02.11.2013 10:08 PM

In Tuesday’s Sun: kill it now

What’s notable about Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau is that he isn’t all that notable.

In fact, he’s just one of a long line of senators who have been associated with wrongdoing, scandal and even crime.

Over the years, there have been plenty of senators who have got in trouble with the law. Brazeau is just the latest.

There have been senators charged and convicted for the usual political scandal trifecta — fraud, theft and breach of trust. There have been senators accused of obstruction of justice.

There have been senators charged with elections offences — even though they don’t really run in elections. There have been prosecutions for influence peddling. There have been investigations for spending taxpayer dollars improperly (two such investigations are underway right now, in fact).

But those sorts of things happen over on the House of Commons side of Parliament quite often, too.

Ministerial resignations, firings, MPs kicked out of caucus. It all happens, and it all happens way too often.

Corruption and law breaking — and now alleged assaults and sexual assaults — are not uniquely the purview of senators.

Members of Parliament break the law, too.

Yet, in the wake of “Senator” Patrick Brazeau’s assault and sexual assault charges, there has been a growing angry chorus demanding the Senate’s abolition.

To many, the latest raft of senatorial scandals is sufficient justification for the closure of the red chamber. The anger is understandable, but the calls for abolition are not.

If crimes, and alleged crimes, are justification for eliminating the Upper Chamber, then we should eliminate the House of Commons, too. MPs break the law more than senators do, after all

No, the Senate should be ended for another reason entirely.

It should be killed off because, in the sort of modern state we profess to be, it is an abomination. It is more than a disgrace — it is a stain on our democracy. It is toxic.

When I worked on Parliament Hill, I knew plenty of senators, of all stripes. Most of them were hard-working, decent people, who desperately wanted to serve the people. In Canada, however, nobody paid them much heed off Parliament Hill.

When some of them travelled to the United States or other countries, however, they would be treated like royalty. That’s because, when our senators are outside Canada, few non-Canadians are aware that they aren’t elected.

When you tell an American that, they are shocked. An appointed legislature? With actual power?

Any dictionary defines “democracy” in the same way. It is a system of government in which the people elect representatives to govern.

Nowhere is it defined as system where a prime minister creates a dumping ground for party hacks and bagmen. Nowhere is it defined as a system where a few get to wield power because they have cronies in power.

You know why people, in increasing numbers, don’t vote? Because they think the political system takes care of only itself. It doesn’t take care of the people.

That’s why fewer and fewer citizens vote.

And, when you look at the Senate of Canada, it’s pretty hard to blame them.

The solution, then, is simple enough.

ABOLISH IT.

21 Comments


  1. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /nfs/c05/h06/mnt/72829/domains/warrenkinsella.com/html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Stanford says:

    This guy is charged with sexual assault. I know that he’s not been convicted yet and the right winged support media (only sun news) is saying that he’s being crucified in the liberal media bla bla bla. I know that they love this senator but he’s surely guilty of something. I mean Warren you’re a lawyer and you now that we live in a civilized democracy. My meaning is that when the police charge you with something there’s a good damn chance you did it.


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      bill says:

      Innocent until charged then? Well, at least your honest about it. Timing in politics is everything, and, some luck. If Mr Harper wants a channel changer he’s got one now. Pipelines and the Economy would take a back seat to the media coverage of any government attempting to abolish the Senate.
      Timing and luck…because no ones that smart to plan this.


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      AP says:

      “My meaning is that when the police charge you with something there’s a good damn chance you did it.”

      That is most naive thing I’ve read today. Give your head a shake man.


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    Michael Reintjes says:

    Maybe you should ask Joe Fonatana?…BTW…I’ve voted Conservative in the last 3 elections and I think Brazeau is an asshole…..


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      Michael says:

      What does Joe Fontana have to do with the price of tea in China?


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    Gwyneth Robb says:

    ABOLISH IT!


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    dstm says:

    WK
    Agree totally
    Abolish it. The sooner the better


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    James Smith says:

    Provincial legislatures seem to function just fine without a second chamber.


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      Ryan says:

      Provincial legislatures do not function fine, but unicamerlism or bicameralism is irrelevant to that discussion.


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        James Smith says:

        K, what ev


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    J.W. says:

    Right James Smith. I can’t ever remember thinking “What the Ontario Government needs is a Senate.”


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    bza says:

    Right on, abolish it! Waste of public resources and its undemocratic.


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    Anne Peterson says:

    Kill it and then, maybe, revive it. How about random selection from the voters list. Two from each province for a two year term. And reasonable recompense, not royal treatment. Most Canadians would be proud and happy to serve and probably would be as smart about it as the ones in there now.


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    Anne Peterson says:

    And for heavens sakes make the process so transparent the conservatives couldn’t possibly corrupt it for their own benefit.


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    dave says:

    One o f the criticisms of proportional rep for the HoC is that local areas will lose their representation.
    If our senate is ok as an example of regional representation (Wallin, Duffy…residence and more) then surely rep by pop is ok.
    So, maybe hanging on to the the senate a while longer is ok because it is an example of how people who are not geographically connected can still represent a region…sort of like a bunch of Edmund Burkes, working not for just the constituents of Bristol, but for the whole of the realm.


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    Eric Weiss says:

    Abolish it and dump the Monarchy while we’re at it. It’s undemocratic and anachronistic.


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    Darren says:

    I like how the Yanks have it configured. One body is elected representation by population, so states with more people have more reps and the other body is the same number of representatives per state, regardless of population. If we could get our Senate to adopt that role it might be salvageable and considered more valuable for those provinces who feel the agenda is being dominated by the more populous provinces.


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      J.W. says:

      Get a grip! There are more people in Barrie than all of PEI. You don’t want that.


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    Tim says:

    The Prime Minister of the day needs to appoint better senators. So says the next leader of the Liberal party.
    Hear hear Justin Trudeau.
    It’s been called the chamber of sober second thought, and it still is despite the media muckraking.
    I’d call abolishment throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Elections are as M. Trudeau says, “a terrible idea”
    Either idea involves needless distraction and mucking about with the rules. Constitutional adjustment eludes most Prime Ministers.


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    reformatory says:

    Too bad the Liberals when they were in power for 9 years under Crouton never thought about doing anything about this.

    It’s also clear that Justin does not agree with abolishing it either.

    If Crouton did not kill it and if JT won’t kill it… then
    Houston…. we have a problem!!!!!

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