Politics

Justin Trudeau's vision for the Senate

The Liberal leader looks to an ideal Senate

While Jack Stillborn considers the ramifications of Justin Trudeau’s senatorial ejections, Peter Loewen asks questions about how Mr. Trudeau made his decision and what comes next and Senate opposition leader James Cowan explains how the new Senate Liberal Caucus is going to function, the Liberal leader imagines a new kind of Senate.

“What got me over the hump was thinking about five years from now, 10 years from now, (when we have) a functioning, non-partisan Senate that actually does a great job of evaluating proposed legislation solely on its merits, not on the political angles of polls or election results or seats that can be won.”

That’s at least a distinct position on the proper function and utility of the Senate. And a case can probably be built that it’s close to what was the original intent of the Senate (if you take “sober second thought” to be the supposed purpose of the upper chamber).

Peter Loewen raises interesting questions about how Mr. Trudeau imposed this change in light of the fact that Michael Chong’s Reform Act would give caucuses the power to determine their own membership, but the flip side of that is that, by something-like-fiat, Mr. Trudeau has granted 32 legislators the sort of freedom and independence that is supposed to be the goal of so many proposals for reforming the House.

Meanwhile, Michael MacKenzie and Chris Tenove consider a few ways a prime minister might go about setting up a non-partisan appointment process. (Previously, Jean-Rodrigue Pare has suggested a multi-partisan appointment committee.)

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