Canadian Senate Essay

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Canadian Senate

Politics in all its varied forms and nuances across both the free and undemocratic world share a common feature. In all its forms, politics is complicated. This is perhaps especially so for political leaders and entities whose function has become either redundant or unclear over the centuries of their existence. In addition to the general pitfalls of corruption and ineffective leadership, some entities face becoming obsolete in the face of current needs and structures within their states. One such entity is the Canadian Senate.

Over the past decades, there have been increasing public and academic debates about the continued validity, or lack thereof, of the Canadian Senate. Indeed, if reports in recent news are to be taken at face value, there appears to have been a recent increase in the scandals and general embarrassment among members of the Canadian Senate, which have resulted in an increase in calls for abolishing the institution.

While some have debated for the reform of the Senate, there have been increasing calls for its abolishment, based on the fact that the institution is fundamentally undemocratic, has been ineffective in its leadership, and has weathered an increase in personal and financial scandals.

To examine the current functioning of the Canadian Senate, Thomas (2013) refers to its history. During the U.S. Civil War, the Fathers of the Confederation were deeply enmeshed in an attempt to not only manage the war, but also to understand and possibly discourage the mindsets and viewpoints that caused it to begin with. One of these was what Sir John A. Macdonald, one of the Fathers, believed to be "mob rule" and "presidential despotism," the explosive combination of which caused the War.

Hence, in response, the Canadian Senate was an effort to derail the evils of particularly "mob rule," or indeed democracy. To do this, certain requirements were put in place, and remain in place today for a person wishing to secure a seat in the Canadian Senate. Interestingly, one of these is to be a property owner. Originally, the justification behind this was that the "responsibility" of voting should be left to those with some education, which would lead to their ability to own property.
In this way the "dangers" associated with the "unreasoning" masses are removed from government. Hence, those who expect to lead the country effectively through their membership in the Senate must also be property owners. This remains a qualifying requirement within the Canadian Senate today (Thomas 2013). This, however, is not the only outdated element retained within the Senate. Indeed, according to Thomas (2013), the "unelected assembly" of individuals serving within the institution simply ignore commonly held democratic principles. An example of this is laws passed by a House of Commons majority being denied by the Senate.

On the other hand, when the Canadian Senate is not in the process of violating the rights of he citizens it serves, it has little to occupy its time. According to Wherry (2013), the Senate has played a far less than prominent role in Canadian politics since the centralization of power into the Prime Minister's Office. Hence, it is not only in principle that the Senate has lost its viability, but also in fact.

Overall, an increasing number of citizens are beginning to feel that the Canadian Senate is highly ineffective due to its outdated principles and modes of operation. These, however, are not the only bases cited to call for its abolishment. The Senate has a significantly less than proud history of corruption, embarrassment, and "cronyism" within its walls.

Wherry (2013), for example, makes particular note of the various embarrassments and cases of corruption within the Senate. He cites the 1930s Beauharnais scandal, which saw two Liberal senators as personal beneficiaries of a government constructed hydro dam. This trend is evident in more recent scandals as well, where Senators' personal finances as benefiting from the public purse has come under significant and public scrutiny. This has severely eroded what was left of the Senate's reputation in the public mind, and has further fueled calls for its dissolution.

Indeed, even political officials such as Premier Brad….....

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