Abolish the Senate already

Staff ~ The Amherst Citizen
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Canadians far and wide have lobbied for reform to the Senate, with some calling for its members to be elected, rather than appointed by the prime minister. Let’s take that one step further and rid ourselves of the upper chamber altogether.

There is no doubt that the majority of our Senators work hard, and produce quality work for Canadians. Others have goofed off, like Andrew Thompson, who had attended only 14 meetings in seven years during the 90s, and was found by a reporter to be living in Mexico.

Senators are paid a minimum of $132,000 in salary, and receive other generous perks such as $20,000 for living quarters in Ottawa if they don’t already live there, $151,000 for “office expenses” and travel expenses that have been racked up as high as $190,000. What exactly these tax dollars are spent on is off limits to the public, because Senators and MPs have conveniently exempted themselves from such scrutiny by the auditor general.

Considering the furor that was worked up here in Nova Scotia by MLAs expensing such things as generators and MP3 players, one wonders what could be found under a few of these stones in Ottawa. Without transparency, we’ll never know how our money is spent.

All that aside, what purpose does the Senate serve? Our provincial legislatures do not have chambers of “sober second thought,” and they deal with important matters such as education and health care.

Even elected Senates would not prevent deadlocks over important legislation, as we see often in the United States when each chamber is dominated by a different party.

Our Senate is outdated, overpriced and unnecessary. It needs to go.

Geographic location: Ottawa, Mexico, Nova Scotia United States

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