Re: Democratize our Senate, June 11 letters.
Letter-writer Bill Hatton suggests a referendum to determine the fate of the Canadian Senate.
While this recommendation has a lot of merit, one anticipates Constitutional objections to any attempt that would change the status quo.
So, how about de facto abolition without doing anything? All it would take is an agreement between the leaders of the major parties not to appoint new members to the Senate. Given that retirement from the Senate is mandatory at age 75, and that most Senators are over 60, it should only take 15 to 20 years to complete the process.
The tax-paying populace would be eternally grateful.
Anthony Walter, Surrey
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Re: Time to elect a Senate or abolish it, June 11 editorial.
It’s definitely time to elect a senate, as your excellent editorial suggests.
Although I’m a long-standing NDP member, I don’t want to see the senate abolished, just made into what it’s supposed to be: a chamber of sober second thought.
A few days ago, I filled out a questionnaire in which one of the questions was “What makes you proud to be a Canadian?” There were several choices; I could pick some or all or none. I picked some– multiculturalism, tolerance, our health-care system.
But I didn’t pick “democracy.” We pretend we have it, but what we actually have is a system by which, every few years, we can choose the political party that chooses our dictator.
Here’s my list of what we need to do to make Canada truly a democracy:
1) create an elected Senate, with an equal number of senators from each province;
2) elect the prime minister and the provincial premiers separately from MPs and MLAs, so that their seats in the House represents the whole country or province, and thus their riding doesn’t lose representation as a result of their job;
3) use a single-transferable-vote system, for both the legislature and the Senate, to ensure that the general will of the people is represented in those bodies.
When our government works this way, I will be able to choose “democracy” as one of my reasons to be proud of Canada.
Geoff Dean, Surrey