Tear Down

“The more complicated the reform, the more likely provincial horse-trading and tinkering will ruin any chance for improving the system. Abolition has the best chance of passing and getting us through opening the Constitution unscathed.”

Scott Hennig, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

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UNELECTED, INEFFECTIVE, AND WOEFULLY UNEQUAL IN TERMS OF REPRESENTATION, the Senate is a thoroughly flawed institution. While almost everyone agrees that the status quo is unacceptable, a partially reformed Senate could end up being even worse than what we already have. Placing a handful of elected senators in the upper chamber (as the Harper government’s piecemeal approach would do), for instance, would embolden the unelected majority to act as if they too had the weight of democratic legitimacy behind them, which is hardly a palatable prospect.

Pros:

  • Upper chambers have been eliminated at the provincial level without consequence. Why, then, do we need one in Ottawa?
  • Genuine reform will likely require opening the Constitution, an exercise akin to lifting the lid of Pandora’s box
  • Even if serious reform were possible, there is nothing nearing a consensus among Canadians as to what an improved Senate would look like

Cons:

  • Canada would be the only federal country of consequence in the world without a bicameral legislature
  • Forestalls the possibility of having a Senate that could provide an important check in our federal system, ensuring prime ministers were more mindful of provincial priorities and sensitivities
  • Abolishing the Senate in hopes of building a better institution from scratch is a pipedream. If we abolish the Senate, it’s highly unlikely another will be created out of nothing

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WATCH SCOTT HENNIG MAKE THE CASE FOR ABOLITION:

CLICK HERE TO READ SCOTT HENNIG’S SPEECH (PDF)

WATCH DR. PETER MCCORMICK’S REBUTTAL:

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MAKE YOUR CHOICE