The Senate needs fixing

Wow, it really is true that help comes in all forms, even the most bizarre.

Wow, it really is true that help comes in all forms, even the most bizarre.

Most recently, the Senate got help in the bizarre form of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

In the last few weeks, after his admission to smoking crack cocaine, Ford has drawn attention away from the Senate spending scandal by placing himself quite firmly in the spotlight.

The powers that be in Ottawa must have breathed a sigh of relief as the spotlight was off of them – for the time being, anyways.

And one could argue that it was time the hubbub died down anyway, as we have been hearing about it for, well, if one goes back to the very beginning when the Senate’s internal economy committee tasked three senators with reviewing Senator Patrick Brazeau’s housing allowance, nearly a year.

Ford’s antics did not overshadow all of the senate-related news of the recent weeks.

In the wake of the scandal, the Saskatchewan government has passed a resolution calling for the senate to be abolished.

Shortly afterward, Alberta’s NDP party called for the same.

However, Premier Redford has said that Alberta will not follow Saskatchewan’s example, instead pushing for what she calls a EEE Senate, ‘Equal, elected and effective.’

This kind of talk has been around for decades, and seems to rise and fall in intensity depending on public mood or the particular atmosphere in Ottawa.

Whatever the case, not surprisingly, the suspended senators weren’t about to let go of their positions without a fight.

Wallin defended herself and fellow senators, saying the Senate has “Put the cart before the horse” by not waiting for the RCMP investigation into the scandal to finish.

Ultimately, what matters is this: the Senate is broken, and someone needs to fix it.

The Senate has been a point of contention among Canadians for decades at the very least. Many have expressed frustration with the lifetime terms of senators who are appointed by the government rather than elected.

Others have argued there is little to no use for the Senate, saying they are paid large sums of money for doing basically nothing, only rubberstamping bills already passed by the House of Commons.

Both arguments have great merit.

It’s important to note that abolishing the Senate eliminates the problem, but also eliminates one of the ‘checks’ in the system of checks and balances.

However, what is the point of a system of checks and balances if the system isn’t working anyway?

It’s not known at this point what needs to be done to solve the problems swirling around the Senate, but it’s clear something needs to change in a significant and effective way. And soon.

 

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