final test review POLS 2910.docx - FINAL TEST REVIEW...

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FINAL TEST REVIEWDemocracy is a means for the people to choose their leaders, to hold their leaders accountable for their policies and their conduct in office, and those leaders effectively represent those people’s interest in government. The law making process of the Senate is essentially the same power the House of Com-mons have. With the exception of the money bills and constitutional amendments. As well, the House of Commons can defeat a government through the means of a confidence vote. The Senate cannot do that. The Senate was to have the role of being the experienced members where they are free from political constraints and also free from short term perspectives imposed by re-relection.Problems with current Senate: The current institution of the Senate is unacceptable to most Cana-dians. Most Canadians would like to see the Senate either reformed or abolished entirely. The current Senate is unelected, and appointed by the Prime Minister, often as patronage appointments- usually as re-ward for MP’s who towed the party line well. There is much criticism that appointments by the PM make Senators very partisan and loyal to their particular party as opposed to making decisions that are necessar-ily in the best interest of the public. It is a generous reward because the salaries are considered to be quite good and a Senator can remain in office until the age of 75, with a security of tenure. However this is gen-erally seen as giving the Senator’s little motivation to act in the interests of the people, since they can be-have in many undesirable ways (like only showing up to 5% of meetings or collecting undeserving hous-ing expenses) and there is no mechanism in place for the public to hold them accountable, remove them from office or refuse to re-elect them. The make-up of the senate is also an issue, since it is not accurately representing the regions of Canada, despite that being on of the primary reasons it was created for. For ex-ample, Atlantic Canada has less than 8% of the population but almost 29% of the seats. Finally, since the Senate lacks democratic legitimacy (while simultaneously formally holding just as much power as the House of Commons), it generally avoids playing to strong of a role as the House of “Sober Second Thought”, despite this also being an important reason it was established. It cannot hold the government to account, as a check on the HoC if it is not seen as democratically legitimate.Ideally, the Senate should be reformed so that becomes a democratic institution that represents people’s interests effectively in government. The best way to do this would be through Tripe-E senate re-form, with the Senate becoming an elected body, more equal distribution of seats from the different Cana-dian regions and effective in that it could actually play a role in expressing Canadian’s regions interests inOttawa. The current reform proposal is said to include changing the tenure to a term of 9 years with the exception of Senators before 2008 who can serve until age 75.

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