Senate Reform

2136 WordsOct 22, 20109 Pages
On July 1st, 1867, Canada confederated into a nation and committed to uphold democracy “From Sea to Sea”. As stated in the Constitution of our nation, Canada would be governed through a Parliamentary system, with both an upper and lower house of legislature. The lower house, the House of Commons, would include elected members from across the country. Conversely, the upper house, the Senate, according to Section 24 of the Constitution Act (1867), states: “The Governor General shall… summon qualified Persons to the Senate; and… every Person so summoned shall become… a Member of the Senate.”[1] This has amounted to almost 800 Canadians being appointed to the Senate since Confederation. However, as Canadians have grown to demand transparency…show more content…
In retrospect, in order for the Senate to achieve any sort of democratic status, the federal chamber should be comprised of elected members. Most criticism towards the Canadian Senate is directed at the ineffectiveness of the upper house.[13] The Constitution states that the Senate shall act as a ‘chamber of sober second thought’ from the perceived more radical lower house.[14] However, the Senate has proven to be useless in this process, and does not act as a voice of reason or representative opinion. The argument that the Senate is more reflective of the national population than the House of Commons definitely doesn’t come cheap. Because Senators are not elected they don’t represent the public interest and therefore shear no accountability. This lack of accountability allows for the chamber’s activities to become autonomous and secretive. Ultimately, the citizens of Canada are left in the dark in regards to the performance and activities of the Senate. At the same time, when exploring the link between the upper and lower houses, it is rational to say that the Senate serves no purpose in the Canadian political system. As Senators come into power through recommendation of the Prime Minister, it is uncommon for the chamber to disagree with the government. Therefore, Senator appointment does
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