Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Double Standards

I see that as part of his ongoing campaign to make Canada's government more like the U.S. one, and to hobble the capacity of the federal government to take action, Harper is talking about asking provinces to hold elections to nominate Senators. Says Harper, "If need be we'll use a plurality voting system at first and move on to proportional voting. (This will) give Canadians the option of electing the senators that will represent them,"

It's left unclear what need would require the use of plurality voting at first. In the meantime I await all the people who feel that a 60% threshold in a referendum is required to change the manner in which we elect one set of representatives to suggest an appropriate decision threshold for deciding to (effectively) elect an entire new set of representatives, clearly a bigger change to the system.

So what's it going to be folks, 65%, 70%? Or do we support having this change made unilaterally by a government elected with 36% of the vote?

Also, when is the Harper party going to change its name back from Conservative to Reform?

Update: My snark is just a mere subset of the snark of Lord Kitchener's Own, commenting over at BigCityLib.


  • Since the Senate doesn't seem to do anything anyway, why does anyone care? I'd support Senate reform if and only if we made the Senate an important player in government.

    By Anonymous philipj, at 11:14 AM  

  • You have the cause andeffect backwards. Senate reform will (could) make the Senate an important player. Right now it generally limits itself to an advisory role because, not being eleted, it lacks the legitimacy to do more than that.

    Were Senators elected, we would likely see them being much mroe active. The important point to note is that, as the Constitution is written, the Senate is nearly equal in power with the House of Commons it just isn't *using* that power currently.

    By Blogger Declan, at 1:19 PM  

  • I probably do, but I don't understand why. Job security isn't an issue, so why aren't the senators who used to be active politicians when their jobs *were* on the line suddenly so passive? It is like getting tenure as a faculty member. Most tenured professors don't suddenly stop doing what they love to do.

    I don't know that I buy the whole elected-therefore-active line, either. We currently elect 300 odd members of parliament, and how many of them actually do much over the course of their time in Ottawa? It is already hard enough to get ministers with portfolios to do anything as is.

    By Anonymous philipj, at 1:37 PM  

  • "elected-therefore-active line"

    Active=expensive. Elected Senators wiil spend much more on themselves and their offices than currently they do, and will initiate legislation. The cost of government will go up without any improvement in governance.
    I say get rid of the Senate or leave it as the unelected body of "sober second thought".

    By Anonymous richard, at 3:42 PM  

  • I'm with you Richard, although I'm less concerned about the cost (fairly small on a national scale, in my opinion) and more concerned about the potential for an elected senate to alternate between being a rubber stamp and a partisan obstructionist wall depending on the alignment of parties in the House/Senate.

    By Blogger Declan, at 4:12 PM  

  • The Senate is unelected and obstructionist - as with the animal cruelty legislation. Elected and obstructionist would be at least an improvement.

    By Blogger Mark Dowling, at 6:10 AM  

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