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Editorials

Canadian Senate - I Have An Idea

Sunday, February 17, 2013   by: Mac Headrick

 

Everywhere you look (or listen) in the media, we have the issue of the Canadian Senate. The federal government has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to provide an opinion on the constitutionality of several proposed changes. In opposition the Tories criticized this (at the time) Liberal dominated group for opposing the true wishes of the elected parliament. Didn’t Stephen Harper state that Senate reform was a priority for the Conservatives? Of course, since gaining a majority the Conservatives have elected many of their supporters to the senate. 

The best line I’ve heard in the past two weeks concerning senator expense accounts is the following question. What does Senator Mike Duffy and Ann of Green Gables have in common? Answer … they are both fictional characters of Prince Edward Island. Imagine being appointed to a position until age 75. You are paid a minimum of $132,000 plus expenses. You virtually cannot be removed and are accountable to no-one. I do not believe the senate will ever be eliminated. It is a place were Canadian governments (Liberal; Conservative) reward their friends. It is a golden retirement position where political cronies who have contributed little to Canada go to do nothing. 

You have all heard the expression “if you can’t beat them, join them”. With this thought in mind I wish to take this opportunity to advocate my election to the Canadian Senate. Before you discount this idea please consider the following points. 

  1. Everyone knows the government of the day uses this institution to reward supporters. I have never voted for any elected government of Canada. I could be used and paraded around as proof of an unbiased political appointment. Sure I would just be a token senator but I could live with that at a $132,000 salary.
  2. The Canadian Senate is supposed to be a body of sober second thought. I only consume the odd beer during the summer at camp. This makes me sober. I would promise not to think much during my time away from the senate chamber as not to wear my brain out.
  3. Unlike some senators I do have a residence in Sault Ste Marie. I have been here for about 50 plus years. I would be back here every chance I have. My point is that I wouldn’t cheat on my expenses.
  4. I have never assaulted anybody or had legal issues so I could safety promise not to embarrass Sault Ste Marie. Being age 63 means two things. The chance to get into trouble is somewhat unlikely for two reasons. I am physically limited in what trouble I can get into and I forget exactly how to go about it.
  5. My term would not be to age 75 or the proposed Conservative 9 years. I think 5 years would be enough. After that, we would hold an election in Sault Ste Marie for another representative. The election would be open to any Canadian citizen. Only limitation would be that they couldn’t be a Liberal or Conservative supporter. I have many Liberal and Conservative friends. Currently, they already have 65 Conservative and 36 Liberal (3 Independent, one vacancy) senators in Ottawa.
  6. I love animals (pets) and especially dogs. My retirement gift is a Pug puppy that will arrive in two weeks. I also enjoy all football both professional and amateur. My music of choice is vinyl records. You have to admit the above list suggests a stellar individual.
  7. I have never understood what exactly the Canadian Senate actually does. I would bet I am not alone in this regard. My goal as a senator would be to educate Canadians on the work this unelected political body does. I suspect the answer is it does nothing but waste taxpayers money. If this is the case then that is what my report would indicate.

 As I see it based on the past history of the Canadian Senate, my election would be a significant upgrade. I’ve got to get working on my resume.     

 

 

Comments
26
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fatafr 2/17/2013 10:28:16 AM Report

Doug Millroy, in his Saturday column wrote about the sorry state of our senate. Based on a recent poll that shows only 32% of respondents feel the senate should be abolished, it appears Canadians aren't as upset as they should be with this waste of Taxpayers money. Below was my response to this:

"One of the biggest problems that we have today in our society is being displayed, in living colour, by many members of this, appearing like, a self imposed hierarchy that is called the senate. This problem that I am talking about is a blatant misuse of Taxpayers' money on the guise that these cartoon characters are actually serving a useful purpose. But what is most troubling about the senate is that, like a few other special interest groups that have been out there yelling and screaming for more, these senators have such an incredible and unbelievable level and culture of entitlement that it actually makes me nauseous when I see individuals like Brazeau and Duffy dodging reporters to keep their "alleged" criminal behaviour our of the public eye.

You're absolutely right Doug, Canadians should be more outraged than they appear to be. The bulk of the taxes in this Country are paid by middle and upper middle class Taxpayers who, for the most part, are just ordinary people who work hard and simply put their faith in politicians that they will do their job and spend their tax dollars wisely and properly. That, unfortunately, is not the case. Wasteful spending runs rampant in the 2 upper levels of government and people should be very upset. Unfortunately, these same Canadain Taxpayers who should be outraged are simply civil, law abiding and not so out spoken and thus, appear to be complacent but, I believe and can assure you, a vast majority of these decent, hard working and many now retired Canadians are not very happy campers. I, for one, am hoping that Harper and his Conservative majority government keep their promises and stand firm on very important matters of transparency and accountability. I strongly believe the senate should be abolished and these other special interest groups out there should be dealt with accordingly and without prejudice. If the Conservative Party does what it promised to do, their promises of reform will be appreciated and they should be in power for many years to come.
I sincerely hope everyone has a great Family Day weekend".
Remember the Family Day Skate at the Essar Centre tomorrow from 2-4 pm.

good4now 2/17/2013 12:47:32 PM Report

I have yet to read Doug Millroy's column, but I wouldn't be too surprised by the low numbers that want the Senate abolished. Polls can be designed to produce the result those paying desire.

For example, consider the question," Would you rather the national debt or the Senate be abolished?"

Perhaps ST might run a simple poll:
Would you rather the Senate-
1- Remain as it is?
2- Be abolished, elected or significantly changed?
Oldie Goldie 2/17/2013 1:31:55 PM Report

Mac--As you well know Stephen Harper said, at least, 2 things he would do with the Senate during his several Campaigns.
1. He would never appoint anyone to the Senate.
2. He would ask for Elected Senators to be chosen.

He then proceeded to do exactly what he said he would not do.

As long as we have lying Members of Parliament right up to the Prime Minister's level nothing will ever be done about the Senate.

Perhaps if a lot of Electors fought to get their Elected M.P.s to keep their promises after being elected we might get some Senate Reform or abolish it.

I always remember the liars and they never get my vote.
Mr. Poster 2/17/2013 4:02:45 PM Report

We need a senate like I need a pimple on my butt. I will vote for any party that declares it will abolish the senate. To think that so many senators have taken advantage of us taxpayers, considering their great rate of pay,is despicable at best. If I owe the tax dept. 13 cents they will bill me. Yet senators are cheating and getting away with thousands of dollars they are not entitled to. All four that are being looked at should resign and pay back all the money they STOLE from the taxpayers.
CountryTrapper 2/17/2013 4:52:54 PM Report

And none of this would be in the news or a problem if the liberals had a majority in the senate
right wing 2/17/2013 5:23:22 PM Report

"I always remember the liars and they never get my vote."

Then I will surmise two things from your statement.

1. You have a very short memory.

or

2. You have never voted for any politician in your entire life.
Oldie Goldie 2/17/2013 8:26:56 PM Report

Right Wing--In your last post you are insinuating that all Politicians are liars !

You are entitled to your opinion but I have met some Politicians--especially in this area---who-- I believe--are not liars.

Some examples---George Nixon--Russ Ramsay--John Rhodes--Bud Wildman--John Rowswell are a few that I can remember and I voted for each of them.

There really are some honest Politicians and to think otherwise--like you do---is a sad situation to be in.

learningaswego 2/18/2013 12:30:39 PM Report

Harper tried to start, and is still trying, major Senate Reform.
When in a minority govt, the opposition tools voted against any and every move to reform the Senate - because, well, they simply are "against" anything the govt does.
Right now, Harper has put several questions to the Supreme Court specifically about the Senate, which may pave the way for significant Senate reform.
So, to say that Harper has done nothing, is just ridiculous, or completely uninformed.
learningaswego 2/18/2013 12:44:36 PM Report

What a bunch of nonsense!

If the opposition idiots would have agreed to Harper's Senate reforms, then Senators would have to be elected right now. But the opposition tools blocked every attempt at senate reform.
So, what's Harper supposed to do, when Senate vacancies come open? Appoint Senators of course. If not for the opposition idiots, Harper would not have to appoint them.

But hey, lets not let the truth, facts, or evidence get in the way of a good ole Harper bashing, kay?

right wing 2/18/2013 2:08:22 PM Report

Oldie

I forgot that the scan revealed that you were born without a sense of humour.
The funny bone was intact but nothing to activate it.
Oldie Goldie 2/19/2013 1:15:58 AM Report

Right Wing---I have a good sense of humour and always have had.

But I am not the only one that doesn't know whether your posts are humorous or not---There are very little clues in your posts to tell anyone whether you are serious or just trying to be funny.

I have read other Poster's writings when they too can't tell if you are serious or not so I am not alone in trying to read your serious postings or your comedy postings.

Perhaps I should try the same methods you use then I will find out how you react to your own games.
Oldie Goldie 2/19/2013 1:40:05 AM Report

Learningaswego---Harper has had a Majority Government for over a year now.
And he appointed several Senators after his majority---and--by the way---a few of his recent appointments are showing their true colours by ripping off the Taxpayers as often as they can---and that includes respected broadcasters among the cheaters.

Harper has always had the opportunity to call for elected Senators whether he had a majority ot not so don't give me that B.S. about the Opposition fighting him.

One province has already elected a Senator and there is nothing stopping others from doing it too.

Harper has said that he would put elected Senators in the Senate so let's here him put out the call for more elected Senators.

The real problem is Harper wants a majority of the Senators to be Conservatives just like the Liberals did when they were in power in the government.

The new Senators that Harper appointed were sworn to promote Senate reform---until after they were appointed---then they changed their minds when they found out what a Cushy job it was.

Now the Senate has a majority of Conservatives in the Senate and they can call for Senate Reform and get it passed.

The Supreme Court would not likely stop the Senators from making changes in the Senate on their own.
learningaswego 2/19/2013 2:30:38 PM Report

What a pile of uninformed crap.

First off, senate reform requires constitutional amendment.

Second, if I had 12 hours - which I don't, I would go through numerous news articles over the past 7 years about PM Harper's attempts to initiate senate reforms, ALL blocked by the useless opposition goofs, for the simple purpose of 'being against' anything and everything the Conservative government does.
right wing 2/19/2013 4:33:09 PM Report

learning...you are right, a complete waste of time on the Harper haters...
Oldie Goldie 2/19/2013 5:46:15 PM Report

Learningaswego---You were once a staunch Liberal---until they screwed up---now your a staunch Conservative---and I say ---until they screw up.

If, as you say--a Constitutional Amendment is required to change the Senate--then what is stopping Harper---He has a majority in both the Parliament and the Senate so the opposition can't stop him now.

Asking for the Supreme Court to help him make a decision doesn't make a lot of sense---The Supreme Court rules on the Laws that Parliament makes.

The last time I looked the Parliaments make the laws and you said the Opposition stopped Harper---Well, the Opposition can't stop him now so what is he waiting for---Change the Laws and amend the Constitution before you lose your Majority if he is serious about Senate Reform.

How long do Canadian Taxpayers have to endure the costly and useless Senate ?
sunnie 2/20/2013 1:34:44 AM Report

Well Mac, I'd vote for you only because if you don't talk them to death you will certainly tell them jokes until they run away from their so called jobs and there would be no need for reforms.. Just kidding. :)
Snobank 2/20/2013 8:50:08 AM Report

Constitutional admendments are no simple task, even for majority governments. Provincial and territorial governments have to be brought in to agreement or it all falls apart. Meech Lake, anyone?

I'm certainly noHarper fan but I think he's being given a bum rap here by some.
learningaswego 2/20/2013 10:50:31 AM Report

@Oldie

This voter is neither a staunch Liberal or staunch Conservative - EVER. If any elected government screws up, especially as bad as the current Liberal one has, then I'm all for throwing them out. I don't care what name they go by.

I am - unequivocally and unapologetically -

a staunch PRAGMATIST.

Names of political parties are about in 100th spot, of what is important to me.
What they say is about 99th.

What they DO (or not) is ALL that matters.
Oldie Goldie 2/21/2013 11:51:34 AM Report

Learningaswego---Believe it or not we both think alike on Political Parties.

I just think that some parties in power are screwing up sooner than you do.

I have always voted for the Candidate who I think will do the best job but when those Candidates always vote the Party Line when I think they should not then they lose my vote.
Cases in point---Both David O. and Bryan Hayes have lost my vote after I voted for them because they both put the Party Line ahead of what I think the people want.

Good thinking, Learningaswego.
right wing 2/22/2013 8:17:34 AM Report

"Cases in point---Both David O. and Bryan Hayes have lost my vote after I voted for them because they both put the Party Line ahead of what I think the people want."

So you know with absolution what the people want?
You support a politician and he does a world of good...as I believe David O did for the Sault...but he votes the party line on an issue that you do not agree with and he's lost your vote.
Yep great philosophy there...as long as you do everything I agree with then you're good.
Wow.

Oldie Goldie 2/22/2013 9:33:21 AM Report

Right Wing--again you change what I say---I never said that I know with " absolution" what the people want.
I said " what I think the people want "

There is a big difference in what I write and what you think I write.

David O. was a Chief Negotiator for Secondary Teachers before his election and he must have known that Bill 115 was wrong for Teachers and yet he voted for it.
Now the rest of the Liberals know that Bill 115 was wrong and repealed it but David O. said nothing about the passing of Bill 115 and voted the Party Line.
This is one example of what I wrote.
learningaswego 2/22/2013 9:44:07 AM Report

Maybe Orazietti voted for Bill 115 because it was good for the taxpayers of Ontario.
Oldie Goldie 2/22/2013 1:05:50 PM Report

Learningaswego---The Provincial Liberals will soon find out how good Bill 115 was for the taxpayers.

It will be short term gain for long term pain for Ontario Taxpayers---But the Liberals won't have to worry about the long term pain because they won't be around to see it.

The Teachers and their Federations along with other Public Servants who had Contracts forced on them will win their case in the Courts just like British Columbia did recently and the final costs savings will be far exceeded by the Court Costs and the retro-activity awarded them as well as gains in future contracts.

How could that be good for the Ontario Taxpayers ? David O.---of all the M.P.P.s-- knows better because of his experience as a Teacher Negotiator.

If David O. was voting for the good of the Taxpayers of Ontario he should have warned the rest of the Liberals about the short term gain for long term pain of Bill 115.
learningaswego 2/22/2013 2:12:48 PM Report

Try this on for size.....
- public sector unions are in for a rude awakening
- their support from the voting public has never been lower - they're currently held in the same regard as most politicians
- taxpayers (around the world, not just in Canada), can no longer afford their outrageous demands - BECAUSE THEY ARE NO LONGER SUSTAINABLE
- the same voting public has NO appetite for spineless politicians who kowtow to public sector union demands
- any political leader who is reasonably personable, and will promise to rein in public sector spending on unionized worker costs, will be elected with a huge majority.

But, that's just my opinion.
learningaswego 2/22/2013 3:10:31 PM Report

If the Ontario PC's only had a reasonably personable leader, they would win an election by a landslide right now. Hudak just doesn't cut it with enough voters (and is THE reason why the PC's are not currently in a majority government.)
Oldie Goldie 2/22/2013 10:34:36 PM Report

Learningaswego---It may be true that the unionized workers are disliked by the people but the people will not decide the issue of removing their rights to bargain fairly.

That issue is in the Ontario Labour Laws and not even the elected Parliament can take away those rights.

As I said before---The Courts will make their decision in this matter and the Taxpayers of Ontario will lose as will the Parliamentarians in the Ontario Government--but it will take some time for a Court decision and the Ontario Liberals will not be around to settle the Court penalties imposed.

A precedent in Law has already been decided by the B.C. Courts on a similar move by the B.C. Government which they lost.
Comments
26
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