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Old 06-13-2013, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Somewhere flat in Mississippi
9,563 posts, read 9,437,752 times
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Canada's version of the House of Lords?
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,692 posts, read 6,548,316 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnathanc View Post
Exactly! Who are these people? What are their qualifications? We know the Senate has no real power and is a group of crony appointees but what do they really do for the taxpayer?

I have no idea why Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin are senators! What about that old Rod Zimmer prancing around with that 20 something year old wife? What about Patrik Brazeau getting charged with sexual assault? Now this Mac Harb may owe a quarter of a million dollars to the taxpayers? WTF...

I'm randomly looking at names of current senators on the net, let me pick some random names:

Vernon White - Chief of Police for the Durham Regional police
Asah Seth - A doctor from India who founded some non-profit organization I never heard of
Don Plett - owns a plumbing supply business in Manitoba before starting to campaign for CPC
Terry Mercer - a career administrator/fundaiser for various charities before doing the same for the Liberal party
Joseph Day - a liberal from New Brunswick who did nothing but lose several elections
Nancy Greene - a champion skier

I'm not degrading these people as people, nor am I saying they have no talent, but they do not seem like they have the education, experience and abilities to help manage the affairs of this nation. If someone has some knowledgeable view to share on how these people make our country better and how they earn their keep, I'd love to hear it because I just don't understand.
Don Plett was campaign manager for Vic Toews - for some reason I also thought he was a pig farmer for some reason but I could be wrong about that since I don't find mention of it in a Google search. Don Plett's brother was a QC , big Conservative donor, since deceased. Don Plett is also a founding member of the National Council of the Conservative Party. Don Plett has been very big in Vic Toews' riding for a long time.

In other words, it stinks to high heaven. If you donate enough money to any party, you can buy yourself a place in the Senate. And then apparently, you are set for life.
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:09 PM
 
103 posts, read 138,357 times
Reputation: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnathanc View Post
Exactly! Who are these people? What are their qualifications? We know the Senate has no real power and is a group of crony appointees but what do they really do for the taxpayer?

I have no idea why Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin are senators! What about that old Rod Zimmer prancing around with that 20 something year old wife? What about Patrik Brazeau getting charged with sexual assault? Now this Mac Harb may owe a quarter of a million dollars to the taxpayers? WTF...

I'm randomly looking at names of current senators on the net, let me pick some random names:

Vernon White - Chief of Police for the Durham Regional police
Asah Seth - A doctor from India who founded some non-profit organization I never heard of
Don Plett - owns a plumbing supply business in Manitoba before starting to campaign for CPC
Terry Mercer - a career administrator/fundaiser for various charities before doing the same for the Liberal party
Joseph Day - a liberal from New Brunswick who did nothing but lose several elections
Nancy Greene - a champion skier

I'm not degrading these people as people, nor am I saying they have no talent, but they do not seem like they have the education, experience and abilities to help manage the affairs of this nation. If someone has some knowledgeable view to share on how these people make our country better and how they earn their keep, I'd love to hear it because I just don't understand.
They have the education but should they be in the Senate thats a whole other question.
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:12 PM
 
292 posts, read 402,172 times
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If the Senate were elected, and it were led by the Opposition (with regards to the Parliament), would anything get done?
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,961 posts, read 27,403,107 times
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RCMP launch criminal probe of $90K cheque to Mike Duffy - Politics - CBC News
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,961 posts, read 27,403,107 times
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I have never believed the Senate to be a stellar, exemplary institution. But I never honestly thought things would get this bad.

Smells like a big change of some kind is in the offing for the Senate.
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Alberta, Canada
2,181 posts, read 1,758,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouldy Old Schmo View Post
Canada's version of the House of Lords?
That was the plan. If you look at how the Senate is constituted (see ss. 21-36 of the Constitution), you'll see that the qualifications are designed in such a way that not just anybody could become a Senator: appointees must be at least 30, have so much land, so many assets worth $4000, and suchlike. It was to be a parliamentary body made up of the elite. And of course, unelected, just as the House of Lords was.

Now, of course, those old requirements, consisting as they do of dollar figures from 1867, don't mean much. Most anybody over 30 who owns a house, even if a mortgage is being paid, probably qualifies to be a Senator.

But therein lies the rub: the Senate, Senators, their qualifications, etc., are all established by the Constitution. To abolish the Senate, or to reallocate Senate seats by province/region would require amending the Constitution, and we all know how well that works out (see, e.g. Meech Lake and Charlottetown). I am unsure whether, given the existing wording of the Constitution, an elected Senate could be possible (s. 24 is vague enough that "qualified persons" might be taken to mean "elected by the people of the applicable province" but it could be argued either way).

Still, when Mulcair (for example) says, "We must abolish the Senate," what he's really saying is, "We need to reopen the Constitution and change it to get rid of the sections that establish a Senate." Easy enough to say, but very difficult to do.
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Lethbridge, AB
1,132 posts, read 1,655,465 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevySpoons View Post
Still, when Mulcair (for example) says, "We must abolish the Senate," what he's really saying is, "We need to reopen the Constitution and change it to get rid of the sections that establish a Senate." Easy enough to say, but very difficult to do.
A very difficult task, indeed. But, given public sentiment, I think now is as good a time as any to try.
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:34 PM
 
1,218 posts, read 2,119,243 times
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Public sentiment against the Senate feels like a relatively recent phenomenon and is creeping up only because the corruption & ineptitude cannot be kept out of the public's scrutiny for so long. When the Liberals and Conservatives having the most influence in the Senate, they have no incentive to change the system and they will do their best to sweep it under the rug from the public to avoid reform for as long as possible. For goodness sake, we just had what sounds like a pretty massive toxic waste spill from the oil sands in Alberta that happened on June 1st and was not reported until very recently, which is again very suspect behaviour by our government (Toxic waste spill in northern Alberta biggest of recent disasters in North America - The Globe and Mail). If abolishing/reforming the Senate requires amending the Constitution then that's very sad news because that's just another huge mountain to climb, assuming there was the "will" to climb to begin with.

Last edited by johnathanc; 06-13-2013 at 04:03 PM..
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Old 06-14-2013, 01:01 AM
 
Location: Alberta, Canada
2,181 posts, read 1,758,415 times
Reputation: 2664
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubblejumper View Post
A very difficult task, indeed. But, given public sentiment, I think now is as good a time as any to try.
But "public sentiment" doesn't mean much in the long run. I remember the GST debate, in the late 1980s and early 90s--public sentiment was against the tax, to the tune of (if I recall correctly 86% of Canadians) who did not want it. But still, it passed the Commons (due to the Tory majority), and the Senate (due to Mulroney invoking Constitution s. 26, where he could stack the Senate with Tory supporters).

Understand, I'm not disagreeing with you--I'm just saying that "public sentiment" may not be as powerful as you may hope. Especially given that abolishing the Senate requires re-opening the Constitution for amendment. If all Canadians--especially those who are contributing comments to the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, and other influential Canadian news sources--knew that we must have yet another constitutional conference over the abolition of the Senate, how many do you suppose would say, "Go for it?"

My guess is, "not many." If we're re-opening the constitution, then it is likely that, in addition to Senate reform ....

-- Mr. Mulcair would look to his electorate and try to extract provisions specific to Quebec (as in, a veto, as was tried in both Meech Lake and Charlottetown).

-- Christy Clark of BC and Lynn Redford of Alberta would wrangle over oil pipeline rights--resources are provincial, though resource initiatives (such as pipelines) that cross provincial boundaries are a federal responsibility under the constitution.

-- Newfoundland, which with its oil, is now a "have" province, may look for more representation in the Senate.

-- For that matter, so may Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and BC. Why are these provinces lumped as one "region" for Senatorial purposes, when Ontario and Quebec are not? (A common question here in western Canada--and populations notwithstanding, you cannot tell (for example) Albertans that they are somehow less than Ontarians unless you want to start a civil war.)

In short, we could re-open the constitution and abolish the Senate. But I would suggest that each and every province would be looking to promote its own interests in any constitutional change, lumped in with the abolition of the Senate. The results may not be pretty.

Perhaps the best solution right now is for the Commons to reform the Senate within the bounds of the current constitution. For example, we might be able to elect senators under s. 24, as I suggested above. Or, there may be other solutions that present themselves and that are acceptable to Canadians. And we can plan for constitutional change later. Not put it off, but plan to change in an orderly fashion, with reasoned debate from interested parties. Which would include, "public sentiment."
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