In June, 2011, I posted this blog below. It is about a letter I received from an Albertan, who was expressing his concerns over the Senate reform proposals of the day..............
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 Apr 07 11:58AM
Indeed a reformed senate should indeed be formed of independent thinkers no strongly attached to any party and no bettr test of its independence could be designed that the upcoming decision it will have to make on the (Un) fair Elections Act. I suspect that the public will judge the usefullness and need for the senate as a whole by the outcome of the current conservative dominated body, blocking the act may well give new life to the senate but a rubber stamp will almose certainly add to the retoric for its abalotion. We can but hope that the majority pass this test and reject this universaly condemed peice of legislation.