I am happy to see that the Senate expenses scandal has finally started a discussion about the relevance of the upper chamber. It seems quite obvious to some of us that appointing a body to overrule the decisions of your elected representatives is completely undemocratic.
Now some Canadians say that the Senate was put in place to provide an element of “sober second thought” to the process, but is that really what the original intention was? I think not.
Our parliamentary system is based on the British system and born from the desire to have the people decide how their society was to be run. In the process of transferring the decision making power from the monarchy to the people, a compromise was struck which allowed the wealthy to overrule the common peoples decisions. So was born the “House of Lords.” It was put in place to protect the interests of the rich nobility.
When we set up our Parliament in Canada we had no “lords” so we called it the senate. Some modern politicians would like to hoodwink the people into believing that the senate is there to protect the general public from bad decisions made by our democratically elected body. The truth is, the senate is there to protect the rich from the decisions of the commons.
One of our BC senators, Nancy Greene Raine, was on the radio last week suggesting that the senators who abused the system should resign to protect the integrity of the senate. According to her, the senate provides an “important system of cheques and balances”.
I guess that depends on whether you are receiving the cheques, or being expected to provide the money for them by way of the tax system.
I think we elect representative to make our collective decisions, and we have the right every four years to throw the bums out if they do a bad job of it.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper believes in the “triple-e senate.” Which means we elect some people to make the decisions, and then we elect some more people to make sure they are the right decisions. Why stop there? Why not elect a few more to review the senate’s decisions, after all, there are a lot more worn out celebrities and politicians who could use a nice warm rich teat.
How about we simplify it and go for the “single-e senate”… eeeeliminated.