Midterm 2 Lectures.docx - TOPIC 5 \u2013 THE SENATE PURPOSE AND POWERS OF THE SENATE 1860s the Fathers of Confederation felt it advisable to provide an

Midterm 2 Lectures.docx - TOPIC 5 u2013 THE SENATE PURPOSE...

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TOPIC 5 – THE SENATE PURPOSE AND POWERS OF THE SENATE - 1860s the Fathers of Confederation felt it advisable to provide an appointed body that would exercise “sober second thought” - Senate became the equivalent to the British House of Lords o Conservative influence o Minimum age of 30 o Appointment for life o High property qualifications - Initial roles and functions o Protect the wealthy minority John A. Macdonald argued that the rich were always fewer in number than the poor o Represent their own regional and provincial interests Based on equal regional representation (compromise between equal provincial representation and the principle of representation by population) o Review bills Part of the concept of sober second thought Improve legislation from a technical point Act as a non-ideological, routine revising chamber Become one of the Senate’s most important role over the years - The Senates equal to the HoC except o Only suspensive veto on constitutional amendments Can delay for 180 days If the upper house hasn’t approved such an amendment, then it can be re- passed by the Commons and bypass the Senate in the process of ratification Previously given veto over all legislation but this power was reduced in the 1982 Constitution Act o Money bills can’t be introduced in the Senate Legislation involving the raising or spending of money Had to be introduced in the lower chamber but could be amended in the Senate Amendments could not increase taxes or expenditures This was the only point of inferiority to the Commons o Speaker is chosen by the PM o No role under the Clarity Act on referendum question COMPOSITION OF THE SENATE - Section 24 of 1867 Constitution Act: gives the governor general the power to appoint senators, but by convention this is done on the “advice” of the PM - PM have usually chosen partisan supporters, such as: o defeated MPs or candidates
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o those who have served the party organization well, retired premiers or other provincial politicians seen as a reward for businessmen’s contribution to the party war chest o federal Cabinet ministers who have outlives their usefulness image of the Senate was set as a “home for the aged” and a “pension scheme for retired party warriors” - Almost all of those appointed could be called “party hacks” - Positive: senators could be seen as possessing valuable political experience - Many appointments were made on the assumption that the new senator would continue to promote the party in the future o Could never completely be non-partisan as a result of excess party discipline - Not representative of population size o PEI has 4 senators while BC has 6 - Not representative of population interests o Result of ideological opposition to the concept of an appointed chamber, left-wing groups have refused the occasional offer of appointment o Leaves labour and working-class underrepresented -
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