Why the NDP is Right to Want to Abolish the Senate

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JKR

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:

Requiring that Senators be approved of by at least two political parties that represent at least 2/3rds of the voters in the previous election would produce a relatively non-partisan Senate that most Canadians could support.

I agree especially if the composition used a formula to make better representation than what naturally occurs through the party process. I think it is important that all Senators become independents and that there be no caucuses meanign no government or opposition representatives officially.

If both sides of the House of Commons had to agree to the selection of senators, the Senate would automatically be dominated by non-partisan independents. In the current Parliament a supermajority requirement to select new Senators would require both the Conservatives and NDP to select compromise candidates as senators. It's hard to envision how such compromise candidates could sit in party caucuses.

Fidel

Alright-alright it`s settled. We now agree that the only alternative to abolishment is eradication.

All those in favor say aye.

Ippurigakko

There is poll at bottom left - http://ca.yahoo.com/

Abolish - 66%
Reform - 30%
nothing keep it - 5%

total 20,300 votes

 

so NDP wants abolish, Green wants reforms it, and Liberal nothing but, leave it the way it is.

Brachina

Ippurigakko wrote:

There is poll at bottom left - http://ca.yahoo.com/

Abolish - 66%
Reform - 30%
nothing keep it - 5%

total 20,300 votes

 

so NDP wants abolish, Green wants reforms it, and Liberal nothing but, leave it the way it is.

 

 What that poll doesn't show is that most reformers will pick abolishing the Senate over the status quo, so a referendum on the Senate could be evennhigher as long reform is left off the ballot.

janfromthebruce

Quebecers are offended that an unelected, unethical and unaccountable Senate is in any way an "advantage" for anyone, especially on the heels of the Mike Duffy Scandal which is going on in parallel with the Charbonneau Commission whereby Quebecers hear on a daily basis a steady stream of corrupt civil servants and politicians being implicated in collusion and corruption schemes. Having a greater number of these senators, whether they be party hacks, failed candidates or fundraising bagmen, is to no one's advantage. To suggest that Quebecers are happy with these twits is insulting.

If Justin Trudeau isn't reading off a script prepared for him, he is likely to implode with sheer idiocy and force his Liberal handlers to go into damage control.

Here is another splendid display of imbecility by the Liberal Leader:

We have 24 senators from Quebec and there are just six from Alberta and British Columbia. It’s to our advantage. To want to abolish it is demagoguery. We’ll have to improve it.

It's difficult to offend everyone so I have to give credit where credit is due: Justin Trudeau CAN united the country by having everyone dismayed at the feeble-mindedness of Justin Trudeau.

So abolish is the way to go because Trudeau is all about elites running the ship and completely is unrepresentative of Quebec's interests beyond the small elite social, political, and economic circle he swims in.

http://leftistjab.blogspot.ca/2013/05/this-justin-trudeau-statement-manages.html?m=1

 

 

Brachina

janfromthebruce wrote:

Quebecers are offended that an unelected, unethical and unaccountable Senate is in any way an "advantage" for anyone, especially on the heels of the Mike Duffy Scandal which is going on in parallel with the Charbonneau Commission whereby Quebecers hear on a daily basis a steady stream of corrupt civil servants and politicians being implicated in collusion and corruption schemes. Having a greater number of these senators, whether they be party hacks, failed candidates or fundraising bagmen, is to no one's advantage. To suggest that Quebecers are happy with these twits is insulting.

If Justin Trudeau isn't reading off a script prepared for him, he is likely to implode with sheer idiocy and force his Liberal handlers to go into damage control.

Here is another splendid display of imbecility by the Liberal Leader:

We have 24 senators from Quebec and there are just six from Alberta and British Columbia. It’s to our advantage. To want to abolish it is demagoguery. We’ll have to improve it.

It's difficult to offend everyone so I have to give credit where credit is due: Justin Trudeau CAN united the country by having everyone dismayed at the feeble-mindedness of Justin Trudeau.

So abolish is the way to go because Trudeau is all about elites running the ship and completely is unrepresentative of Quebec's interests beyond the small elite social, political, and economic circle he swims in.

http://leftistjab.blogspot.ca/2013/05/this-justin-trudeau-statement-manages.html?m=1

 

 

Ah here is where you cross posted it. Cool.

Jab really does make some good points.

Brachina
Sean in Ottawa

Brachina wrote:

Ippurigakko wrote:

There is poll at bottom left - http://ca.yahoo.com/

Abolish - 66%
Reform - 30%
nothing keep it - 5%

total 20,300 votes

 

so NDP wants abolish, Green wants reforms it, and Liberal nothing but, leave it the way it is.

 

 What that poll doesn't show is that most reformers will pick abolishing the Senate over the status quo, so a referendum on the Senate could be evennhigher as long reform is left off the ballot.

That would be true. I'd like to reform it and make it useful but would choose abolition over the status quo.

jerrym

Quote:

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who has surged into first place in opinion polls, was hammered by opponents Sunday for arguing Canada should keep the Senate because it gives Quebec a big advantage over B.C. and Alberta.

"We have 24 senators from Quebec and there are just six from Alberta and six from British Columbia. That's to our advantage," Trudeau said in response to the new NDP push to have the scandal-plagued $91.5-million-a-year upper chamber abolished. 'To want to abolish it, that's demagogy. It has to be improved." 

Critics accused Trudeau of pitting region against region. But Trudeau, in an interview with The Vancouver Sun late Sunday, said it was the Conservatives that were harming western interests by pushing for Senate reforms that merely allow for election of senators.

"Justin Trudeau is tone deaf to western Canadians," Heritage Minister James Moore, B.C.'s senior minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, told The Sun in a statement. "This isn't the first time he has insulted the West, it won't be the last."

NDP House leader Nathan Cullen said Trudeau's comments will get a "terrible" reception in the West.

"Mr. Trudeau has made so much about being a unifying figure, so to defend something so indefensible as the Senate under the guise that 'it's better for the place where I live' speaks to the worst motivations," said Cullen, MP for the northwestern B.C. riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley. "That's not unifying. That's pitting one (region) against another." ...

Quebec's 24 seats in the Senate represent a proportion of the upper chamber seats in line with the province's share of the national population. Atlantic Canada, however, has 30 of the 105 seats despite having just seven per cent of the population.

http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Trudeau+blasted+defending+embattled+sen...

Although I admit that than the abolition of the Senate will be a difficult task, the above article is an example of why I think any type of reform option is even much less likely to succeed. With the Atlantic provinces having 30 seats but only 7% of Canada's population, there is no incentive for them to give up the power this would give them in any form of an effective Senate. They would justifably be concerned that their long-term lower standard of living would be overlooked in a more equally representative and effective system on issues that have a major impact on the region, such as equalization payments. On the other hand, BC and Alberta have only six senate seats each, despite their much larger populations. They therefore want more seats to reflect their population size, as well as their economic importance. Quebec would see any decrease in its 24 Senators as another decrease in the influence of the French fact, as mentioned by Trudeau above. Politicians who propose changes to the current system are almost certain to be attacked by politicians from other regions, interest groups and parties as being unfair to their region or interest group. 

Picking Senators by means of some panel of non-partisan experts, no matter how composed, will result in a Senate that reflects the biases of those on the panels and the groups that they represent. Those Senators selected by these panels will reflect the elites of these interest groups and will become a new elite if they are not already. Their interests often are not in line with its rank and file members and often in conflict with the interests of other groups. 

Thus, every reform will engender new problems while the creation of an effective, elected Senate is more than likely to lead to legislative paralysis as has occurred in the US. If the Senate consists of appointed representatives are to be anything more than figureheads, then one is violating the principle on which democracy is built. 

The poll showing 66% wanting abolition of the Senate versus 30% wanting reform and 5% wanting the status quo shows that most Canadians see this institution as a useless anachronism deserving to die. Trying to reform it would be extremely difficult even with majority support from the population. Without such support, a new Senate will be simply seen as the imposition of an unwanted structure by whatever elite ends up imposing it. That's why abolition is the only reform that has a chance of working. 

 

 

Brachina

jerrym wrote:

Quote:

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who has surged into first place in opinion polls, was hammered by opponents Sunday for arguing Canada should keep the Senate because it gives Quebec a big advantage over B.C. and Alberta.

"We have 24 senators from Quebec and there are just six from Alberta and six from British Columbia. That's to our advantage," Trudeau said in response to the new NDP push to have the scandal-plagued $91.5-million-a-year upper chamber abolished. 'To want to abolish it, that's demagogy. It has to be improved." 

Critics accused Trudeau of pitting region against region. But Trudeau, in an interview with The Vancouver Sun late Sunday, said it was the Conservatives that were harming western interests by pushing for Senate reforms that merely allow for election of senators.

"Justin Trudeau is tone deaf to western Canadians," Heritage Minister James Moore, B.C.'s senior minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, told The Sun in a statement. "This isn't the first time he has insulted the West, it won't be the last."

NDP House leader Nathan Cullen said Trudeau's comments will get a "terrible" reception in the West.

"Mr. Trudeau has made so much about being a unifying figure, so to defend something so indefensible as the Senate under the guise that 'it's better for the place where I live' speaks to the worst motivations," said Cullen, MP for the northwestern B.C. riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley. "That's not unifying. That's pitting one (region) against another." ...

Quebec's 24 seats in the Senate represent a proportion of the upper chamber seats in line with the province's share of the national population. Atlantic Canada, however, has 30 of the 105 seats despite having just seven per cent of the population.

http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Trudeau+blasted+defending+embattled+sen...

Although I admit that than the abolition of the Senate will be a difficult task, the above article is an example of why I think any type of reform option is even much less likely to succeed. With the Atlantic provinces having 30 seats but only 7% of Canada's population, there is no incentive for them to give up the power this would give them in any form of an effective Senate. They would justifably be concerned that their long-term lower standard of living would be overlooked in a more equally representative and effective system on issues that have a major impact on the region, such as equalization payments. On the other hand, BC and Alberta have only six senate seats each, despite their much larger populations. They therefore want more seats to reflect their population size, as well as their economic importance. Quebec would see any decrease in its 24 Senators as another decrease in the influence of the French fact, as mentioned by Trudeau above. Politicians who propose changes to the current system are almost certain to be attacked by politicians from other regions, interest groups and parties as being unfair to their region or interest group. 

Picking Senators by means of some panel of non-partisan experts, no matter how composed, will result in a Senate that reflects the biases of those on the panels and the groups that they represent. Those Senators selected by these panels will reflect the elites of these interest groups and will become a new elite if they are not already. Their interests often are not in line with its rank and file members and often in conflict with the interests of other groups. 

Thus, every reform will engender new problems while the creation of an effective, elected Senate is more than likely to lead to legislative paralysis as has occurred in the US. If the Senate consists of appointed representatives are to be anything more than figureheads, then one is violating the principle on which democracy is built. 

The poll showing 66% wanting abolition of the Senate versus 30% wanting reform and 5% wanting the status quo shows that most Canadians see this institution as a useless anachronism deserving to die. Trying to reform it would be extremely difficult even with majority support from the population. Without such support, a new Senate will be simply seen as the imposition of an unwanted structure by whatever elite ends up imposing it. That's why abolition is the only reform that has a chance of working. 

 

 

 

+1,000,000,000,000

JKR

The possibilty of abolishing the Senate will come into proper focus after the Supreme Court comes down with its decision regarding how many provinces are required to approve abolishing the Senate. If the Supreme Court decides that seven provinces are required for abolition, it will be difficult to abolish the Senate but if its decided that all ten are required it will be almost impossible as PEI alone could block abolition.

In any case, Senate reform that does not require provincial approval will continue to be the path of least resistance.

NorthReport

What could clinch it for the abolitionists is if Harper puts Rob Ford in the Senate. Laughing

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

jerrym wrote:

The poll showing 66% wanting abolition of the Senate versus 30% wanting reform and 5% wanting the status quo shows that most Canadians see this institution as a useless anachronism deserving to die. Trying to reform it would be extremely difficult even with majority support from the population. Without such support, a new Senate will be simply seen as the imposition of an unwanted structure by whatever elite ends up imposing it. That's why abolition is the only reform that has a chance of working. 

If babble had a "like" button, I would just have pressed it, because I have nothing to add to this powerful argument.

 

JKR

Most Canadians want Duffy and Wallin to resign from the Senate over spending scandals: new poll

Quote:

More than one third want to abolish the Senate. An additional 37% called for the Senate to become an elected body. Less than 10% felt it best to leave the Senate as is.

The latest results are consistent with an earlier Forum poll on the Senate, which was conducted before the scandal gained traction. Those February results also show the majority split between abolition and reform.

“The problem with the Senate has been that’s it’s not accountable and now look what’s happened,” Mr. Bozinoff said. “If the Senate was abolished, you wouldn’t have this problem. And if they were elected you’d have a mechanism to fix this problem.”

The telephone poll questioned 1,779 randomly selected Canadians, age 18 or older, between May 21 and 22. It is considered accurate +/-2%, 19 times out of 20.

If the Supreme Court decides that significant change to the Senate requires cooperation between the federal government and provinces, in light of the political heat being caused by all these Senate scandals, the feds and provinces will have to get together and decide between Senate reform or outright abolition. Harper despises cooperating with the provinces but he'll likely be willing to go ahead with it to save his political hide.

janfromthebruce

Brachina wrote:

 

Ah here is where you cross posted it. Cool. Jab really does make some good points.

yes, I forgot in my haste to cross post with a link. Sorry about that buddy! I had to go to work!

Brachina

No prob.

knownothing knownothing's picture
janfromthebruce

As to the fact that the constitution in unamendable - it's been amended 10X since Meech.

janfromthebruce

Erin Weir ‏@Erin_Weir 12h

@bradlavigne made a good point on tonight’s #PnP: The Senate was established to represent the rich against the rest of us. #abolishthesenate

No wonder Trudeau wants to keep it around as he of the millionaire club

Brachina

janfromthebruce wrote:

Erin Weir ‏@Erin_Weir 12h

@bradlavigne made a good point on tonight’s #PnP: The Senate was established to represent the rich against the rest of us. #abolishthesenate

No wonder Trudeau wants to keep it around as he of the millionaire club

Really good points Jan.

Abolishing the Senate should be as easy as using the amending formula as layed out in S. 44 of the constitution. People are trying to make it harder and scarer then it really is.

As for Quebec signing the constitution, again not that hsrd as any deal needs only be passed by Parliament and the legislature in question.

I can't believe I was stupid enough to listen to the Pundits without actually reading the amending forumla for myself.

Bacchus

JKR wrote:

Most Canadians want Duffy and Wallin to resign from the Senate over spending scandals: new poll

Quote:

More than one third want to abolish the Senate. An additional 37% called for the Senate to become an elected body. Less than 10% felt it best to leave the Senate as is.

The latest results are consistent with an earlier Forum poll on the Senate, which was conducted before the scandal gained traction. Those February results also show the majority split between abolition and reform.

“The problem with the Senate has been that’s it’s not accountable and now look what’s happened,” Mr. Bozinoff said. “If the Senate was abolished, you wouldn’t have this problem. And if they were elected you’d have a mechanism to fix this problem.”

The telephone poll questioned 1,779 randomly selected Canadians, age 18 or older, between May 21 and 22. It is considered accurate +/-2%, 19 times out of 20.

If the Supreme Court decides that significant change to the Senate requires cooperation between the federal government and provinces, in light of the political heat being caused by all these Senate scandals, the feds and provinces will have to get together and decide between Senate reform or outright abolition. Harper despises cooperating with the provinces but he'll likely be willing to go ahead with it to save his political hide.

 

This would be one case in which he would love to cooperate with the provinces. Then he could sit back and let them bicker and fight and just wring his hands and put on a sad face while collecting no blame

Bacchus

janfromthebruce wrote:

As to the fact that the constitution in unamendable - it's been amended 10X since Meech.

If a constitutional amendment only affects one province, however, only the assent of Parliament and of that province's legislature is required. Seven of the ten amendments passed so far have been of this nature, with four passed by and for Newfoundland and Labrador, one passed for New Brunswick, one for Prince Edward Island, and one for Quebec. This formula is contained in section 43 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Otherwise its 7 provinces with at least 50% of the population and passing in the House and Senate too.

janfromthebruce

No problem. And beyond the Quebec assembly, do you really think that if there was a referendum that Quebecors would not vote or vote for keeping the Senate? This is a province that would be wholly in support of getting rid of the Senate, the institutional establishment of the rich.

Bacchus

I think it would be a tossup really depending on how a individual sees the Senate for Quebecs interest (ala justin).  I dont think it would be hard to find 4 provinces to say no tho, which kills the deal regardless of the population requirement (and a certainly if On/Qc dont agree )

Brachina

 I say it again, using the amendment formula in S. 44 YOU DON'T NEED PROVINCIAL SUPPORT. You don't need a referundum either.

 

 And dollars to donuts this is what the Supemre court will say as well.

Bacchus

Theres no way they would use S.44 for this, minor changes maybe but not abolishing or major reform. They would go to the 7 +50% formula

Bacchus

In fact the two times its been used it was for minor changes and the adding of nunvut representation. And even then there were arguments about the constiution amendment formula over those changes which all involved relatively agreed on

Bacchus

There are some parts of the Constitution that can only be modified by a unanimous vote of all the provinces plus the two Houses of Parliament, however. This formula is contained in section 41 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and is known as the "unanimity formula." It is reserve for the following matters:

(a) the office of the Queen, the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governor of a province;
(b) the right of a province to a number of members in the House of Commons not less than the number of Senators by which the province is entitled to be represented at the time the Constitution Act, 1982 came into force;
(c) subject to section 43, the use of the English or the French language;
(d) the composition of the Supreme Court of Canada; and
(e) changing the amendment procedure itself.
Given that abolishing the senate would change the ratio of members in the Commons to that of the Senate, its possible that the Supreme Court would rule that the unanimity formula should rule

 

Bacchus

I would so like to see PR and then there will never be a majority again for any party

Fidel

Dubya, Obama and fascists have pretty much destroyed the USSA's constitutional democracy by comparison.

If the NDP is able to win a phoney-baloney majority similarly, I don't see why a strong federal government could not create social democracy in Canada.

The only thing to fear is fear itself.

Jack Layton wrote:
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.”

Our worst fear is their only hope. And their worst fear is our only hope.

Brachina

I guesd Baccus we'll find out which of us is right.

Nothing in S. 44 says it can only be used on minor changes and if the Senate stops existing, it has no ratio to change.

Fidel

Bacchus wrote:

I would so like to see PR and then there will never be a majority again for any party

Only fascists fear democracy. In fact, they loathe it.

You and I and all our brothers and sisters shall fear nothing, Bacchus, and especially not a true constitutional democracy of, by and for the people. 

No fear!

Brachina

We all support PR, I know of no one on rabble who opposes it.

Brachina

 And techniquely you can get a majority in PR if you get a majority of the vote. Its just very unlikely in this period of Canadian history.

Fidel

Yes it would require a wildly popular populist government not taking voters for granted to win true majorities and maintain them over the course more than two terms in a row. Smile

I think North America is the last real bastion of political conservatism in the world as well as being among the last of the developed world to resist modern voting.

Half a dozen or so world empires disappeared into the ether last century. One more to go.

janfromthebruce

In Ontario, the Liberal govt under McGuinty stated they supported abolishment of the senate.

knownothing knownothing's picture
Ippurigakko

Stephen post his fb

//ow.ly/lsFKz

socialdemocrati...

One word: referendum.

Now is the time to push for abolition. The senate is a tool ... for what? Obstruction? Overpaid second opinions? Employment insurance for fired politicians?

The amending formula is a challenge, but completely surmountable. Let's see how many premiers want to defend the senate after the public votes to get rid of it.

A national referendum should be high on the agenda.

JKR

Fate of the Senate Poll - CTV News - Ipsos Reid

Quote:

Meanwhile, when asked about the fate of the Senate:

  • 43 per cent said it should “be done away with completely,” up seven points from February.
  • 45 per cent said it should “be reformed to make it, for example, an elected body,” up three points.
  • 13 per cent said the senate should be “kept as is,” down nine points.

NorthReport

New Democrats need to continue to pound away with their clear, precise and simple message: "Abolish the CORRUPT Senate".

And voters are already starting to catch the wave. Smile

mark_alfred

Interesting results in the CTV poll (post 140).  There was a Toronto Sun poll that showed people overwhelmingly in favour of abolishing it.  Anyway, seems the wish to abolish is certainly rising.

socialdemocrati...

There's momentum behind abolition. The key is to make sure that momentum doesn't accumulate behind reform, because the Conservatives will use that as a way to entrench a new balance of power.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Same reading of any polling should apply: abolition side is more motivated to be polled so may be exaggerated in results.

socialdemocrati...

Point well taken!

jerrym

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Same reading of any polling should apply: abolition side is more motivated to be polled so may be exaggerated in results.

The abolition side, at least at the starting line, is likely going to be more motivated to vote in a senate referendum. 

jerrym

jerrym wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Same reading of any polling should apply: abolition side is more motivated to be polled so may be exaggerated in results.

The abolition side, at least at the starting line, is likely going to be more motivated to vote in a senate referendum. You can ask BC voters how important that is. 

Sean in Ottawa

I doubt that difference will be much.

People tend to vote in fairly high numbers. Polling is more subject to motivation and enthusiasm Millions take their civic duty seriously. Many of those people tend to be more conservative (small c) about institutions than those who are less likely to vote. I suspect that given the political realities any referendum on this topic would be quite representative of what people are thinking and that is a good thing. It is unlikely that such a vote would be held independently of an election due to cost. That would mean we would likely have a 60% or so turnout.

I would predict that current polls would be fairly meaningless on this score. There will be a campaign to show what the senate does or can do, what use it is and why it should be kept. I cannot predict how successful that would be. I am not endorsing such a campaign either as while I like the idea of reform I prefer abolition to the status quo.

Brachina

I don't need a poll to know that people want the Senate gone, never met a person who didn't hate the senate.

trotwood73

Don Martin, of CTV’s Power Play has been getting very tough on this issue for the past two Fridays.

Last Friday, he did a tough editorial in his Final Word segment called “The road to the Senate is paved with warped intentions

Then just yesterday, he really ripped into his former colleague Mike Duffy (watch on youtube).

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