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Tuesday, November 18, 2008 

'Democratic Reform' Nonsense From Stephen Harper And Premier Wall


"The Saskatchewan government has introduced legislation that would let people select who they want to represent them in the Senate."
CBC Saskatchewan

"The Conservative government is applauding Saskatchewan's new Senate election legislation but can't guarantee Prime Minister Stephen Harper won't appoint a new senator from the province before the Senate vote is ever held, according to the federal minister of state for democratic reform."
Regina Leader-Post

Saskatchewan's new right wing Premier is already laying the groundwork to murky the waters for the next provincial election. When Saskatchewan residents go to the polls to pick a new government in 2011, they will likely also be handed other ballots to select a new Senator and to vote on whether or not Saskatchewan should observe daylight savings time.

Both Stephen Harper and the Saskatchewan Party have old, deep roots in Preston Manning's defunct Reform Party. Both have sizable 'Reform' blocs in their respective party and must find ways to appease them.

Out of the hat comes the old right wing 'rabbit' of .... democratic reform! Except that for poor old Brad Wall, his timing is off and Harper has his own problems!!

Harper's commitment to democratic reform isn't as much a priority as is his need to fill the Senate up with fat, lazy, cranky, smelly old Tories who will move his Bills through in quick fashion!


Wall's timing couldn't be worse. Harper's tactics couldn't be more transparent.

Buckdog, I like your description of the Conservative Senate Caucus. "to fill the Senate up with fat, lazy, cranky, smelly old Tories"

I don't think anyone has ever described them as well. In fact, by looking across the floor at the Liberal Senate Caucus, you could probably use the same wording. "fat, lazy, cranky, smelly old Liberals"

While I doubt whatever Harper proposes should be done to reform the Senate, I do applaud Wall for putting legislation forward to have Saskatchewan elect their Senators-in-waiting, to be selected by the PM.

It's the same thing done in Alberta, but the problem there is that only candidates belonging to the Alberta Progressive Conservative Association stand to be elected. If Alberta Liberals and Alberta NDP candidates were on the slate, it would give the process more legitimacy - something opposition parties foolishly boycotted to successfully undermine the importance of Senate democracy and provincial Senate elections are the beginnings of true grassroots reform movement.

Who knows, maybe a slate of 4 Senators-in-waiting could hold 3 Dippers and 1 Sask Party member? To one-up the Alberta system, Saskatchewan Senators in Waiting should be elected by preferential ballot and the top 4 (or 5 or whatever) are signaled to the PM for appointment by the electorate's preference. Therefore, it would embarrass the PM from appointing partisans mixed up if an opposition senator-in-waiting ranked ahead of his selection.

Sounds good, no?

Before we try for some kind of democratic reform in the Senate or abolition of it, let's reform the House of Commons by making it more democratic with elections by PR. Unfortunately, Harper is not one to include democratic participation by his MPs, the media, and Canadian public in general. He's a one-man show.

Leftdog,

Now while you may want to debate exactly how the Senators are elected, I really can not understand why a NDP supporter, such as yourself, would disagree with an elected Senate when an elected Senate is one of the first items the CCF put in the Regina Manifesto.
I thought you and I would agree on this one.

I firmly believe in the Triple 'A' Senate: Abolish - Abolish - Abolish!

My mistake, you're right, the CCF wanted to abolish the Senate, not reform it.
It has been a while since I read The Regina Manifesto.

No prob. Social Democrats have been pretty consistent over the last 80 years with their position on abolishing the Senate.

"My mistake, you're right, the CCF wanted to abolish the Senate, not reform it.
It has been a while since I read The Regina Manifesto."

And as per the Manifesto, the Dipper must yield his personal opinion to the official party line. Yeesh!

Dylan ... that is absolute nonsense! I certainly hope that your tongue was in your cheek when you wrote that!!!

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