Monday, May 30, 2011

Once More With Senate Reform

They're at it again, so I will say it again:

1) All I've heard suggests that the provinces will be asked elect a Senate candidate who the PM promises to then appoint. In other words, the actual appointment will still be in the hands of the PM, who the provinces (and candidates) are being asked to trust.  But I personally would not trust PM Harper to appoint a Senator whose views do not coincide with his own.  As a practical matter, I think any potential Senate candidate with LPoC or NDP leanings would be disinclined to spend any money on a campaign where their appointment is not assured even should they win.  But if the end result is to stuff the Senate with Torys, why not just stuff the Senate with Torys?  Why the elaborate charade?

2)  Any attempt to introduce term-limits for Senators will have to overcome opposition from the five Tory Senators who have come out against the idea, and any others who have not yet spoken up.  Its hardly just the Libs in the upper-chamber who have opposed the idea.


Skinny Dipper said...

Who is going to pay for the costly Senate elections? The provinces? Heck, the Conservatives complained about the $300-$400 million House of Commons election.

Also, would Harper be willing to recommend the appointment of a perceived anti-Semitic radical would may be a member of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid should that candidate win? Or will Harper recommend the appointment of a losing Conservative candidate? When would the recommendation take place? A few days after a Senate election? A few weeks, months, years, or never?

ridenrain said...

Which province would be picking a "Queers Against Israeli Apartheid candidate"?

Tof KW said...

Unlike ridofbrain's stupidity, here's a real question that needs to be answered.

Say the upper chamber becomes fully elected (therefore becoming legitimate) are they now allowed to defeat government bills and introduce their own legislation?

Are the provinces fine with their powers being eroded be a newly empowered senate?

Looking forward to the constitutional challenges.

MgS said...

Harper's a totalitarian - he's only interested in the appearance of democracy.

The charade will keep most voters buffaloed and allow him to consolidate his chokehold on power.

Make no mistake about it - I don't expect anything from Harper outside of every effort in the world to turn Canada into a one-party state.

Tof KW said...

That's kind of what I'm getting at MgS, Harper's whole senate reform plan is a sham to keep the rubes thinking that he's doing something about it.

This will most certainly be deemed as violating the constitution, and will end in a court challenge by the provinces.

He doesn't have the Liberal senators in his way now, but this plan will still surely get mired.

If Harper was really serious about senate reform, he would have to re-open the constitution ...which is what the Liberals have been arguing all along.

In the meanwhile Harper will just blame someone else for stalling senate reform, and he'll keep appointing his hacks and bagmen to the upper chamber for the next 4 years.

Tof KW said...

OK I did not read the full first post by Skinny Dipper.

So ridenrain, I offer a full apology for calling your question stupid. Skinny Dipper was asking for it by providing a silly example.

Here is a more likely scenario, Quebec elects Gilles Duceppe to the senate (or any other high-profile sovereigntist). So what does Harper do (or any future PM) when la belle elects a separatist? You bet he'll just appoint his own choice.

Another reason why Harper needs to do this properly if he is really serious about senate reform. Reopen the constitution Sweaterboy - It’s legacy time!

BigRed said...

Well, let's not take the argument to extremes, but make it this. NDP vs. Con candidates, the NDP comes out and clearly says s/he will vote down all Con govt bills. They win the vote in a part of the country the Cons aren't competitive in. What happens?

This is not only important for us to know, but it's important for Harper. If he didn't appoint, he would lose all credibility to try and make further reforms and the court challenges would ruin the legislation. It would be the end of his Senate gerrymandering.

Skinny Dipper said...

My point with the example was to draw attention that a prime minister may wish not to recommend the appointment of an "elected" Senate candidate if that person is perceived to be extreme by the prime minister's definition. Should the prime minister not appoint a Quebec separatist? Should he not appoint someone who may or may not be against Israel? Also, the PM would still control the timing of an "elected" appointment to the Senate. Could the PM delay an appointment of an opposition senator because that may tip the balance of power against the PM?

sharonapple88 said...

Another reason why Harper needs to do this properly if he is really serious about senate reform. Reopen the constitution Sweaterboy - It’s legacy time!

It looks like this is what Quebec is pushing Ottawa to do. They're going to challenge Harper's Senate Reform Agenda in the courts. They want a Constitutional amendment.

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