Canada needs a Senate for "sober second thought." So said Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister. I agree and here's why:
Without the Senate, Ontario and Quebec MPs in the House of Commons would dominate decision-making in Canada. The rest of Canada's provinces would be under-represented.
Canada needs a Triple E "equal, elected, and effective" Senate similar to the American Senate. No one can argue that the American Senate is not a powerful and effective political body that balances the interests of small and large states.
Canada is also a country of small and large provinces and territories and therefore needs this type of political balance.
The disadvantage of the American Senate is its insulation from public opinion because the terms are longer, membership is smaller, and constituencies are larger. This gives American Senators more prestige than their counterparts in the House of Representatives. If we adopted the American model our Senate elections would be on a smaller scale, and strict election financing and lobbying rules would need to be put in place.
Some people argue that Canada should abolish the Senate because regional representation can be taken care of in caucus meetings, committees and through federal regional departments such as Western Economic Diversification Canada.
I don't think this is acceptable: there is no transparency or accountability to the public and there is a lot of pressure on politicians to tow the party line. It is also not a good idea to replace regional elected representation with civil servants.
I would propose that Canada elect six senators from each province, six senators from the North (two from each of the territories), and six senators for aboriginal people (two each from the Inuit, Métis, and First Nations populations).
I feel this would provide balance to legislation coming out of the House of Commons.
Do you feel Canada should abolish the Senate or reform it?
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