Maclean’s View from the Hill: A tipping point on the Senate?

Aaron Wherry, John Geddes, Michael Petrou and Nick Taylor-Vaisey on the news of the day


Aaron Wherry, John Geddes, Michael Petrou and Nick Taylor-Vaisey consider the issues at play around Parliament Hill.
This week’s questions:
Have we reached a tipping point on the Senate?
What could break the Senate debate open?
Is it time to intervene in Syria?
Is there any reason not to call an inquiry into missing and murdered First Nations women?

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Maclean’s View from the Hill: A tipping point on the Senate?

  1. The Senate? Why certainly. What lake would you like to tip it in?

    I’ll help.

    • We don’t need to destroy the building, just get rid of its freeloading inhabitants. If we turn it into a museum, the senate will finally be of use to Canadians for the first time in its 145 year history.

  2. I hereby make a sincere apology to EmilyOne. My claim, subsequent to Jeffrey Simpson’s article in the G&M this week, that there is no democratic unicameral federal state on this planet was wrong.
    Venezuela is a democratic unicameral federal state, and I assume the model upon which EmilyOne and other abolitionists want to build the Canada of the future.
    I now understand why the NDP, and maybe Harper, are so keen on abolition!

    • Harper keen on on abolishing Senate?? Check his record 1st…Appointed 35+ Senators since he was elected….RT

    • How pathetic. Obviously you looked up the information and know that Venezuela is not the only unicameral nation. Why is it not surprising that people in favor of a corrupt institution must resort to corrupt rationalizations to justify its existence?

      Wiki: Abolished upper house (contains all countries that got rid of their senates)

      • Thank you for the link – as it does confirm that all countries that have gotten rid of their senates are unitarian states, except for Venezuela under Chavez. I read on each country listed and in all cases but Venezuela, they are unitarian states, not federations.

        Canada is not a unitarian state. It is a federal state, with a written constitution that establishes the divisions of legislative powers between the federal state and the provinces. If it were to become a federal unicameral state, it would stand alongside Venezuela and become the second unicameral federal state in the world. And there are a number of people out there who would say that Chavez is a dictator, and many many organizations who measure these things say that Venezuela is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, while Canada is one of the least corrupt.

        • Correlation is not causation.

          The Senate is not what’s keeping us from becoming a Venezuela-style pseudo-dictatorship.

          I can’t believe that a point in this debate, in 2013, appears to be “We must not abolish our legislative body of hand-picked elites appointed by the executive if we want to stay an uncorrupt democracy!”

  3. If you want to break open the discussion on the Senate the first place Canadians should start with is freeing the information. Why are only some Senator’s audits been made public? What is good for one is good for them all. This would allow Canadians a chance to see the amount that is spent on their Senate representatives. As well there should be an open audit on all support and infrastructure to show how much is also spent just keeping the Senate functioning. Then maybe Canadians can make an informed choice on a ballot in the next Federal Election. Personally I hope Canadians make the decision to turn it into a Bingo Hall…at lease that would generate some cash flow..

    • LOL. And while were at it, we could make the GG earn his paycheck by calling numbers from the throne.

  4. The senate is a waste. The real work of “second sober thought” is done in Commons committees made up of MPs elected by voters to be there. Senators are paid $132k/yr to make themselves look busy (while they aren’t flying around the country on the taxpayer dime.)

    It’s time to cut out the duplication and deadwood. All that’s required to get rid of it is simple-majority support in 7 of 10 provinces. If a national referendum gets those results, no one chaining themselves to the senate doors will stop the inevitable.

    Let’s make the senate work for us: we’ll turn it into a museum and charge admission. Much better than wasting $300M/yr so party hacks and bagmen can freeload off of taxpayers.

    • Venezuela and Chavez – Ron Waller’s vision for Canada !

      • And our flag has RED in it!!!

        What are we COMMUNISTS???

    • We’ve had 146 years (so far) of a do-nothing senate. There’s no mystery as to whether we can do without it – we can and we are. The only mystery is why Canadians are willing to continue to fund this nonsense.

      • Speaking from ignorance doesn’t become anybody.

  5. Yes we have reached a tipping point on the Senate. What more does it take before action is taken? The majority of Canadians must know, deep down, that the Senate does not function as it was intended to. Does anyone know of an existing petition for a nationwide referendum to abolish the Senate? If not lets get one started. Canadians need to take action instead of waiting for something to happen.

  6. Their research reports are good value. I’m not hard against the Senate being abolished now that S.Harper probably realizes children should have fathers beyond age 15, but it still seems like good value for $13M/yr.

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