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Reform the House, not the Senate

I’m coming out to comment a bit earlier then I thought on political issues. What has caught my eye is Harper’s proposed bill to sorta elect Senators, but not really.

This is nothing more then an attempt to show the old Reform base of Preston Manning who advocated the Triple-E Senate that they are following through with their commitments to do electoral reform, as well as try to beat the Liberals over the head with it. Problem is of course that its not just the Liberals who are opposed to this; Ontario and Quebec oppose this measure as well and either want the Senate properly reformed, or abolished, something that requires the Constitution to be re-opened; something Harper will never do.

If Harper was serious about electoral reforms, he has the perfect opportunity to do so in the House – which doesn’t need to have the Constitution re-opened to do it. There are many different models of Proportional Representation that can be used to make the House more representative then it currently is (I have my favourite model, which I wont get into with this post). Of course, Harper won’t do this either, because this is all just pre-election posturing on his part. I’d love to see Dion and the Liberals actually counter-propose (through a private-members bill) a proposal to bring some some form of electoral change to the House, and then we’d see how serious Harper and company are at being electoral reformers.

Quite frankly, I don’t think Senate Reform or Senate half-reform is exactly one of the burning issues of our time for Canadians… so if Harper thinks this is the issue thats going to stop his party’s post-Liberal Convention slide in the polls, I believe he’s going to be sorely disappointed.


11 comments to Reform the House, not the Senate

  • Charlie Barnard

    Maybe the senate could use some reform, but I strongly disagree with the idea of a triple E senate. Having a body that is unelected is beneficial in the sense that they can think about what’s best for Canada (which isn’t neseccarily what Canadian’s want). MPs are subject to voters, which creates a lot of political pandering. Stephen Harper’s nation motion is a good example of this. In fact, pretty much everything Mr. Harper does is a good example of this. The senate does a lot of great work that they simply would not be able to do if they were subject to voters. I encourage anyone who disagrees to do some research, because I highly doubt that most of the triple E crowd actually has any idea what the senate does.

  • Darrell

    “I am trying to think of a Liberal campaign slogan on senate reform for the next election.”

    – How about, a vote for Harper is a vote for 24 newly ‘democratically elected’ seperatist Senators. Think about it.

  • I don’t buy the “another twelve years” argument because, well, let’s be honest *not* reforming the Senate is nothing new. It’s been pretty much exactly the same for 140 years – lack of Senate reform is not a Liberal monopoly.

    Let’s do something, but let’s do it right; amend the Constitution.

  • Do you think that some reform is better than no reform when it comes to the Senate? Or do you want to go another twelve years without doing anything on this file?

  • I’m a Liberal, but at the same time I think that Senate reform is a good idea. I don’t agree with the process by which Harper is going about it, and a firmly agree that other matters are far more important (wait times, anyone?).

    The best first step I think should be taken on this matter is a polling of the people of the nation. If this is something that we’re going to be expected to vote on in the future, why don’t we vote on it now. Hold a referendum of the country, right now, seeking a mandate from the people to pursue Senate reform. If the majority of the country actually feels it is an important enough issue, then let’s do it right, let’s amend the Constitution.

  • When was the reforming of the Senate ever a major issue Aaron, other then to the EEE crowd out in Alberta? Answer: It hasnt been til now.. when Harper has decided he’s going to try and use it as the wedge issue to re-gain his flagging government’s fortunes. He does have you Blogging Tories trained well however on talking points. As soon as its brought up, all of a sudden the issue – which never got MENTIONED over on your side of the aisle til that speech – is the must-do issue of Canada’s history.

    Like I said Aaron… if he had proposed some reforms to the voting setup in the House, I’d have given him some credit.. but not with this little stunt.

  • Why are the two necessarily connected? I think that both pro and anti-PR people can agree that the Senate needs reform.

    I’m wondering: Do you approve of the last Liberal government doing absolutely nothing to reform the Senate over the course of twelve years? Do you not think it’s slightly hypocritical to accuse Harper of not “properly” reforming the Senate when the Liberals failed to address the issue in any way whatsoever?

  • Charlie Barnard

    The Conservatives have had their brain banks working on different senate proposals for a decade now.

    And this is what they came up with? What a bunch of intellectuals those guys are hey?

  • The only problem I’d find with setting up a vote on PR is that it would be ill-informed. A research group would be necessary to create different models that Canada would work under, how they would work, and what not. The Conservatives have had their brain banks working on different senate proposals for a decade now.

  • I think Harper can be serious about Senate reform and not be serious about electoral reform full scale. You’re obfuscating here a bit, since the two aren’t necessarily connected. And you’re right, I don’t think it’s a burning issue to Canadians, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.

    By the way, congrats on the new site. And the title is particularly clever.

  • […] I am trying to think of a Liberal campaign slogan on senate reform for the next election. “Vote Dion and he will take positive steps properly reform the Senate sometime within the twelve years that we had last time.” […]

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