EDITORIAL: Elect a Senate or abolish it

In the minds of many Canadians, the purpose of the Canadian Senate is a bit of a mystery.

In the minds of many Canadians, the purpose of the Canadian Senate is a bit of a mystery.

It’s a body that’s not elected, what it accomplishes is less than clear, and news about it only erupts when politicians talk about reform, or more recently, when senators play fast and loose with the purse strings of taxpayers.

The original purpose of the Senate was to give a sober second thought to bills passed by elected Members of Parliament, and, according to its website, to bolster underrepresented groups, such as women, Aboriginal people and minorities.

When it comes to being a champion of Aboriginal, women’s or minority rights, the Senate is perhaps the last organization that leaps to mind.

As well intentioned as the Senate was when created in 1867, today the body is effectively a patronage system for the ruling party to reward loyal and often high-profile Canadians with prestigious well-paid jobs.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has long advocated reforming Senate terms and appointment procedures, or even doing away with it altogether. That hasn’t stopped him from appointing 56 Conservative senators (and two elected in Alberta) over his time in office.

If Parliament can’t abolish the Senate or it accepts that it has a reason to exist, change is desperately needed. Does it make sense that New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have 10 senators each and Quebec has 24, while Alberta has six and B.C. has five?

For the Senate to have credibility, rather than act as a vehicle for patronage and self-serving party loyalty, each province should have an equal number of elected senators.

Senators themselves should not be sitting silent, and should be seeking to reform an institution that has no accountability or credibility in terms of working in the interests of Canadians.

– Black Press

Just Posted

Accused Surrey transit cop shooter’s bail hearing set for April

Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, is accused of shooting Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27

House fire in South Surrey

Emergency crews seen racing towards 160 Street and 28 Avenue

White Rock’s Cliff Annable ‘lived a life that mattered’

Hundreds gather to remember affable 71-year-old

FOCUS: New arena, more ice in Surrey – but will it be enough for everyone?

With both rinks to close at North Surrey rec, the result is a net gain of one ice sheet this fall

Pair of men charged in three robberies in Surrey, Delta

Charged are Karmal Singh Grewal, 26, of Vancouver and Gursimran Sahota, 21, of Surrey

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Chilliwack grad says modest dress codes don’t protect girls from assault

Sardis alumni was ‘catcalled, harassed, and groped by my male classmates’ despite modest clothing

One of the biggest cow shows in Canada is coming back to the ‘Wack

Prize money of $240,000 is on offer at the spring Holstein show Friday at Chilliwack Heritage Park

VIDEO: Race and sport examined at new We Are Hockey exhibit in Abbotsford

UFV SASI hosting exhibit looking at hockey history and race

Nearly 40% of British Columbians not taking their medications correctly: poll

Introduction of legal cannabis could cause more issues for drug interactions

Mining company fined $70,000 after two workers killed in B.C. truck crash

Broda Construction pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe workplace at Cranbrook rock quarry

Most Read

l -->