Saturday, June 04, 2011

Senate Reform Bad for BC Bad for North Vancouver

Reformers held that the regions needed more say and an "equal" “effective” and “elected” senate was the best way of achieving a balance between population centers in Eastern Canada and the rest of us. However, such a conception, and for that matter an "effective" version of the current senate, does not stand up to scrutiny. The problem is fivefold.

First such an argument rests on a false contrast; seats in the House of Commons are supposed to be assigned on basis of population, but that is not the case. Consider the 905. There are currently 4 plus million living in the 905 and there are currently 32 seats for an average of just over 127,000 people per riding. There are 6 ridings with over a 140,000 people in the 905, Bramalea - Gore - Malton (152,698) Brampton West (170,422) Halton (151,943), Mississauga - Erindale (143,361) Oak Ridges - Markham (169,642) and Vaughan (154,206). By contrast there are 4.5 million people in Sask, Man, NWT, Nuv, Yuk, PEI, NS, NFLD, and NB and there are 62 seats for an average of 72,000 people per riding. Moreover, there is but one riding in the 9, Selkirk Interlake (90,807), with over 90,000 people.

Second, the people living in Canada’s less populated provinces have a mechanism to assure that regional concerns are addressed; it is called provincial jurisdiction and provincial representation. By the very nature of living in a province with a small population, the 135,851 people in PEI have plenty of ways of addressing regional concerns that are not available to, for example, the 136 470 people living in Mississauga - Brampton South.

The third reason is a province is no more or less than the people that make up that province. Giving the 135,851 in PEI the power to determine everything under provincial jurisdiction, provincial representation and 4 MPs well all the while giving the 170, 422 residents of Brampton West one MP is bad enough as it is. Having one "effective" Senator for every 72,997 New Brunswick residents (10 senators in total) versus one Senator for every 685, 581 BC residents (6 senators in total) is just piling on.

Four, as Benjamin Franklin put it, having two equally matched houses makes as much sense as tying two equally matched horses to either end of a buggy and having them both pull. Having two houses is a recipe for political gridlock and pork barrel politics.

Five, leaving aside the fact that no province has a second chamber, most having abolished them long ago, and that there are numerous examples of unicameral nation states (e.g., New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Sweden, Iceland, Liechtenstein, South Korea and Portugal), we already have a de facto unicameral state as it is -- just ask the supporters of a Triple E senate. After all, one can not argue on the one hand that the current senate is undemocratic and so contributes to the "democratic deficit" and on the other hand argue that the senate is “ineffective”. A body that adds nothing to the genuinely "effective" process can not take away anything either.


Anonymous said...

Why are we being subjected to re-runs? Especially after the site owner asked for it to be deleted and a link provided?

John Sharpe said...

Hello Bloggers,

As an alternative I asked Koby to provide a 500 word version of the topic which he did so it's all good.


Anonymous said...

Koby arises from the ashes.

After publishing your lefty opinions on crime and punishment, the long gun registry, supervised drug injections and most memorable of all, (drumroll please) the excellence and superiority of the Liberal party one could be forgiven for concluding that you are incapable of being correct on any topic.

However, athough your reasoning is typically flawed, you have somehow stumbled to a sensible result.

Yes Koby we agree, the Senate should be abolished.

Not because Parliament needs to be reformed. Convoluted thinking. It should be reformed whether or not the Senate is in place.

Not because of the compelling authority of Provincial govt's. The Feds ignore the provinces at their leisure.

It should be abolished because it's value to the country is negligible while it's bloated costs are considerable. (Not unlike other programmes favoured by Liberal types.)

Now a suspicious type might think that Liberal supporters loved the Senate while Chretein was stuffing it full of Liberals and they enjoyed a majority but now the Cons have the Senate majority so the Libs don't like it anymore.

Anyway, let's stick with the positive. Yes, we agree. Let's reduce costs and dump the Senate.

Koby said...

First the Hall monitor and now the Mad Hatter.

We all know that Mad Hatter's hero is Rondo "the facts don't Matter" Thomas. However, even then it takes special something to describe the government who introduced the biggest tax cuts and governmental cuts in Canadian history as far left wing, but the Mad Hatter did. It also takes a special something blame Chretein for "stuffing" the senate and not say anything about Harper's 34 appointments, but the Mad Hatter did.

Still I should not complain. For the first time the Mad Hatter has dared to defy Dear Leader. He calls for the senate to be abolished and not Reformed. Baby steps Mad Hatter Baby steps.

Question for you Mad Hatter. Who said this on March 25th?

"What happens in North Vancouver in 2011 will also be decided nationally. The question for Liberal supporters is will things return to where they were win 2004 and 2006 or is 2008 the norm. With the later looking more likely and Ignatieff looking set to join Dion, John Turner and Paul Martin as the fourth rider of the Liberal apocalypse, North Vancouver Liberal candidate Taleeb Normohamed could fair rather badly indeed."

Anonymous said...

Well Kobster you've got me there. No doubt about it. The Cons stuffed the pork barrel until there were actually more Cons than Libs.

My God think what a daunting task that must have been. One has to admit after years of Liberal payoffs and kickbacks that's really stuffing her full!

Point still stands that the Libs were painfully silent on abandoning the Senate and absolutely opposed to an elected Senate as long as they held the Senate majority.

Anyway, let's not quibble over trivialities. As an independent conservative not a member of any party I don't need to concur with political masters or party line (unlike others we could mention).

Let's savour the moment and agree that abolishing the Senate makes good sense and enjoy the collegial conviviality.