Senate Reform Deux

Not surprisingly, I got some push-back from Dippers on yesterday’s post. Today’s Globe and Mail is, therefore, recommended reading. Even proponents of change agree that Layton’s proposal is premature and too narrow.

Plebiscite on Senate reform ‘premature,’ PM warned


November 7, 2007

Stephen Harper is being warned to avoid a snap referendum on the future of the Senate amid concerns that holding a vote without educating Canadians about the options could produce a questionable result.

Mr. Harper, who sources say backs a proposal to ask Canadians whether they would support abolishing the Senate, was told yesterday by experts in the field not to move before voters can get all the information they need to make a proper decision.

And athough [sic] Senate reform stalwarts like former Reform Party leader Preston Manning supported the idea, they also warned any campaign needs to have a strong educational component…

…”I think it’s premature to put it on the table,” said Roger Gibbins, the president of the Calgary-based Canada West Foundation, a long-time proponent of Senate reform.

“It hasn’t been an issue in a national election campaign [for the government] to move in such a fundamental way without any kind of electoral discussion or any kind of serious public debate,” Mr. Gibbins said.

Sources say the Prime Minister will support a move by NDP Leader Jack Layton to ask that a referendum be held on the upper chamber if the Conservatives cannot find a way to reform it.

Mr. Harper was a founder of the Reform Party, whose supporters rallied to the party in large part because of its vigorous pursuit of the Triple E Senate (an elected Senate with effective powers and equal provincial representation).

Sources have said the Prime Minister remains strongly committed to reforming the upper chamber. They noted, however, that the provinces and the Liberal-dominated Senate are thwarting him.

Mr. Manning said yesterday that he supports the idea of a referendum, but that the question cannot be solely about abolition. Rather, Canadians should be asked to choose between abolition and reform. He also said that a referendum can be fair only if the government were to finance both sides of the issue so Canadians could be well-informed about the options before they go to the polls.

6 thoughts on “Senate Reform Deux

  1. Way to go! Quote the Globe and Mail stating that the NDP is bad. That is like quoting Fox News on how the Democrats are immoral and tax happy.

    Of course you received blow back yesterday. If you write an ill conceived post, then people will try to set you right. Here is my attempt to articulate why yesterday’s post sucked.

    (1) It was self-serving premise. The “this issue is not important because it is not my issue” view is very narrow. Should the Green Party one day form government, do you think the Senate filled with Liberals and Conservatives will sit back and rubber stamp your agenda. Besides, if you really are a Green Party member, what are you doing stealing Liberal lines?

    (2) Unfair slams at Jack. Jack and the NDP has many flaws, and for someone like you who has a vested interest in dissing Jack there are better ways of doing it. Stating that general people wonder why Jack does not speak to climate change or the rich and poor gap is completely inaccurate. The man talks all the time about those two issues. In fact, they are the environment and prosperity gap have been the parties dominant themes. Attack him for being too close to Mayor David or something, but at least have it based in reality.

    (3) Use of anonymous people. I too can say that somebody who holds a Liberal, Conservative, Green and NDP membership says that they do not like Steph, Steve, Liz or Jack. Who cares! Say what you think and don’t try to support it as the “general view on the street of people who have no names”.

  2. Of course a supporter of a Triple E Senate is going to think abolishing the place is a bad idea. Did you think he was going to say, “Gee, Jack is right. I guess my life is wasted.”? Come on.

  3. Why on earth are Green party supporters holding up a opinions of the president of reactionary and Canada West Foundation? Do you really think as that turd, Roger Gibbins, does that duplicating a US system that produces bridges to nowhere and sees land locked states given cost guard bases as good idea?

  4. Folks, while saying my posts “suck” and calling other people “turds” is fun and all, I think we’re losing sight of the point. Does the NDP actually think that:

    1. Senate reform should be the #1 democratic reform priority, before proportional representation?

    2. There has been enough public debate on the issue of senate reform or abolition that we’re ready to go to a vote (which would be unconstitutional anyway) at the next federal election?

    I’m not advocating for a triple-E senate, and I agree with some of the things koby said in the comments of the other post. What I’m saying is that this issue needs further study with extensive citizen involvement, and that we need to address the problem of our broken voting system first. I’m surprised so many NDPers seem to find that offensive.

  5. Yes it is funny calling Roger Gibbins a turd. Why? As Homer Simpson likes to say “its funny cause its true.” Anyway, it is one thing to be opposed to the NDP’s plan for practical reasons. I am too. It is quite another to be say you are open minded about senate “reform” when all the while saying what you really want is some form of PR. A reformed senate is PR’s anti thesis. On that note, interviewing the turd today Don Newman flushed him out. If what the Reformers were talking about was assigning senate seats based on the number of people in each province, what would be the point? The House of Commons seats are supposed to have roughly the same number of people in each riding. There would be needless duplication. Any rational individual would suggest we take Occam’s razor to such an idea. Gibbins conceded. What Reformers want and always have wanted is an “elected” “effective”, unequal and undemocratic senate.

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