‘It can be boring. It can be riveting. It can be silly. It can be vital to democracy’

The Star’s Joanna Smith gazes upon the Senate, survives to report back.

In the back row, her fellow newbie Patrick Brazeau puts away his package of photocopied news clippings in time for oral questions, only to become engrossed in a game of what appears to be Sudoku.

Senator Mike Duffy, who ambled in a little late to sit down in his seat closer to the centre of the row, soon looks up from his mobile device to notice the lone individual sitting in the press gallery – usually an abandoned space outside of throne speeches and constitutional squabbles of decades past – and begins consulting with a nearby colleague about what she could possibly be doing up there.




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‘It can be boring. It can be riveting. It can be silly. It can be vital to democracy’

  1. Did anyone ever think of turning the Senate into a legislative equivalent of the Supreme Court? Instead of appointing illiterate hockey coaches and blowhard teevee personalities or party cronies, maybe we should appoint former judges, legal scholars and policy experts who have generally avoided politics. Maybe then this body can provide some sober second thought in a non-partisan manner while not threatening the primacy of the House of Commons. It could challenge conventional wisdom and propose laws to the House of Commons. It can find issues with laws that are proposed so they don’t necessarily need to go to the SC shortly after they are passed.

    I do sort of like this idea, since it is a change in how we appoint Senators, rather than a constitutional change. Make Senate appointments the subject of all-party selection hearings similar to what has been proposed for judges. I don’t think people will mind this ‘undemocratic body’ which we are essentially stuck with, if it were transformed into a kind of pool of elders who can advise our elected representatives and temper their more idiotic behaviour.

  2. I see Pat Brazeau is performing about as expected.

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