Musings —02.11.2013 10:08 PM—
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.