|This man is sometimes angry. And he has a beard. And he makes the MoS angry. And I don't think the MoS has a beard|
The "House of Sober, Second Thought" was based on the inherently undemocratic British House of Lords. In that place, members of the aristocracy had the power to nullify any legislation from the elected House of Commons that was felt damaging to the aristocracy's interests. It was famously described by British minister David Lloyd George thusly:
At Newcastle in October he told a riveted audience that ‘a fully equipped duke costs as much to keep as two dreadnoughts and they are just as great a terror – and they last longer’, and was asked if it could be right that the Lords, ‘500 men, ordinary men chosen accidentally from among the unemployed’, should override the judgement of millions of hardworking people.As an UNELECTED AND APPOINTED body, one that was initially more elitist than the House of Commons, and one which only served to allow past governments (including defeated governments) to block or thwart the will of present governments, the NDP has long felt that the Senate should be abolished.
To hear Liberals speak of it though, no country can survive with a unicameral legislature. Abolish the Senate, they say, and Canada would soon descend into the chaos of Canadian provincial politics.
But wait! There's this political "expert" who tells us that it's unconstitutional to reform the Constitution.
Partly it's our history with this stuff. We haven't had a very great record in dealing with this. The one big success in 1982 brought us the Charter of Rights, but it arguably led to the near breakup of the country in 1995 because we generated this myth that Quebec was betrayed in 1982. We spent all of the 80s and early 90s trying to get new constitutional reform and they all failed, including the Charlottetown Accord referendum, and it actually causes strain on the federation to engage in these processes and it's actually regarded by some people as unfortunate.Or something like that.
But wait! There's the fact of Tom Mulcair's stated desire to simply impose abolition of the Senate by personal fiat and to fucking HELL with the Supreme Court and the provinces!!!
MULCAIR: I'm not going to subcontract that one. It will be my job as prime minister to open up conversations with the provincial premiers, as I've already started to do. But you're right, like most Canadians I didn't spent a lot of time – I mean when I studied political science, thought a little bit about the Senate. Didn't find it very useful but it was not something that kept me awake at night. The day that group of unelected officials – now some of them are good individuals – I'm not taking that away from them – but Mr. Harper has had a habit of naming defeated candidates and party bag men and other officials to the Senate. The day, Peter, that they had the temerity to reverse legislation on climate change that Jack Layton had – successfully had adopted by the elected people in the House of Commons, it made me realize that it is time for us to get that changed. Now I know it's difficult. But when I was in provincial politics in Quebec, we changed something that was as relic of the 1860s in the Constitution which was religion based school boards. And we changed them. We changed them to language based boards which were more adapted. We had to get the National Assembly to agree on it and I was part of that, even though I was in Opposition. A lot of hard work with the English speaking community. We worked hard to get it through the House of Commons and the Senate and we got the Constitution changed. Now fair enough, it's one province and it's one subject. But to say that it can't be done, as others would have you believe, is to say that we're stuck with this relic of our British colonial past. I don't agree with that.Or, well, er, something like that.
MANSBRIDGE: BUT IS IT A PRIORITY?MULCAIR: Well it's a priority to the extent that I won a mandate for it on October 19 a priority to the extent that I will make the effort to continue to meet with the premiers and I know how tough it's going to be. But we go after these jobs because all the easy things have already been done.
Or maybe it's just the case that Liberal hacks (including those who are of such sterling moral calibre that they'll be voting for the Liberal Party's poodle, Elizabeth May's Green Party and NOT the Liberals) are just looking for any idiotic excuse to trash their rival on the left?
Speaking of idiotic excuses to trash rivals on the left; I find it thoroughly disheartening that the NDP would side with the harpercons against Justin Trudeau's statements that he isn't afraid to run deficits to pay for some necessary things. I get that the NDP gets unfairly crucified (as opposed to "fairly" crucified) for its deficits, and that Mulcair would have to campaign on balanced budgets even if he wasn't a closet Thatcherite, but they should come up with more original, and less hypocritical criticisms of Trudeau than that.
Also, this idiocy that Trudeau is smearing genuine small businesses when he says that a lot of rich people incorporate themselves as a small business to save at tax time, is worse. Trudeau was simply telling the truth. And a lot of small business people are even bigger right-wing assholes than the corporate-fucks.
But I have never had a great deal of admiration for Canada's political culture when it comes to issues of class, economics, or foreign affairs. The important thing is to stop our downward moral/cultural/democratic trajectory by stopping harper.