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Senate: Pick your TWO top choices & share with friends!

Posted 4 years.

26 Comments

  • EL - 3 years ago

    It is not clear to the average person how much, or even what, the 'Senate' does, or why it should continue to exist. The Senate appears to be nothing more than an old idea whose purpose is neither relevant nor of value now, other than primarily as a marvelous retirement scam for the Senators themselves.

  • Bret - 3 years ago

    So another layer of politicians to filter our tax money. Sounds like a great idea. Remove the senate from the payroll please.

  • Stefan Wesche - 3 years ago

    I agree broadly with Dr. Flanagan's proposal for a mixed federal-provincial/territorial advisory panel to propose new senators for appointment. The only thing I would change is to have the appointed senators renounce any party affiliation whatsoever: they should all be "cross-benchers" as in the British/Australian vernacular. Dr. Flanagan has made a strong point that we need to make the Senate less overtly partisan: why not go whole hog and take partisanship out of it completely? Party affiliations will always have the potential of making senators less "sober" in their second thought.

    This is also the best way to ensure there's a proper check on the House of Commons, especially one where, under the current electoral system, a party can have over half the seats and all the power with substantially less than half the vote.

  • Bill Leithead - 3 years ago

    The Senate must be elected, each province and or territoty must have an equal number of senators. All legislation must also be approved by the Senate. This ensures that regional conscerns are addressed and illiminates bad laws such as the Liberals NEP Program which had distastous consequences in Alberta and Saskatchewan .
    The Senate must be independant from the House of Commons, and must not be dictated to by the Prime Minister. The Last Omnibus Budget Bill allows the government in the event of a bank failure to empty depositors accounts to save the bank. An effective Senate would not have allowed such draconician laws to be passed.

  • Roger Dignard - 3 years ago

    I would see a newly Senate with grossly revamped mandate and composition. Their mandate to be unpartizan and advisory in nature, even to extent that the House would be required to have an other look at pending bills and amend as may be best for the citizens at large.
    As for composition:
    -A number of senators to be elected representing set regions, not based on provincial or territories boundaries for a set maximum terms or years in office.
    -A number would would come from academia with wild respected accomplishment and appointed.
    -A number would be composed of Ex prime minsters, premiers, finance minister. All of which would have had service/held office for more then one term but had won at least one majority.
    - Total number of elected, appointed and of MP and MPP to be established during revamping processes.

    The senator would have some paid support staff. Budget.. i let that to wise and informed personnel but it should also be reflect by the senator's mandate,

    We would require some kind of group/committee to wet all proposed appointed senators. Appointment should be out of elected controls and perhaps appointed by directly by the Governor General. or the Supreme Court Justice.

    While the review and new format under review. Limits on senators terms in office should be limited and not extend beyond three years of the newly reformed senate.

    The reformed Senate should have a BUILD review period for possible amendments without getting into the amending of the constitution

    What to do in mean time?

    At the earliest run a referendum during a general election with he proposed senate future senate reform.

  • Lee Morrison - 3 years ago

    A diverse federation such as Canada needs a bicameral legislature to defend the interests of the weaker regions. Without the balance provided by a Senate willing to actually exercise its power, Ontario with its preponderance in the House of Commons effectively rules the roost.

    Moreover, regional differences aside, a reformed and effective Senate could protect the public from the more egregious lunacies of a government with a majority in the House of Commons.

    The current senate scandal involving a handful of senators fiddling their expense accounts has soured the general public on the mere concept of an upper house. It would be unfortunate if the reaction was to do away with a useful (and I would say, necessary) institution.

  • Lee Morrison - 3 years ago

    A diverse federation such as Canada needs a bicameral legislature to defend the interests of the weaker regions. Without the balance provided by a Senate willing to actually exercise its power, Ontario with its preponderance in the House of Commons effectively rules the roost.

    Moreover, regional differences aside, a reformed and effective Senate could protect the public from the more egregious lunacies of a government with a majority in the House of Commons.

    The current senate scandal involving a handful of senators fiddling their expense accounts has soured the general public on the mere concept of an upper house. It would be unfortunate the reaction was to do away with a useful (and I would say, necessary) institution.

  • Alain Desgagne - 3 years ago

    If the intent of the Senate is to offer equal representation for each province, so be it. Assign a set and equal number of Senators per province to term limits and determined by the population of the province.

    Then, overhaul Parliament and ensure that demographic representation is the same for every riding, not lower in provinces like PEI and higher in provinces like Ontario and Alberta. And quit giving Quebec a free pass. The time when French was spoken by 50% of the population is long gone.

  • Robert Brannen - 3 years ago

    At its outset, the Canadian Senate was set up as an institution that gave equal representation to the regions on the basis of population density. In 1867 all three regions of the new Dominion; the Maritimes, Quebec, and Ontario each had population densities near 11 persons per square mile of territory held. Subsequent expansion of the Dominion, and the expansion of the territorial area of some provinces, caused the inequity in representation we now see, with the older parts of the country feeling the most damage relative to the new areas into which Canada expanded.

    In 1867, the regions of Canada held the following populations and territorial areas:

    The Maritimes (former colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) --- population of 582,914 --- territorial area of 49,482 sq. miles.

    Quebec (former colony of Lower Canada) --- population of 1,111,566 --- territorial area of 102,000 sq. miles.

    Ontario (former colony of Upper Canada) --- population of 1,396,091 --- territorial area of 120,000 sq. Miles.

    These figures give population densities, in 1867, of approximately 11 persons per square mile for each of the regions; more specifically, the densities were 11.8 for the Maritimes, 10.9 for Quebec and 11.6 for Ontario.

    If the Senate were to be configured in such a way as to give equal representation to each province and territory, as promoted by Mr. Manning, I would suggest that it would also have to comply with the intent of the Fathers of Confederation to also give representation based on population density. If the formula set out by the Fathers of Confederation of giving equal representation on the basis of a population density of 11 persons per square mile were adhered to, with our present population and area, the make up of the Canadian Senate would be as follows:

    Total number of senators – 29

    Nfld. and Lab. - 1 senator
    P.E.I. - 6 senators
    N.S. - 5 senators
    N.B. - 3 senators
    Que. - 2 senators
    Ont. - 3 senators
    Man. - 1 senator
    Sask. - 1 senator
    Alta. - 2 senators
    B.C. - 2 senators
    Yukon - 1 senator
    N.W.T. - 1 senator
    Nunavut - 1 senator.

    This total is based on the premise that a calculation resulting in an entitlement to a partial senator would require that the number be rounded up to the next whole number.

    This properly representative senate would not pass the resulting constitutional challenge, as Quebec is guaranteed a number of senators in the same proportion to the total number of senators as is the proportion of the Quebec population to the total Canadian population.

  • Robert Latham - 3 years ago

    I agree with Kate Ramsay comments

  • Brian SUTCH - 3 years ago

    1 vote every four years or so may have made sense when it took several days for a message to get from one part of a country to the seat of Government. We need to bring the politicians back under control with electronic voting on major spending and moral issues after the politicians from all parties have presented their points of view to the public via modern media such as TV without the tendentious reporting by those who control most of the media.
    Abolish an Institute that has become a dumping ground for political friends, fund raisers and bagmen of whomsoever is in power at any given time and put the power back in the hands of the people where it belongs.

  • Errol Redman - 3 years ago

    Hogs at the trough! Dump the senate now.

  • Kate Ramsay - 3 years ago

    I support a major reform of the senate, equal, elected and effective. Without the Senate, and without any changes to our Parliamentary system, I am concerned that too much power will reside in the Prime Minister without any checks and balances. I think we need two chambers of government, one level of sober second thought, but representative of each Province and not beholden to any political party. Too often the fix for a problem results in unintended consequences. Abolishing the Senate, with our democracy as it now stands can leave us open to dictatorship.

  • M. Davis - 3 years ago

    Agree almost totally with Waterkanook, above. Our whole system of so called Democratic government should be overhauled to truly reflect the peoples wishes; abolishing the Senate is a good place to start. Of course, the Supreme Court needs to be overhauled also. Governing bodies and individuals need to be held accountable under the law. They say people are apathetic and don't bother to vote. I believe it's discouragement rather than apathy, because everything is so corrupt that even voting results can be doctored. Give people a fair playing field, free of corruption in which their voice counts, and people will vote.
    Like MLK, I have a dream!

  • Canadeh - 3 years ago

    I find it very difficult to understand how we as a society accept the corruption and waste of our hard earned tax dollars when so many are struggling to provide basic needs for their families. We need to abolish waste and extravagance. With an appointed Senate, qualifications for the position do not even come into play. If the corruption exists at this level it makes you question the rest of our governing team! I for one am tired of seeing our less fortunate people fall further back financially while our Senators steal from our pockets!

  • ON A FIXED INCOME SR - 3 years ago

    The Senate is like the United Nations Organization a " TOOTHLESS LION " "USELESS" !

  • waterkanook - 3 years ago

    We should close the red chamber. The notion of sober second opinion that senators are supposed to provide is a fallacy; every one knows that senators are whipped by their respective government leaders and that the latter take their marching orders from the PMO. So where is the independence of opinion? Then there is the subject of democratic legitimacy and accountability of the red chamber, a hangover from the distant colonial past, a sort of House of Lords which should have no place in a modern independent country like Canada. Also there is the issue of regional representation. The only way the Senate could provide a legitimate regional input would be the have senators elected, but then what would be the rules: how many senators per province? A proportional number to the province's population? What would be the point? We have the House of Commons that does that. An arbitrary number attempting to give smaller provinces a stronger weight? Who would ever agree to that, in Ontario for instance. No my friends, the only effective way to deal with the senate is to close it down and rely on the Supreme Court to act as a gate keeper for potential parliamentary abuses.

  • Roh H - 3 years ago

    Abolishing the Senate would be akin to throwing the baby out with the dirty bathwater. An elected, effective Senate that addresses the regional concerns of all the provinces and territories would seem to be the shortest distance to the "sober second opinion" expected from this institution. In a democracy the people tend to get the government they deserve. Let the people decide if this political and social experiment called Canada is to continue to be a beacon to the rest of the world into the next century.

  • Paul Whistlecraft - 3 years ago

    Make it democratic and effective, or eliminate it altogether. No appointees. And would it be too much to ask for a non-partisan Senate... we want and need devoted Canadians in there, not political party partisans.

  • Rick - 3 years ago

    This is just another money grab for those who gravitate to easy scams. Unfortunately those that are genuinely trying to help and make a difference are the minority in this basket of vipers. So for the fiscal and ethical good of all, we need to tear the whole thing down.

    At the very least a short leash should be imposed. A 3 year limit only, with NO RETIREMENT FUNDS. This would eliminate the morons and idiots.

  • Norman Klenman - 3 years ago

    I have no patience for those who yelp our helplessness; bounded as they say we are by constitutions, usages, opposing regional groupings etc. Parliament is the governing body in this nation, consisting of members of parliament voted into their roles by the public. Parliament can pass bills that abolish the Senate and continue legally and stubbornly to fight the Supremes, the provinces, the Indian bands and the stubborn senators. Parliament holds the purse string strings, and can with ample notice inform the Senate and its supporters that, as of a certain date, no more money will be voted to pay senators, and transfers to its supporters will be reduced sharply over a short period if their opposition continues. Surely a country of the status and ability and independence of Canada can reform itself. Parliament has the duty and the right to do so. The key to this reform proposal is a political party with the guts to do it. Will that be the Conservatives? If not, shall we please have Mr Reform himself back to do the job?

  • RM - 3 years ago

    Blah blah blah - tear it down. Don't let these trough dwellers have time to fatten up more before being put out to market. Do it now!

  • Scientist - 3 years ago

    @KPC This was added in response to my comment.

  • KPC - 3 years ago

    @Scientist, the sample size is very clearly stated at the bottom of each of the percentages bars and then for a total n at the very bottom, see the bit that says "3,458 Total Votes". That is the total sample size. Each option also has a count of votes, those are also the sample sizes for each option.

  • Scientist - 3 years ago

    Your poll does not include your sample size, making it impossible to evaluate the percentages voted...

  • François Dagenais - 3 years ago

    Would suggest a mix solution with both 2nd and 3rd proposal: Fix regional imbalance / elect senators + terms limit.
    Consultative elections will not tie the executive cabinet. Partisan nominations would continue.
    Thank you

    François Dagenais

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