Harper Hunts Senate For Sport

Harper hires gladiators from the future to dismantle Senate

It is difficult to imagine a public institution more useless than the Canadian Senate. Created in the British North American Act of 1867 that also founded the Domain of Canada, the Senate was modeled off the British House of Lords — an upper chamber consisting entirely of social and political elites who held lifelong peerage to the institution. Our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, referred to the Canadian Senate as a body of ‘Sober Second Thought’ to check the unfettered democracy of the lower house, and the moniker has persevered to this very day. I think most Canadians prefer the Drunken First Impulses of the elected and therefore accountable House of Commons.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, with his roots firmly cultivated in Western federal paranoia, has taken up the charge for Senate reform. Early in his term in government, he introduced legislation that would cap the amount of time a Senator can serve to 8 years. Late in 2006 he also proposed a bill that would bind the Prime Minister to appoint Senators that have been democratically chosen by the people, as opposed to arbitrary appointments. Hell, the guy has even appointed the second-ever democratically elected Senator, Bert Brown (from Alberta, who has been futilely electing Senators in waiting since 1989). This has some of the undertones of the infamous ‘Triple-E’ Senate’ espoused by the Western-based Reform Party in the late 80s/early 90s. The three E’s are Equal, Elected, and… ahhh I always forget the third one…. Emaciated? Exfoliated? blah whatever…

But recently, he has laid down the gauntlet in a fashion that no other Prime Minister before him has dared. In a speech to the joint houses of the Australian Parliament, Harper complimented the Aussies for having an elected Senate, and laid a dire admonishment of his own country’s upper house:

“The mandate to govern when it is given directly by the people is a great honour and a great responsibility,” Harper said in a speech to Australia’s joint houses of Parliament that included praise for its elected Senate. “It’s the very essence of responsible government and it is the minimum condition of 21st-century democracy. Canadians understand that our Senate, as it stands today, must either change or — like the old upper houses of our provinces — vanish.”

Oh Snap! I like this guy; he’s crazy on the threat-machine! I mean, the idea of abolishing the Senate is not new — the New Democrats hold the concept as a core principle, while the shower-avoiding Bloc Quebecois also support the idea.

So let’s review: 1) the Senate currently holds 60% Liberal members from the Trudeau and Chretien dynasties, b) Willie Adams from Nunavut was appointed more than 30 years ago at a time when Bobby Orr was still playing a regular shift in the NHL, c) that same Senator represents 26,000 Nunavutians [??] when every one of the six Senators from Alberta represents about half a million people, d) this is an institution that didn’t recognize women as ‘persons’ and therefore unable to serve in the upper house until 1929, and d) these guys can miss two full sessions of Parliament and still draw $123,000 a year in salary.

I’m with Harper and smiley-guy Jack Layton: open the time portal and let Machines from the future destroy the place.

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