinces are done at that level.
From: Calgary, AB | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 28 March 2003 09:26 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The regional distribution on the face of it makes no sense, but it's based on the deal struck at Confederation in 1867: 24 seats each for the orginal three regions (Ontario, Quebec, and the two -- later three -- Maritime provinces). The West was also given 24 seats to share out later on, and some extra seats added on more recently for Newfoundland and the North.

The joke is that some people think that this setup is actually an "equitable" Senate, and trash the Triple-E notion on the grounds that it would be "unfair".

What I still don't understand is the almost allergic response people have to having a setup where each province would have precisely 10 seats and each territory, three seats. That gives us 109 seats, up from the 104 or 105 we got now.

I don't buy the tired old recycled bilge that it weights too much power to smaller, rural, regions as opposed to urban ones, because the reasoning behind THAT comment is usually an unstated assumption that rural people don't know their ass from a hole in the ground, which, it has been pointed out on babble, is not necessarily the case.

I could make the case that the sheer concentration of people in urban areas means that there's more people per unit area in a city who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground than in rural areas.

So... barring the reasoning used above, why the allergic reaction to changing the distribution of the seats in the Senate?

Furthermore, jeff house has (if memory serves) outlined that constitutionally, the Senate does indeed have powers equivalent to that of the Commons except for the power to originate "money bills". It always gravels me when I see people who should know better claim that the Senate is "toothless". It's only toothless because nobody in the Senate wants to rock the boat to avoid getting cushy memberships in country clubs when they finally have to retire at 75.

The Triple-E folks drive me bonkers on that score as well, when they falsely make the assertion that the Senate as empowered by the Constitution cannot be an effective body. It can be. The Senators simply by and large choose not to be effective.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pellaken
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posted 28 March 2003 10:13 PM      Profile for Pellaken     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Rep by pop is unfair
EEE is unfair
regions? too much argument about what makes up a region. then how much do you give to each region?

so if RbP and EEE wont work. what will? combine them both! 50 for RbP and 50 for EEE
so ontario gets 19 seats, for its RbP. it also gets 5 seats for EEE
Alberta gets 5 seats for RbP, and 5 for EEE
PEI gets 0 for RbP, and 5 for EEE
totals:
ON-24
PQ-17
BC-12
AB-10
MB-7
SK-7
NS-6
NB-6
NL-6
PE-5


From: UPEI or at home in S-Side, PEI | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Steve N
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posted 29 March 2003 03:46 AM      Profile for Steve N     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
now, I wont go into super-ultra detail, but my plan is simple:

400 seat HoC, partially, and infact mostly PR
100 seat senate, totally PR, representing the provinces.

we are a federation, and we sometimes need to remember that. the provinces should be represented... you'll see when I write my article


Unless the Senate can enact laws at provincial level, they will not, in practice, represent the Provinces, because they won't have power at provincial level, only a Federal level.

I hope I can make this clear...

All MP's are ultimately answerable to their ridings at election time, yet we rarely see a Member break ranks, or do more than lobby for a few dollars for a local cause. The fact that Senators would be elected would in no way obligate them to reflect provincial views as opposed to national ones.

Provincial parliaments act and think "provincially" not just because of who elects them, but because their powers are limited to the Provinces they reside in. They are therefore held responsible by the electorate for provincial conditions. As such, provincial governments rarely act or speak out for the best interests of the country as a whole, but rather for local interests.

Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, and often enough provincial interests coincide with national ones. But please realize that elected Senators without local provincial powers or influence would never feel accountable for provincial conditions in the same way as a provincial government. The tendancy in Ottawa is see, and bicker over, the larger picture.

So in what way do you ensure that your elected Senate represents provincial, as opposed to federal, party positions? I suppose in theory, candidates would be nominated by provincial parties, and be subject to provincial government whips. But frankly I can't see such a set up ever working properly. And certainly it would never work in way you may envision it, any more than our current parliamentary system is working the way it was envisioned in 1867.


My vote would go to abolishing the Senate altogether, with all powers and responsibilities being transfered to all-party back-bench committees to act as a balance of power vs Cabinet.

Provincial interests should be looked after at a provincial level, as recognized and protected by the Constitution. Putting pure provincial representation at a federal level is, frankly, a provincial intrusion into federal jurisdiction, and I can't see it doing anything to improve our lives. Effectively it may end up giving provinces a veto over any federal initiative.


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Pellaken
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posted 29 March 2003 11:45 AM      Profile for Pellaken     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Unless the Senate can enact laws at provincial level, they will not, in practice, represent the Provinces, because they won't have power at provincial level, only a Federal level.

I hope I can make this clear...

All MP's are ultimately answerable to their ridings at election time, yet we rarely see a Member break ranks, or do more than lobby for a few dollars for a local cause. The fact that Senators would be elected would in no way obligate them to reflect provincial views as opposed to national ones.

Provincial parliaments act and think "provincially" not just because of who elects them, but because their powers are limited to the Provinces they reside in. They are therefore held responsible by the electorate for provincial conditions. As such, provincial governments rarely act or speak out for the best interests of the country as a whole, but rather for local interests.

Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, and often enough provincial interests coincide with national ones. But please realize that elected Senators without local provincial powers or influence would never feel accountable for provincial conditions in the same way as a provincial government. The tendancy in Ottawa is see, and bicker over, the larger picture.

So in what way do you ensure that your elected Senate represents provincial, as opposed to federal, party positions? I suppose in theory, candidates would be nominated by provincial parties, and be subject to provincial government whips. But frankly I can't see such a set up ever working properly. And certainly it would never work in way you may envision it, any more than our current parliamentary system is working the way it was envisioned in 1867.


My vote would go to abolishing the Senate altogether, with all powers and responsibilities being transfered to all-party back-bench committees to act as a balance of power vs Cabinet.

Provincial interests should be looked after at a provincial level, as recognized and protected by the Constitution. Putting pure provincial representation at a federal level is, frankly, a provincial intrusion into federal jurisdiction, and I can't see it doing anything to improve our lives. Effectively it may end up giving provinces a veto over any federal initiative.



if you've read my article, atleast say so. and if not, then I'm mad at you presenting ideas that I'm about to present in my article

"So in what way do you ensure that your elected Senate represents provincial, as opposed to federal, party positions? I suppose in theory, candidates would be nominated by provincial parties, and be subject to provincial government whips. But frankly I can't see such a set up ever working properly. And certainly it would never work in way you may envision it, any more than our current parliamentary system is working the way it was envisioned in 1867."

I disagree with you on the issue of the senate being abolished. the only reason I'm in the NDP is because I belive that I can make them see reason, and support senate reform. when my membership expires, I strongly doubt I'll go back into the NDP. honestly? I'd probably join the alliance. not because I'm a right wing nut head, but because I belive SO strongly in senate reform, I'm willing to go to any leangth to get my ideas heard by those in power.

as for my senate, I may as well give you a basic summary of what my idea is
simpally, each province would go to the polls as they regularly do. but instead of casting 1 ballot, they could cast 2. one for their party, like a PR system. these 2nd votes can be used if the province decides to go PR, but it will certainly be used to pick all of the provinces senators. these senators would be nominated by the provincial parties. they would begin sitting the moment the new government is sworn in. 4 years later, these senators remain sitting untill the next government is sworn in. this will unfortunatly leave a "lame duck" peroid, after new senators are elected, but before they take their seats, but it will make the senate totally continueous, there will never be "not" a senate, or will there be a large number of lame ducks, since provinces usually space out their elections.
I do all this because of how canadian politics works, not how we want it to work. parties tend to vote in a block, so this makes block voting easier.
now what would the current senate look like?
lets find out
lets go province by province

Newfoundland
Lib-3
PC-2
NDP-1

PEI
PC-3
Lib-2

Nova Scotia
PC-2
NDP-2
Lib-2

New Brunswick
PC-3
Lib-2
NDP-1

Quebec
Liberal-8
Bloc/Parti Q.-7
ADQ-2

(if we went with the most recent polls of 40-40-20, we'd have:
Liberal-7
PQ-7
ADQ-3)

Ontario
PC-11
Lib-10
NDP-3

Manitoba
NDP-3
PC-3
Lib-1

Saskatchewan
Sask P-3
NDP-3
Lib-1

Alebrta
PC-6
Lib-3
NDP-1

BC
Lib-7
NDP-3
Green-2

Yukon
Yukon Party-1

NWT and Nun
Independant-2

now, I'd try to make it so large caucas (AKA those with seats from more then one province) would get certain benifts
therefore, I belive these parties would sit togehtor
all the NDP's
liberals from:
NL, PE, NS, NB, ON, MB, SK, and AB
conservatives from:
NL, PE, NS, NB, ON, MB
leaving the senate looking like so:
PC-24 (government of the senate)
Lib-24
NDP-17
PLQ-8
Bloc-7
BC Lib-7
AB PC-6
Sask P-3
ADQ-2
Green-2
Yukon P-1
Ind-2

now, this is before any and all senatorial coalations. I belive this is what it would look like after such a deal
LIB-NDP-PLQ-GREEN-INDEPENDANTS = United Left
PC-BClib-ABpc-SASKp-ADQ-YUKONp = United right

Left-53 (government in the senate)
Right-43
Bloc-7
what this means, in short is that the liberals need to negotiate with the PLQ (a little right of center) as well as with the NDP, Greens, and 2 independant senators before getting anything done. it will therefore give these parties some real power.
one interesting note, is that in this system, every province (ecxept PEI) has rep's from 3 different parties. allowing everyone's views to be heard.


From: UPEI or at home in S-Side, PEI | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
bellows
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posted 29 March 2003 11:55 AM      Profile for bellows     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why not have a look at all the countries in the world and see which government make's the most sense. Surely to God there must be some country in this crazy world that has a government that makes sense.
From: Corner Brook | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 29 March 2003 12:01 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I don't buy the tired old recycled bilge that it weights too much power to smaller, rural, regions as opposed to urban ones, because the reasoning behind THAT comment is usually an unstated assumption that rural people don't know their ass from a hole in the ground, which, it has been pointed out on babble, is not necessarily the case.

No, the reasoning behind it is that great public goods, supported by a great majority of the population and involving no infringement on the rights of the minority, can be blocked by legislators or cabals of legislators representing the tiniest of minorities.

[ 29 March 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Steve N
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posted 29 March 2003 12:28 PM      Profile for Steve N     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
if you've read my article, atleast say so. and if not, then I'm mad at you presenting ideas that I'm about to present in my article

No, I haven't read your article, but the concept of the Senate acting as representatives of the Premiers (say it any way you like, that's what it amounts to) is one I considered 25 years ago, and I've thought it out already. It's not hard to recognize where you're going with this.


A couple more odds and ends...

The appointed Senate we have now is not so entirely undemocratic as people make out. A huge part of government is appointed, from Cabinet to Deputy ministers to the Privy Council, etc. We accept this because of course they appointed by democraticly elected representatives.

The Senate tends to represent a democracy of several generations. That is, while our current parliament represents the "flavour of the day", our Senate represents the views of the previous generation. This is a layer of government that stretches back in time, so to speak, and is no less democratic than our current PMO or collection of Premiers.

Senetors often do very good work, but is at it's worst simply when they don't show up, or fall asleep. I see major complaints about the Senate only when some columnist, usually right-wing, disagrees with the government on some current issue and is convinced a "reformed" Senate will set things right.

I've yet to see any compelling arguement that a reformed Senate would give us a "better" country or "better" government. If the majority of elected Senators happen to share your personal views, then I'm sure you would be happy with the results. In general though, we get the same laws and regulations, the same programs, and the same mistakes and short-sightedness.

I tend to end up wanting simple abolishion because I'm VERY disturbed by the idea of any further shifts in balance of Federal/Provincial powers. The Federal government has a RESPONSIBILITY to act in the greater and broader national interest, and there is no advantage in hamstringing it. Reforms should be designed to advance this national interest and ensure it, and there are better suggestions for doing so, than handing vetos to provincial premiers.

Earlier you said we are a federation and need to remember that. All too often I read articles by people who ASSUME that a loose federation of strong provinces linked by a weak federal government would be so much "better" and yet I've never seen any justification for WHY it's so much better.


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Dr. Mr. Ben
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posted 29 March 2003 12:38 PM      Profile for Dr. Mr. Ben   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I saw an interview with a Senator on Mansbridge One on One a little while back, though I can't remember who the interviewee was, specifically. He said, interestingly, that reforming the Senate to have elected Senators is not good because if a whole province voted for its representatives in the Senate, every Senator would have a larger mandate than anyone in the House, including the Prime Minister.

Not surprisingly, he thought the Senate in its current form was pretty good, but if you were gonna change things, abolishing the Senate rather than electing Senators made a lot more sense.


From: Mechaslovakia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
bellows
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posted 29 March 2003 12:49 PM      Profile for bellows     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What would be wrong with a no party government. Say we elected 10 MP's from each province and territories. That would give us 130. Would that not be enough to run this country. Each one would receive the same salary, each would receive his pension at age 60 the same as us other poor souls. He could be fired, say for things like stealing. I don't know if something like this could work. I guess the first thing we would have to elimate is GREED. Any comments?.
From: Corner Brook | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pellaken
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posted 29 March 2003 12:52 PM      Profile for Pellaken     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm gonna write that article now
be done in about an hour.

" Why not have a look at all the countries in the world and see which government make's the most sense. Surely to God there must be some country in this crazy world that has a government that makes sense. "

my idea of provincial appointed/elected senators works in germany

" No, I haven't read your article, but the concept of the Senate acting as representatives of the Premiers (say it any way you like, that's what it amounts to) is one I considered 25 years ago, and I've thought it out already. It's not hard to recognize where you're going with this.


A couple more odds and ends...

The appointed Senate we have now is not so entirely undemocratic as people make out. A huge part of government is appointed, from Cabinet to Deputy ministers to the Privy Council, etc. We accept this because of course they appointed by democraticly elected representatives.

The Senate tends to represent a democracy of several generations. That is, while our current parliament represents the "flavour of the day", our Senate represents the views of the previous generation. This is a layer of government that stretches back in time, so to speak, and is no less democratic than our current PMO or collection of Premiers.

Senetors often do very good work, but is at it's worst simply when they don't show up, or fall asleep. I see major complaints about the Senate only when some columnist, usually right-wing, disagrees with the government on some current issue and is convinced a "reformed" Senate will set things right.

I've yet to see any compelling arguement that a reformed Senate would give us a "better" country or "better" government. If the majority of elected Senators happen to share your personal views, then I'm sure you would be happy with the results. In general though, we get the same laws and regulations, the same programs, and the same mistakes and short-sightedness.

I tend to end up wanting simple abolishion because I'm VERY disturbed by the idea of any further shifts in balance of Federal/Provincial powers. The Federal government has a RESPONSIBILITY to act in the greater and broader national interest, and there is no advantage in hamstringing it. Reforms should be designed to advance this national interest and ensure it, and there are better suggestions for doing so, than handing vetos to provincial premiers.

Earlier you said we are a federation and need to remember that. All too often I read articles by people who ASSUME that a loose federation of strong provinces linked by a weak federal government would be so much "better" and yet I've never seen any justification for WHY it's so much better. "

I like a strong federal government.

I want to model my senate and house, when it comes to balance of power, after Austraila
I want to model my senate and hosue, when it comes to election them, after Germany


From: UPEI or at home in S-Side, PEI | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
bellows
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 747

posted 29 March 2003 01:17 PM      Profile for bellows     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You are right Pellaken, I agree with a strong central Government but not one run by a dictator. Right now our Country is almost like 13 different countries each one trying to bite a piece out of the other.
From: Corner Brook | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 30 March 2003 09:55 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There's this misconception that the Senate doesn't do anything.

This appointed body of people who's expertise lies in synchophantry, regularly interferes with legislation from a responsible body.

The Senate is a body standing agaisnt responsible, democratic government.

Discussions on what to do with it, if anything can just as well take place without it's presence as with it.

The only discussion Canadians of all political stripes should be having right now is how to abolish it as quickly as possible.

The Senate is an affront to Democracy, every man and woman jack of them.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 30 March 2003 10:21 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Now Tommy, you're misunderestimating the useful function of the Canadian Senate. You forgot to mention how it is a patronage tool for whichever political party is in government.

Useless Senate indeed!


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 30 March 2003 10:32 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, there's no shortage of less improper outlets for patronage than the Senate.

...any good tory or liberal should be able to detail a hundred without thinking..... unless I am missunderestimating them.

[ 30 March 2003: Message edited by: Tommy_Paine ]


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 30 March 2003 10:36 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Don't you just love that word? I find myself throwing it in all over the place now. I have to watch it or it will start becoming second nature.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 30 March 2003 10:58 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ya, but some of the right wingers might accuse your obvious love of irreverance as Bush bashing, and take offence though.

(A web cam would be handy here, so you could see the wry and platonically affectionate look I have on my face right now, which smileies will never quite simulate.)


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 30 March 2003 02:25 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh, I'm the most unapologetic Dubya-basher around. (I'd say Bush-basher, but I don't want to be misunderstood. )
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 30 March 2003 03:03 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's one Bushism that isn't totally silly. And yes, "misunderestimate" carries a unique flavor that "underestimate" doesn't always carry
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
leftcoastguy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5232

posted 21 April 2004 03:48 PM      Profile for leftcoastguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Alberta and Quebec agree on appointing Senators and Supreme Court Justices from lists provided by provinces
quote:
Edmonton ... Alberta and Quebec both support the proposal being considered by the Council of the Federation to appoint Senators and federal judges from lists of nominees submitted by the provinces.

Benot Pelletier, Quebec Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs expressed his government's support for this position during a meeting with Halvar Jonson, Alberta Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations, in Edmonton on March 23.

"Alberta has always had a good working relationship with Quebec," said Jonson. "Quebec is a strong ally for Alberta on federal-provincial issues. Quebec's support for Senators and Supreme Court Justices being appointed from provincial lists of nominees adds more weight to the Council of the Federation proposal."

Through the Council of the Federation, Premiers have identified strengthening the federation as a priority area. Alberta is co-lead, along with New Brunswick, on a special council committee of ministers to develop and consider new models for selecting individuals to serve in key national institutions, such as the Senate and Supreme Court of Canada. This would ensure that provincial and territorial interests are adequately reflected and accommodated. Alberta will work with other provinces to achieve the committee's goals.



I presume the NDP has their ducks in order on this dossier.

From: leftcoast | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
BleedingHeart
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3292

posted 21 April 2004 04:06 PM      Profile for BleedingHeart   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Senate reform is one of my favorite topics about which I have thought long and hard until now mostly in private.

1. The way Senate seats are distributed is unfair but there is no way you are going to get NB or PEI to give up seats. Get over it.

2. Senate elections would be horrendously expensive to run in, totally separating it from the grassroots.

3. Why not select Senators by lot of people who voted in the last Federal election, half the Senate chosen every 3 years for a six year term. People would have one year to get their affairs in order and then would become a Senator. (Athens chose their governing council this way). A medical certificate vouching for the physical and mental health of the individual would be necessary.

4. The lottery Senate would select the Supreme Court justices, the GG, lieutenant governors. Naturally as lay people they would consult some people in the legal industry on the judges but this would be much more independent than the current system.

[ 21 April 2004: Message edited by: BleedingHeart ]


From: Kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Big Willy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5451

posted 21 April 2004 04:07 PM      Profile for Big Willy        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by 'lance:

We could use that kind of instability. .

Yes we could! Democracy should not be stable. Instability keeps democracy alive, look at China and Cuba they have a pretty strong and stable force ruling upon them.

On to the Senate, this body must be changed. Canada should move to a triple e Senate. This is advocated by lefties such a Senator Sharon Carstairs and well Big Willy on the right, amongst others.

[ 21 April 2004: Message edited by: Big Willy ]


From: The West | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
BleedingHeart
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3292

posted 21 April 2004 07:19 PM      Profile for BleedingHeart   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
During Oliver Cromwell's 10 year republic/protectorship, they actually considered an elected House of Lords. Elected would have been relative given that only a fraction of the population could vote.
From: Kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged

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