Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Yes, but...

The Governor General shall from Time to Time, in the Queen's Name, by Instrument under the Great Seal of Canada, summon qualified Persons to the Senate; and, subject to the Provisions of this Act, every Person so summoned shall become and be a Member of the Senate and a Senator.
At the moment, this means Senators are appointed merely at the whim of the PM (subject to the meager age and property requirements). What is to stop he or she from instituting any type of additional procedure prior to selection, signifying to the public a willingness to bound by the results? Consult the provinces and electorate, of course and by all means, but then make a choice and stick to it throughout your term. Future PMs won't be bound, obviously, but if the public supports the changes, reversing them would carry significant political cost. In short, attempt to establish a Constitutional convention on appointing individuals to the Senate. Such appointments could even be governed by conventional limits, etc...

Critics might say that this is playing fast and loose with our Constitution. The point is - virtually everyone would see any change to the current unaccountable mess as progress of some sort. Klein, Charest, et al. may not agree completely with a new system, but they would likely be happy to take any improvements, non?

And so, back to my original criticism of Martin in March. In all, he had 16 appointments at his disposal. We all know convention is strenghtened most by use. Hence, an opportunity lost that is attributable to him alone. And that's really all I have to say for now on the Senate.

What's next? This glaring headline. McNair, long proponent of the mergers, I'd like to hear your case. Cooper, long absent from Ahab's Whale, I'd just like to hear that all is well.


Blogger Mike McNair said...

NDP is seeing the light!

5:04 AM  

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