Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Most Representative Senate Ever

Yesterday marked the day when full majority control of Canada's Senate is given to the Conservatives, as two new Senators have been appointed by our dear populist Prime Minister - former Alouettes President Larry Smith, and pastor (and former Conservative candidate) Donald Meredith, who will represent Quebec and Ontario respectively. This now brings the Senate count to 54 Conservatives, 46 Liberals, 4 Independents/PCers, and 1 guy who's been barred from the place. It will likely remain this way for awhile longer, as there are no more retirements expected until May 2011. But Harper has a majority, now - and what a majority it is.

I remember back when the Conservatives started appointing all those Senators, during the Coalition Crisis. I remember one Conservative apologist telling me how the Conservatives having control of the Senate would "be more representative," and later on, how having that Conservative minority in the Senate would "reflect the House of Commons," and make things right in the world. After all, with a Conservative minority in one house, it makes sense to have the same in another.

But now we've come to outright-majority territory for the Conservatives, bringing Harper's total to 37 appointed Senators, in just over two years. That Senate reform platform sure burned up pretty damn quickly, no?

What's even more amusing is the actual composition of the Senate by province. Here's just how representative it is:

Now, how's that for accurately representing the electorate? Tory majorities in Quebec (where they only have 10 seats), Ontario (where they have just under a majority of the seats), PEI (where Liberals control 3 of the 4 seats in the House), Nova Scotia (where they have four seats), and Newfoundland (where they have none). I think the Quebec one has to be the funniest.

That is, unless you look over to Alberta, where the Liberals control the majority of the Senate seats(!). Now, I love Senator Mitchell and others, but it's just so out of whack. It's amusing, to be sure (how's that for sticking it to the Conservatives?), but it isn't right.

But, the likelihood of any meaningful Senate reform in the future is unlikely, even with a Prime Minister who was supposedly very dedicated to it. Even Ignatieff's Senate proposals, while an improvement, aren't a step in the right direction. We need a democratized Senate, not a partisan playground.


  1. Sadly, none of the senators represent us citizens of Canada because none of them were directly elected by us. Harper's phony Senate reform proposal would still mean that none of the senators would represent the citizens of Canada.

  2. Exactly. Harper speaks platitudes but he makes no real step forward in solving the issue. It's a sad day when the Triple-E spouting former Alliance head can't even make a proper proposal for Senate reform.