Senate - a fraction of itself

Richmond Hill, Ontario - Saturday, April 21, 2007 - by: Robert Ede

Mr Cosh's April 20, 2007 column in the National Post on Bert Brown's imminent ascension to the Senate used the word fraction several times. He referred to how a constitutional safety-valve(s) can lapse into disuse and even disrepute if no one is willing to use it and also to the requirements of the office.

Notwithstanding conventional-wisdom that the Senate is patronage heaven and of no real worth, the Red Chamber is in fact constitutionally superior to the Lower House, designed to be comprised of representatives of Canada's propertied-class who faced stringent property ownership & net-worth qualifications/ disqualifications detailed in BNA 1867 ss. 23-33, a special oath (the Fifth Schedule) and who would have no pander to the current rage fear of standing for re-election.

Inflation is the Senate's problem. $4,000 of 1867 has a value of between $240,000 and $320,000 today so it's not an impossibly high standard, but would shake out the folks who should never have been appointed.

Indeed, today's Senate IS a fraction of what it should be, but seasonally-adjust-for inflation the $4,000 Senatorial property & net-worth qualifications with no grand-fathering/mothering and watch the Upper House snap to life with new blood.

If any of the provinces want to pre-select thus-qualified recommendations to the Governor General for appointment, so be it.

  Cosh, Colby, Bert Brown's red chamber, (pdf) April 20, 2007, National Post

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