Friday, August 28, 2009

A modest proposal for Senate reform

All this news about Prime Minister Harper's Senate appointments has once again triggered talk as to how we can reform the Upper House.

And one idea which keeps popping up is that Senators should be elected.

But alas it seems there are too many political and constitutional obstacles to making the Senate more democratic.

Does this mean we should give up?

Of course not. It just means we need to be more imaginative.

Luckily I have a wonderful imagination and after giving the idea serious thought for about five seconds, I have come up with a great way to reform the Senate: What if the Prime Minister selected Senators by pulling names of Canadians at random out of a hat?

I'm serious!

Every Canadian eligible to vote would be a potential candidate. (Admittedly this will require one very large hat.)

Not only would this end the odious practice of making patronage appointments, but it would provide the basis for a great new reality TV show: "Canada's Next Senator".

Imagine the excitement as names were selected on national television; every citizen would be glued to their set wondering if they will win the Senate appointment, meaning they would get a "job" for life and a wonderful salary and tons of perks.

Now you're probably saying to yourself: "Gerry you are admittedly a top political mind, but won't your idea mean unqualified people could enter the Senate?"

To which I reply, the only qualification needed to be a Senator is that you can efficiently and effectively do nothing.

My dog is qualified to be a Senator.

Besides there's a precedent. The ancient Greeks chose political leaders by lot, and they invented democracy, right before they invented the gyro.

And by the way, this proposal of mine has nothing to do with any disappointment on my part that I wasn't named to the Senate -- even though let's be honest, I would have made an excellent Senator.


paulm said...

I like the idea, but the names in the hate should only consist of people who voted in the previous election.

That way it also encourages more people to vote!

Kadam said...

Honestly, I don't really see an issue with voters being in a hat to become Senators. Its sort of arbitrary as it is, and no longer could the PM be blamed for patronage.

"the only qualification needed to be a Senator is that you can efficiently and effectively do nothing."

"even though let's be honest, I would have made an excellent Senator."

That made me laugh out loud. Can't wait for the next one, Gerry. And oh yes, loved you book, read it straight through in one day(Maybe the next one needs to be longer), and thank you for opening my eyes to that is around me.

Skinny Dipper said...

I once accidently enumerated a dog for a federal election. I had to tell the owner that I had to scratch the dog's name off the list. The dog wasn't at least 18 years of age (in both human and dog years).

I wouldn't trust the PM pulling names out of a hat. He probably has a few up his sleave. Besides, should the GG be pulling names?

Anonymous said...

I want elected senators and MORE involvement from them.

I want a US style senate to stop Ontario from mowing over Alberta.

Also you can't be a senator, we need you to eventually be the leader of the Conservative party.

Let's face it Harper ain't going to be doing that for much longer.

Anonymous said...

Nah get the Queen to pull the names. It'd be ratings gold!

Farmer Joe said...

Draw their names out of a hat?


All new Senators should be chosen through curling bonspiels.

Kadam said...

Was going to say that's hardly fair for those east of Winnipeg, but then again, why not. After all, those west of that point have been screaming not fair on this issue for years. Wonder how the shoe pinches on the other foot