Monday, November 29, 2010

Most Canadians Still Want Elected Senate

According to the recent Angus-Reid poll, almost 70% of Canadians want directly elected Senate:
Across the country, three-in-five respondents (63%) support holding a nationwide referendum to decide the future of the Senate of Canada, including three-in-four Albertans (74%).

A sizeable majority of Canadians (63%) believe Canadian senators should be limited to eight-year terms. About a third of respondents (35%) endorse the idea of creating a panel distinguished Canadians to choose senators, instead of the Prime Minister. Three-in-ten Canadians (30%) are ready to abolish the Senate of Canada altogether, including 43 per cent of Quebecers.

However, the most popular idea continues to be allowing Canadians to directly elect their senators. Two thirds of respondents (69%) would like to see this happen, including 78 per cent of British Columbians.
Well, today is the day when the Conservatives have finally caught up with the opposition in the Red Chamber. With the retirement of Peter A Stollery, it's now 52:52 - enough to defeat a bill, but not enough to pass it. But we have another retirement just a week from now, which will reduce the opposition ranks to 51. Can we look forward for bill S-8, the one that establishes a framework for electing Senate nominees, to move beyond the second reading? After all, there is already a similar law on the books in two provinces (Alberta and Saskatchewan,) all what's needed is to make these elections binding, so that other provinces would be encouraged to follow suit.

And another thing: according to the same poll, three-in-five Canadians (61%) claim Harper is being hypocritical because he has appointed senators despite his long-standing opposition to the Senate in its current form. That only shows that the Conservative party has a lousy PR team, that can't even remind the public, what party it was that actually tried to address the issue and which political parties did everything in their power to torpedo every single attempt to legislate Senate elections or term limits.

For years, the opposition kept demanding appointed Senators - by introducing a Senate bill of their own, by appealing directly to the Governor General and even by threatened a constitutional challenge should the Senate elections bill pass... And now they blame Harper?! Well, I guess it's time for Harper to show them who is a hypocrite here.

P.S. What would an elected Senate look like? - an article by √Čric Grenier, the author of ThreeHundredEight blog. The online poll on the same page shows that 75% of the voters support elected Senate. But tell that to the opposition parties that keep blocking Senate reform - including the term limits...

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