Why the province doesn’t want the Senate abolished

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The federal Conservative party has asked the Supreme Court of Canada for guidance as to what it can do to reform the Canadian Senate or abolish it all together.

The provinces have made submissions to the Supreme Court on this matter. Our provincial government has made a submission. Sad to say, but not surprising, the provincial government is looking out for its own best interests and not the people’s best interests.

To abolish the Senate, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador states, the unanimous  approval of all the provinces would be required — the federal government can’t do it on its own. But the reasons it gives to support this view are simply without merit. Of course the federal government should be able to do it on its own.

The Senate originated as an undemocratic institution forced on us by a paternalistic British government which thought it knew better than the colonials of the time. Just as a matter of principle, to have an appointed institution making laws for Canadians is an affront that must be done away with.

Of course politicians, like those in our current provincial government, favour the Senate because of the money to be made if appointed or to be used as a reward for party faithful. The ordinary citizen need not think they will ever be appointed — no, the politicians just make sure the common citizens pay for all the perks, salaries and pensions of the senators. For ordinary citizens, we get all the expenses, legal or otherwise, of the undemocratic Senate, but no benefits, not one.

I must point out that the federal NDP is in favour of the abolition of the Senate, just like all fair-minded adults. And, to be perfectly honest, it should be pointed out there are no NDP politicians in the Senate.

Doug Smith

Grand Falls-Windsor

Organizations: Supreme Court of Canada, Canadian Senate

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Doug Smith
    September 16, 2013 - 16:22

    Pierre Neary, give me one example of how the senate ever did something for NL. I also see you are a fan of Mr. Trudeau, the son of NL’s greatest enemy. Mr. Neary you are on the wrong side of history. Perhaps you should take up gardening. Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

  • Doug Smith
    September 16, 2013 - 16:11

    Cashin Delaney, you seem, from what you have written, to belong to the sad group of citizens that want others to tell them what to do. You and your ilk maybe happy behaving like sheep but I don’t want members from any appointed body; senate, privy council, judges, etc. making any laws governing me. Your kind would do well to break away from your mother’s apron strings and think for yourself. I’m a fan of no political party, the NDP happen to be right on their stand regarding the senate and therefore should be applauded in this instance for their steadfast defence of democratic values. Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

  • Doug Smith
    September 14, 2013 - 15:14

    Fact Checker, actually there are still no NDP members in the senate. Ms. Dyck joined the Liberal Senate caucus in 2009. If Ms. Dyck was a true member of the NDP she would have refused the offer of joining the senate. However, she is a smart woman, and the benefits of being a senator were too good to pass up, I guess.

  • Doug Smith
    September 14, 2013 - 14:55

    Maurice, you are obviously having difficulty with the true meaning of democracy, where the people choose their leaders. An appointed body of law makers, such as the Canadian senate is really anathema to democracy. From your comments it seems you would be more comfortable with, a monarchy, commission of government, dictatorship, or some other paternalistic form of government. As regards your fear of the “tyranny of the majority”, the only legitimate counterweight is a well educated populace. We the people do not need some appointed body of condescending political hacks looking after us. Remember , Canada did not fight for its freedom from Britain as the Americans did, it was thrust upon us and remember NL gave up its nationhood to be ruled by the commission of government. So your fear of full blown democracy does have a basis in history but you are out of step with the times. Finally, your contention that the demise of the senate would result in a diminishing of NL influence in Ottawa is plain nonsense. The most important event in NL history since joining Canada was the control of the offshore oil resources. The NL supreme court ruled against NL , as did the Canadian supreme court. The NL senators did nothing. It was the elected politicians that gave NL the offshore oil. Brighten up Maurice. Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

  • Doug Smith
    September 14, 2013 - 14:55

    Maurice, you are obviously having difficulty with the true meaning of democracy, where the people choose their leaders. An appointed body of law makers, such as the Canadian senate is really anathema to democracy. From your comments it seems you would be more comfortable with, a monarchy, commission of government, dictatorship, or some other paternalistic form of government. As regards your fear of the “tyranny of the majority”, the only legitimate counterweight is a well educated populace. We the people do not need some appointed body of condescending political hacks looking after us. Remember , Canada did not fight for its freedom from Britain as the Americans did, it was thrust upon us and remember NL gave up its nationhood to be ruled by the commission of government. So your fear of full blown democracy does have a basis in history but you are out of step with the times. Finally, your contention that the demise of the senate would result in a diminishing of NL influence in Ottawa is plain nonsense. The most important event in NL history since joining Canada was the control of the offshore oil resources. The NL supreme court ruled against NL , as did the Canadian supreme court. The NL senators did nothing. It was the elected politicians that gave NL the offshore oil. Brighten up Maurice. Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

  • Doug Smith
    September 14, 2013 - 14:54

    Maurice, you are obviously having difficulty with the true meaning of democracy, where the people choose their leaders. An appointed body of law makers, such as the Canadian senate is really anathema to democracy. From your comments it seems you would be more comfortable with, a monarchy, commission of government, dictatorship, or some other paternalistic form of government. As regards your fear of the “tyranny of the majority”, the only legitimate counterweight is a well educated populace. We the people do not need some appointed body of condescending political hacks looking after us. Remember , Canada did not fight for its freedom from Britain as the Americans did, it was thrust upon us and remember NL gave up its nationhood to be ruled by the commission of government. So your fear of full blown democracy does have a basis in history but you are out of step with the times. Finally, your contention that the demise of the senate would result in a diminishing of NL influence in Ottawa is plain nonsense. The most important event in NL history since joining Canada was the control of the offshore oil resources. The NL supreme court ruled against NL , as did the Canadian supreme court. The NL senators did nothing. It was the elected politicians that gave NL the offshore oil. Brighten up Maurice. Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

  • Pierre Neary
    September 14, 2013 - 14:33

    Abolishing the senate would absolutely be detrimental to this province. I will agree reform is desperately needed. Mr. Trudeau has been leading the charge so far.

  • Doug Smith
    September 14, 2013 - 13:49

    Joe, what is your point? No wait now, you have no point. As regards the appointment of judges, that is also something that needs changing. How many judges from NL are on the Supreme Court of Canada? None, never has been! Joe, that is what happens when you give up democratic principles, you get what some snob gives you and in this case the snobs from Upper Canada have decided to give NL nothing. One final point Joe, democracy needs people to stand up for democratic principles and not hide away when they are challenged. If you can some how find the courage to sign your name to your comments perhaps then you will become a believer in democracy rather than paternalism. Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

  • Doug Smith
    September 14, 2013 - 13:48

    Joe, what is your point? No wait now, you have no point. As regards the appointment of judges, that is also something that needs changing. How many judges from NL are on the Supreme Court of Canada? None, never has been! Joe, that is what happens when you give up democratic principles, you get what some snob gives you and in this case the snobs from Upper Canada have decided to give NL nothing. One final point Joe, democracy needs people to stand up for democratic principles and not hide away when they are challenged. If you can some how find the courage to sign your name to your comments perhaps then you will become a believer in democracy rather than paternalism. Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

  • Cashin Delaney
    September 14, 2013 - 11:53

    Senile is derived from the same Latin root as senate. Body of Elders. This is also the root of First Nations governance. In Roman, Celtic or our own native culture there are certain prerequisites to being classified as fit for the Elder Council. If we abolish the council of elders in Canada, our Senate, then we strengthen the powers of the other governing entities. Should we elect a National Socialist government, abolish the Senate, thereby strengthening the Judiciary and Privy Council? Yes Doug Smith, Harper must go. Speaking for all fair-minded adults is a great responsibility that he has failed at, but I doubt you, or the NDP can pull this off either. An NDP government cannot be any worse than a Con or Lib one, but I fail to see the logic in burning the barn to punish a few spendthrift pigs. If you wish to reform the Canadian political landscape with a fantasy letter to the editor, why not go whole hog and call for the Privy Council, or Supreme Court to fold tent based on some of their questionable conduct. Abolish the senate and look to Kings and Druids for democracy? Senility now!

  • Joe
    September 14, 2013 - 09:31

    Wow and all this came from two seconds of thought. No wait now, on second thought this is the result of no thought at all. By the way judges are appointed in the same way.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    September 14, 2013 - 08:52

    Doug, you are certainly aware of that in a democratic nation, if there is no counterweight, then there can very well be the "tyranny of the majority". This province has only 7 seats out of around 338 in the House of Commons (2%) --- mathematically almost no influence. Whereas, in the Senate, we have 6 out just over 100 (about 6%) --- mathematically, three times what we should have according to our population. Loss of the Senate would further weaken this province's influence in Ottawa, and should never be permitted without our provincial government's consent.

  • Fact Checker
    September 14, 2013 - 08:23

    Actually, there are NDP politicans in the Senate such as Lillian Dyck. She calls herself an "Independant NDP" as the party kicked her out on paper for being a Senator. However, the pary still enjots the trappings of her office.