Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A Bill to S - 8 my Anger

Today birthed the dawning of a sight I thought I would never see: my Hippie-Love-Shack pants coming out of their dark bureau drawer to grace my legs in the burning light of day. It is true, Dear Reader, I am Happy.
Yesterday, while I struggled for a topic, Vic suggested I use the example of the Canadian senate, a poster child for "good idea gone horribly wrong" if there ever was one, to enlighten my readers to the unfairness caused by the current senator appointment practices.

He outlined how the senate was intended, at its inception, to be a "sober second thought". Back when people were worried the thick-skulled common man would screw up the government process with his big, clumsy, working-man hands,  they reasoned the best way to avoid total dumbing-down of the state was to include a group of intellectuals as a safety valve; educated people who could be counted on to vote for the side of reason and sanity so the average pleb did not vote in a "Beer, Steak and Monster Truck Monday" bill. Despite this noble beginning the senate fell in esteem until such point that today it is largely considered a pit for people the government likes who can be trusted to vote appropriately (read: with the party that favored them). The only positive step we can take to save the senate, rather than just turf the whole institution a la Jack Layton, is to institute representation equal to each area (say, two per province) to balance out the tyranny of the majority (read: the east in Alberta, The West in Ontario) and promote equal favor for each location.

I sort of balked at the idea; I prefer the blog to stay away from being a sort of Politics 101 and assume that my Readers know what is going on in the Canadian government system enough to follow the bouncing ball of my brain (or at least ingest the vast quantities of hallucinogens that are required to follow my Herculean leaps of paranoid reasoning) . But today I hit upon a fabulous compromise; I can talk about the problems with the senate and still present novel information by talking about bill S - 8. This bill is aiming to introduce a system of election for senators where each province will be fairly represented by people from each province. Obviously simply voting in people would defeat the streamlined purpose of the senate, so the process is that the average voter can cast a ballot for a person they like, and all the votes are then sent to the Prime Minister for his recommendation for the position. A bit convoluted, but when has jury rigging a series of tubes, recommendations, and people of strange and confusion positions ever gone wrong?

The only downside to the whole process is that if we cannot convince people to come out and vote for the man running their city, it is even less likely they will come out to vote for a guy who may not even be considered to do a job they barely understand, let alone follow. Hopeful, once we badger people out to the polls enough it will become second nature to vote - then the plebliscites can begin. 

It should be going in for its second reading soon having been debated nine times, which is more times than I debated having a career as a professional money truck, but it is hard to picture the Senate approving a bill that could conceivably cause a change in the process they are comfortable with. They will certainly have to share more seats with the icky other party. We will watch this bill with interest. 

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