Thursday, July 21, 2011

Elected Senate - Why Can't We Have A Constitutional Amendment After All?

Really, with 72% support, why can't we? I can understand why Harper wanted to circumvent the need for a constitutional amendment back when he had a minority government. But now, once he finally have a majority - why would he want to settle for half-measures?

And, if we look at bill C-7, it contains nothing but half-measures. Even when it comes to the term limits - the 9-year limit was chosen, so that it would be more than 2 full Parliamentary terms; so that a 2-term Prime Minister doesn't get to reappoint every single Senator for those provinces that choose to pass on the opportunity to hold Senate elections. As for the proposed model, which basically replicates the Alberta framework for the Senate nominee elections, it's great as a short-term solution, but it's still just that - a short-term solution. For a permanent solution, there are much better options than irregular general ticket elections, using provincial political affiliation to elect Federal Senate nominees whose appointment could be up to 6 years in the future...

So the Conservatives better not be afraid of going for a full-scale constitutional amendment. First of all because, as we've seen in the past five years, no matter whether or not the proposal actually requires constitutional changes, the Liberals will challenge it anyway. Well if they want a constitutional amendment so badly - why can't Harper let them have one? Especially now, when the Conservatives finally have a majority, which not only gives them all the votes they need, but also all the time they need (through the duration of this Parliament of course) to pass the Senate reform bill. Not to mention that when over 70% of Canadians believe that the future of the Senate should be decided in a nationwide referendum - that too, must be respected.

And another thing - a constitutional amendment and a nationwide referendum will allow Canada to address other questions related to the Senate reform. The question on the "second E" - whether or not there should be equal number of Senators for each province, could be placed on the same ballot. Along with the question whether or not the term of the current Senators should end as soon as the next election is called.

1 comment:

Don said...

I have looked at both parliamentary committees and senate committees. The Parliamentary committees that are made up of elected politicians spend most of their time making negative comments about the other party. Senators are polite, ask intelligent questions and appear serious about finding solutions to the nations problems. I do not understand why everyone complains about the senate.