Monday, May 08, 2006

Upper House, Lower Debate

There's no more effective way for the media to cast aspersions on any plan than calling it "American-style." From health care reform to beer brewing, the very term raises all sorts of negative connotations, from inferior quality to rapacious profiteering to gaudy excess to chest-thumping jingoism.

So no doubt the idea of fixed six-year staggered terms for Senators is filling all the right-minded Canadians' hearts with dread, regardless of the merits or weaknesses of the idea, simply because that is what the Americans do:

Conservative policy planners are examining the possibility of American-style Senate elections, where voters cast ballots for certain Senators on one six-year cycle, and other senators on a second six-year cycle.

The model, also used in Australia's Senate, would ensure a regular influx of fresh blood into the upper chamber since all elected senators would be required to step down after six years in office.

A senior government source familiar with the work said the idea of staggered elections is just one of the many elements of a Senate reform package expected to be put forward this fall, and will likely include at least the promise of future constitutional change.

Calling it "Australian-style" Senate reform wouldn't strike the same fear in those who live by and will die by the status quo.

And if anything, it would be far less like the U.S. Senate by imposing maximum age and term limits.

And we still have not heard about the powers of this elected Senate.

Nonetheless, do not expect debate to proceed in a rational manner. As badly flawed and increasingly unworkable our current constitutional arrangements are, the governing classes have tacitly agreed that they cannot be touched, though the country fall, for fear of unleashing even worse evils.

Watch for the media to rouse itself in defence of a principle already anachronistic at the time of Confederation: the need for an appointed upper house of learned and illustrious citizens to cool the rebellious passions of the masses' representatives in the lower house.

The Family Compact will not go down without a fight on this issue.

Source: Edmonton Journal


Alberta Girl said...

I find it interesting that the left will throw out the "we can't be like the americans" over anything the CPC do, yet when Cindy Sheehan, or Robin Williams, or Michael Moore, or any of the other leftie Americans come up and tell us how we should behave, the left jumps up and down with glee insisting that we follow do as they do - hypocrasy - I think so.

But, sigh, the left doesn't see themselves in the mirror.

hunter said...

Too true, they just can't see how Canadians can not agree with their lefty positions.