Senate reform needed for many years

I read with disappointment, Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins’ article: “Canadians support change to Senate” (Ponoka News Sept. 11).

Dear Editor:

I read with disappointment, Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins’ article: “Canadians support change to Senate” (Ponoka News Sept. 11). I am not disappointed he recognizes Canadians support change to the Senate, I’m just disappointed he has just found out about it.

Canadians have been calling out for Senate reform many years prior to the latest expenses scandal. In fact Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a proponent of a Triple E Senate (Equal, Elected, Effective) before taking office.

This begs the question whether his article was more a matter of damage control following the investigations underway for Conservative senators Patrick Duffy and Pamela Wallin?

The Senate no longer does what it was established to do, to give “sober second thought” on House of Commons legislation. How can partisan appointed senators expect to provide “sober, second thought” whilst favoring allegiance to the party that’s given them a $132,000 annual salary for a three days a week, 29 weeks a year job that requires no accountability?

The reform Canadians have been demanding may be tied up in a lot of bureaucratic red tape and rhetoric. And, although Senate appointments are not a democratically driven process, governments in power appear to appreciate having the extra card in the upper chamber to protect their interests. Until we abolish the Senate why don’t we start change by paying an honest salary for a honest day’s work. Let’s cut their salary in half. This still leaves a salary of $750 a day. Add expenses, pension plans and committee meeting payments and I’m sure these fat cats can live comfortably enough without seeking a nearby soup kitchen.

While we’re on the topic of reform, here is a novel idea: how about not paying senators for days they aren’t in the Red Chamber?

Our government has lost its way and no longer represents the majority of Canadians. Let’s start by reforming the Senate, not just continue talking about it.

Cal David

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