Thursday, June 23, 2011

Senate Reform, A Non-Starter. . . . .

Is it just me or is all this talk of Senate reform so much fart-gas? As far as I my understanding goes you cannot do anything to or with the Senate without agreement at three levels, to wit: the House of Commons, the Senate itself, and the agreement of the Provinces. Now the smaller provinces will surely never agree to the total élimination of the Senate, and neither will, I suspect, a majority of Senators. Meanwhile, Quebec and Ontario will fight tooth and nail to prevent an equal Senate and I suppose with good reason. Unlike the US where Senate power is well distributed because there are 50 states, an equal Senate in Canada would be rather absurd because there just are not enough provinces to effectively distribute the potential Senate power. A Senate in which PEI has as much power as Quebec, and there are only eight other provinces, makes little sense to me. If there were thirty or forty provinces then maybe I could see an equal Senate working.

Meanwhile there is lots of talk of a national referendum concerning Senate reform. Because there is no binding referendum system in place, Harper, I suppose, hopes to use a popular vote to pressure or shame the provinces into compliance with his wishes. One would have to be a fool to imagine this would work because since when has a province ever been shamed into giving up any real power? Politics seldom works that way.

No, for the time being Senate reform is, I believe, a non-starter. And any serious attempt to force it through will just plug up the court system for years to come. I don't know for sure why Harper is bothering with this can of worms but I am fairly sure his motives, as in all cases, are self-serving. Stop bothering with Senate reform because it just isn't going anywhere.

What say you?

1 comment:

Steve said...

It is totally clear this is just a distraction, if he was serious he would start talking to the supreme court. However he has opened up a huge mouth and the NDP are going to put his foot deep into it.