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Simple answers to Complex Questions and Complex Answers to Simple Questions. In real life, I'm a Greater-Toronto (Canada) Realtor with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, Brokerage. I first joined RE/MAX in 1983 and was first Registered to Trade in Real Estate in Ontario in 1974. Formerly known as "Two-Finger Ramblings of a Forensic Acuitant turned Community Synthesizer"

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Senate Reform starts with Governor General

Dear Windsor Star Editor,

Re:Senate Reform: Michael Kirby's contribution.

Hooray for the Windsor Star! they're one of the few Canadian institutions that recognize the forethought involved in preparation of the BNA Act 1867's Senate to be "a bulwark against the clamour and caprice of the mob (Sir James Lougheed) and a "...a power of resistance to oppose the democratic element" ( G.E. Cartier)

In their August 31/06 Editorial, the Windsor Star identifies two of the three purposes of the Senate " ... Founding Fathers ... envisioned an institution that would provide checks and balances to the House of Commons and ensure that the PM and cabinet didn't acquire too much power. The Senate was also seen as a forum where regional interests would be able to get a fair hearing."

The third purpose - to represent the propertied class - is now oft-forgotten since the dollar amount of the Senatorial net-wealth and property-ownership qualifications (s.23 & 31) has never been adjusted-for-inflation since 1867 (and $4,000 just ain't the same thing anymore).

The Editorial continues "Without question, creating a Senate that lives up to the original vision is going to take a long time. There is no apparent will on the part of the provinces to open up the Constitution and create an elected and accountable Senate.
But change is possible, and we've long advocated a piecemeal approach to reform that would gradually lead to a more legitimate Senate."

Yes indeed, they've got it! the ORIGINAL VISION - a 4 level governance hierarchy with the Commoners on the bottom, then the property-class' Senate above them, supervised by the Privy Council that independently advises the Governor General on the use of His/Her Withhold/ Disallow/ Reserve powers and finally the Queen-in-Council ( U.K. Cabinet) with the ultimate Veto on everything Canadian.

Any legislation that got through that jungle of conflicting needs and wants MUST be a prudent and provident measure.

Perhaps you can see why Wm L M King wanted to take over the Privy Council (Order in Council P.C.1940-1121) and ensure a "Canadian" (of his own choosing) was appointed Governor General.

Party patronage (and never seasonally-adjusting the property/net-worth qualifications) undermined the Senate's credibility to double-check the Lower House's actions. Hmmm ... is that an accident?

Wm L M King usurped the power of the Governor General's advisors, placing King and his successors as virtual-appointers of Governor General and Trudeau told Canada that he'd made Canada an independent nation.

These steps ensured that all the constitutional power and powers "above" the Prime Minister Office were/are effectively nullified, either in spirit or in public perception ( but ironically NOT in law).

So Windsor Star, pick up where you finished on the Senate.

Parliamentary reform of the House, the PMO and the Senate actually starts with severing the Privy Council from the grasp of the Prime Minister, re-instating (in its original condition) the Governor General's Office and invention of a selection process to place an appropriately skilled person suitable to exercise that power in that (pen)ultimate place of authority.

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