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I received an email about Senate reform from a Mr. Robinson who lives in northern Alberta. He addressed it to all Alberta Senators, and has kindly given me permission to post it in full on Hullabaloos. His email reads as follows ….
I write you to express my opinion about Senate reforms.
- Senate reform may be needed, but it should be done to ensure that the Senate becomes more effective and less party dominated and represents the interests of Canada (please note I did not say the interests of Canadians as defined as being the interests of individual voters). The current proposed reforms appear to be designed to meet a 'populist interest as expressed by a political party'.
- Senate reforms need to follow the constitution. This 'plan' does not.
- My expectation is that the Senate be a 'sober chamber of second thought' and not subject to partisan politicking. I note that the Alberta members of the Senate come from diverse backgrounds and represent many differing points of view with some Senators being appointed by Prime Ministers of parties other than the party of the Senator. I believe that this is how the Senate should be constituted.
- While the current Government did campaign (loosely) to make changes to the Senate, there was never a plan expressed to proceed without consulting the Provinces as required by the constitution
I could go on, but will spare you this.
I do object to comments widely attributed to Senator Brown, particularly when he states “Every senator in this caucus needs to decide where their loyalty should be and must be.” Senator Brown is then reported to go on to state that their (Senators) loyalty should be to Stephen Harper. I strenuously object to these comments as being an affront to our legislative assemblies as I believe there are only two places a legislators loyalty should be given - either to their electorate (odd that only Mr Brown was elected) or to the good of the country. At no time should a legislator be loyal only to the leader of a political party, and at no time should a member of the Senate state that Senators should be loyal to the leader of a political party as the role of the senate to provide 'sober second thought' to the Government of Canada for Canadians. If Mr Brown's view is that held by the Senate majority then the only response is that the Senate has no function and should be abolished.
I want a Senate. But I want a Senate that is not a rubber stamp for the Government nor one that opposes just because the majority of Senators are from a different political party. Please send a message to the Government that the senate must be effective and not limited by the whims of the Government and or the Prime Minister.
Thank you for taking my comments into consideration.
I couldn’t have said it better myself!
UPDATE: Senator Colin Kenny published an Op-Ed today in the Ottawa Citizen called In defence of the Senate.
Posted On Jun 17 06:33PM
I really like the subtle graphic inserted in this post
Posted On Jun 17 10:33AM
I just received this comment on my website ...
I heard your comments on senate reform on CBC. I have felt that the seanate has been largely under rated by the public and press for many years now. The real need is democratic reform at the party level.
Posted On Jun 17 10:16AM
Well put Mr. Robinson!
The Senate should be there to serve the interests of Canadians -- particularly those from their regions and those minority voices who do not always get representation in populist (elected) bodies, such as the House of Commons.
They are not there to serve political parties, and certainly not there to serve the Prime Minister (whoever that may be at the time).
Senators: use your voices and exercise your power! It was not given to you by the Prime Minister, but by our founding fathers who understood why we needed a reflective chamber that would not be beholden to elections or party mechanics, but to your own conscience and the higher needs of Canada.