Untitled Essay Research Paper Canada is a

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Untitled Essay, Research Paper Canada is a country who’s future is in question. Serious political issues have recently overshadowed economic concerns. Constitutional debate over unity and Quebec’s future in the country is in the heart of every Canadian today. Continuing conflicts concerning Aboriginal self-determination and treatment are reaching the boiling point. How can Canada expect to pull herself out of this seemingly bottomless pit? Are Canadians looking at the right people to lay their blame? In the 1992 Referendum, “The Charlottetown Accord” addressed all of these issues, giving Canadians the opportunity to finally let the dead horse be – but oh, if it were that simple. A red faced Brian Mulroney pontificated that a vote against the accord would be one

against Canada. Canadians would essentially be expressing the desire for Quebec to remain excluded from the constitution. How could the Right-Honorable Mulroney expect anyone to vote on a document that contained so much more than simply the issue of Quebec sovereignty? Ironically, hidden deep within “The Charlottetown Accord,” was the opportunity for Canadians to make a difference; to change the way the government ran, giving less power to the politicians and more to the people. This was the issue of Senate Reform. Why is Senate Reform such an important issue? An argument could be made that a political body, which has survived over one hundred years in Canada, must obviously work, or it would have already been reformed. This is simply not true, and this becomes apparent when

analyzing the current Canadian Senate. In its inception, the Senate was designed to play an important role in the Government of Canada, representing various regions of the federation. Quebec, Ontario, the maritimes and the west were allotted twenty-four Senators each. Considered to be the heart of the federal system, the Senate was to be a crucial balancing mechanism between Upper and Lower Canada (Mallory pg. 247). It was important for there to be equal representation, and not representation by population. Senators were to be appointed, in order to ensure that the House was independent and had the freedom to act on its own. As well, Senators had to be seen as a conservative restraint on the young, the impressionable, and the impulsive in the House of Commons (Van Loon and

Whittington pg. 625). They therefore had to be over thirty years old and own property exceeding four thousand dollars in the province they represented. This idea was called ’second sober thought.’ As this independent, intellectual body, the Senate’s main function was to ensure that all power did not come from one source. In theory, this prevented a dictatorial government, since any action (such as the passing of a Bill into law) had to receive the ‘O.K.’ from the Senate. This was protecting Canada’s democracy. In 1949, six addition seats were given to Newfoundland, and in 1975, two more seats were added to give the Northwest Territories and the Yukon representation; a total of 104 Senators. Over 100 years later, it is clear that the Canadian Senate does serve the

function for which it had originally been designed. In fact, it is flawed in many ways. Firstly, the Senate does not have a voice to set the priorities for the Cabinet, and it lacks the expertise to handle policy making. Secondly, since the party in power appoints Senators when vacancies occur, the tendency has been to appoint people with connections to that party. This means that the Senate is neither representative of all ideologies nor reflective of the people’s interest. No member of the Senate, for example, reflects the New Democratic Party’s view, since that party has never been in power. Therefore that portion of Canada who supports the NDP is certainly not represented. How legitimate is the Senate when its members are appointed and not elected? Thirdly, the Senate is