COLUMN: Solve this dilemma through referendum

Like my garage, the Canadian Senate is in dire need of a thorough cleansing...

Like my garage, the Canadian Senate is in dire need of a thorough cleansing. The difference being, once cleaned, my garage can be useful. The senate, on the other hand, in its current configuration will remain purposeless, save providing a financial haven for political hacks.

What is even more compelling, from a political point of view, is that what is going on in that house of appointed persons of pernicious proclivity threatens to bring down a government.

Yay, say some who are disinclined to support conservatism. However, the insidious nature of an appointed senate is that no matter which party is in power in the House of Commons, it can and likely will be held to ransom by the shenanigans of those who inhabit the upper house.

An appointed senate, in Canada’s ‘democratic’ system, is based on the British parliamentary system that has the House of Lords, wealthy titled people delegated by birthright to ensure Britain’s ‘ruling class’ do not relinquish all power to the plebeians of the proletariat.

In their opinion, democracy was acceptable only when the power of privilege allows it to work.

Canada, of course, having neither hereditary lords nor a constitution, came up with next best thing – senators by appointment. In the original inception, having as part of government a house of second sober thought was perhaps a good thing. After all, political parties tend to pass laws that will, along with doing what’s best for “the people,” benefit them. Having an overseer to ensure all that ensues from parliament is in everyone’s best interests does have merit.

However, it was not long before governing political parties discovered that appointing the ‘right’ people to the senate meant their decisions would have precedence over their political opponents.

They also discovered that those appointments could be given as rewards rather than for the ability to provide that sober second thought.

And thus, we have what is facing our nation today, the furor and fandangos over the spending antics of those who have allegedly abused, in many cases grossly, their privilege.

What makes this even worse, aside from senators essentially being appointed for life, is that they have the ability to quash any proposed legislation that would control or, in a perfect world, get rid of them.

In other words, the people must take on the power of government to make changes, and the only way that appears to me is to have a nation-wide referendum on whether or not to keep the senate, or at the very least ensure that its members are elected.

Should the federal government have the courage to present a referendum on such, the senate would not, or should not, have the ability to say yes or no to such action, and would have to abide by the results of said referendum.

The referendum could have but three questions: the status quo, an elected senate, or abolishment.

I see little reason to choose any but the last, because over the years I have found, like the many alliterated ‘10-dollar words’ used above, there is little purpose in having a senate, other than for the pomposity of purpose.

So I suggest that across this nation we pressure our Members of Parliament to provide the opportunity to say we’ve had enough of the senate and the financial abuse, real or imagined, of many of its members.

You might, in telling them, point out that it could save their jobs!

 

markrushton@abbynews.com