Canada should abolish the Senate, not elect members

Letter to the editor on member to the Canadian Senate

Premier Christy Clark has had a lot to say. One point is elections for membership to the Senate of Canada. She talks of electing the members to the upper house. I have a question: When looking to other countries for ideas and examples, why do we almost exclusively look at the United States?

There are other very worthy countries in the world. Because there is an elected senate in the U.S., which may be very good for them, why do we need one on Canada?

In New Zealand, 62 years ago, they abolished their upper house. Our system of parliament is much more similar to New Zealand’s system than it is to the U.S. congregational system. New Zealand is no less democratic with the upper house gone. If we are going to change the Senate and the role of the Senate, why not go all the way and abolish it?

We talk about decreasing government. We talk about slashing government expenses. An elected Senate is totally opposite to these goals. An elected Senate will increase government by adding yet another layer. An elected Senate will be much more expensive to maintain than our current system. An elected Senate will be many times more expensive than an abolished Senate.

The Senate, many people think, needs to be changed. The best change for the status and role of the Senate would be abolition. Constitutionally, it would be no more difficult to abolish the Senate than to turn it into an elected upper house. Both would require a constitutional change – why not do it properly in the first place and abolish the Senate?

Robert Townsend




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