Canadian Politics. It's not so boring.

August 04, 2005

Martin fills five vacancies in Senate

Prime Minister Paul Martin has appointed five new senators, including former Tory leadership candidate Hugh Segal and Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell.
Segal is a well-known "red" Tory and quite a smart guy. Campbell is known for his progressive stance on alleviating the harm caused my drug addiction in BC's capital. There's a really good write-up on him here. I'm not sure the Senate is a good thing but at least Martin has picked a couple of guys that well be great Senators - knowledgeable and pragmatic.

While we're on the subject of the legitimacy of the Senate, both the NDP's Ed Broadbent and Opposition Leader Stephen Harper weighed in on it. Harper wants an elected Senate (and probably equal since that was the long-time policy of the previous party) while the NDP wants to get rid of it entirely. Both positions are entirely unrealistic.

First of all, an equal Senate would be a bad thing for the more populous provinces. If it was elected then we'd be closer to the American style of government. In that system, much of the revenue is diverted to tiny states making states like Rhode Island and Hawaii quite well-off while populous states like Florida, California and New York get screwed. For these reasons, provinces like Ontario, Quebec and BC won't go along with it and amending that part of the constitution requires unanimous support from the provincial legislatures. The NDP position wouldn't be as bad an idea but is just as unlikely for the same reason. We've never had unanimous support on amending the constitution (that lasted long enough to ratify).