Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Bravado, Bluff or Blarney?
Reform-Party Policy Visits the Senate Committee

Richmond Hill, Ontario - Friday, September 8, 2006 - by: Robert Ede

Sir, can you not READ? - or do you think WE cannot?

Anyone who supports the Prime Minister's plan to place term limits on Senators has not read the existing BNA/Constitution Acts.

Similarly, anyone who agrees with the reasons set out in the "Whereas' preamble to S-4 is displaying either truly-apolitical, benign nescience or truly-political, blatant "ignore-ance" of the Senate's BNA/Constitutional purpose and mandate.

Further, anyone who agrees that no Constitutional Amendment procedure is required is a scoundrel or fool!

I read Mr Harper's blustery "democracy" speech(Sept7) on this matter and from his comments can only deduce that either his thinking has not progressed since his days in the arrested-in-development, Reform Party, or that he is taking a so totally indefensible position constitutionally, that he is simply doing it "for public relations effect".

The Senate, one of the three elements in our "One Parliament" s.17 and one of the 4 levels of checks & balances within the hierarchical, BNA/Constitutional structure for the Executive & Legislative components of our now-called Federal government - from bottom to top: Commons, Senate, Governor General/Privy Council and Monarch-in-Council.

These 3 quotes below bear out the lack of trust that the historic 'elites' felt towards the newest and most unpredictable element in Crown-based governance.

G.E. Cartier -"to protect the regional interests and also a power of resistance to oppose the democratic element"

Sir James Lougheed - a "bulwark against the clamour and caprice of the mob"

Cicero (carved in oak frieze above the Canadian Senate Speaker's chambers) - "It is the duty of the nobles to oppose the fickleness of the multitude"

plus this more modern one

Alan MacEachen -"It is not only desirable but necessary for the Senate to act as somewhat of a check on the government"

The Senate was INTENDED to be superior to the House and its means-tested (for property-ownership & Net-worth s.23(3)(4), s.31(3)(5)) members were PURPOSELY not-elected by the same mob that elected the Lower House - why have two bunches of "I'm passing the hat for my re-election" fools! (nevermind what our cousins-to-the-south do)

The Senate was supposed to represent THAT wealthier class of Canadian voters and to spread THAT class' representation equally between the rich/dominant and not-so-rich/developing "divisions" (now-referred to as regions).

The only problem is the $4,000 dollar-amount of the Property-ownership & Net-worth qualifications was never seasonally-adjusted for inflation. (The 2006 equivalent-if-adjusted is probably $200-300,ooo)

If Mr Harper wants to update the Senate he should address this defining aspect its being.

Finally S-4 mis-cites the powers quite plainly written in the Amending Formula(e) of 1982 when it states "by virtue of section 44 ... Parliament may make laws to amend the Constitution of Canada in relation to the Senate;".

Dear Sir!! Section 44 simply stands as a contrast to Section 45. (see below)

S.44 specifies the rules regarding the General/Federal order of government and s.45 does similarly regarding the provincial order, BUT BOTH ss. 44 & 45 are explicitly subject to s.41, AND s44 is ALSO just as explicitly subject to s.42, the "2/3rds of the provinces with at least 50% of the population" provisions of section 38(1)(b).

Can you not READ, my good man? or do you think WE cannot!

Is this blarney, bluff or bravado?

It makes me wonder whether this chap's gotta-get-a-plurality-next-time personal-passion is better or worse than the last chap's bland-leading-the-blind dithering?


Procedure for amending constitution

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