Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent appointment of five new Conservative Senators is another reminder of why the Canadian Senate should be abolished.
An appointment to the Canadian Senate is like winning the cash for life lottery. Senators earn $132,300 a year as a base salary, serve until age 75, and last year sat in the Senate for only 69 days. The total cost for Canadian taxpayers to maintain the Senate in 2008-2009 was $90,232,000.
Senate appointments are given as rewards for past support of the Government party. As a result, the Senate is primarily made up of party bag men, organizers, hacks, and supporters who are there to push through the Government’s legislation.
The Senate is costly, useless, undemocratic, and unaccountable. The Senate is not needed to protect provincial interests which is done by the elected M.P.’s and the provincial governments. Nor do we need an elected Senate in competition with the elected House of Commons. An elected Senate would be a recipe for political gridlock as they have in the United States.
The first step to abolish the Senate would be to hold a national referendum at the same time as the next federal election. If the majority of Canadians voted to abolish the Senate, then it would be up to the federal and provincial governments to amend the Canadian constitution accordingly. It’s time for the outdated, unaccountable, patronage filled Senate to go. Brian Lynch,