Senate Reform Essay

2132 Words Oct 11th, 2010 9 Pages
On July 1st, 1867, Canada confederated into a nation and committed to uphold democracy “From Sea to Sea”. As stated in the Constitution of our nation, Canada would be governed through a Parliamentary system, with both an upper and lower house of legislature. The lower house, the House of Commons, would include elected members from across the country. Conversely, the upper house, the Senate, according to Section 24 of the Constitution Act (1867), states: “The Governor General shall… summon qualified Persons to the Senate; and… every Person so summoned shall become… a Member of the Senate.”[1] This has amounted to almost 800 Canadians being appointed to the Senate since Confederation. However, as Canadians have grown to demand transparency …show more content…
Few decline the appointment because the Prime Minister will only recommend individuals who he/she knows will accept.[9] Once appointed, Senators can remain in chamber until the retirement age of 75. However, the fact that the Senate is stacked with political appointments and anarchistic behaviour makes it undemocratic in nature, and like the lower house, should be comprised of an elected body. Without the legitimacy of election the Canadian public’s democratic rights seem to be infringed upon with no higher justification. In 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced the Senate Appointment Consultations Act, an act, if passed would have allowed the government to consult Canadians on Senate appointments. Under the act, Canadians would vote for their preferred Senatorial candidate from a list of nominees, thereafter the Prime Minister would consult the results when making appointments, ultimately achieving an elected Senate.[10] Unfortunately, this act was voted against, mainly because the senate reform was not advertised well enough for citizens to understand.[11] Nonetheless, it is still crucial to the health of democracy that the Senate become an elected body. In a twentieth-century democracy, giving appointed representatives the power to over-rule those in power through legitimate election undermines Canadian democratic principle. This is especially certain as the criteria for becoming a prospective member of the

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