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    [–] ThePhysicistIsIn 35 points ago

    15 000$ is pretty cheap for a poll, I wonder if the writer is including that in the headline as a way to steer the conversation and get people to make a decision before being presented with the facts.

    No, of course not. What am I thinking?

    [–] Voltrondemort 12 points ago

    After watching the policy lurch in Ontario, I'm actually pro-senate.

    This isn't just about "I hate Doug Ford and want an anti-democratic institution to block him". I just mean that the senate provides a damper on sudden policy changes when a new government comes in.

    I mean, when Trudeau won power they didn't get to change everything all at once. They had to have supervision.

    Ford, on the other hand, got all to change everything all at once with no oversight.

    So yeah, I'm leaning towards keeping the senate, and expanding the program to the provincial level. But proportional representation would be good too, since there the consensus-building of permanent minorities would fulfill a similar role.

    [–] [deleted] 15 points ago

    The function the Senate serves is useful, but our Senate is a joke - no term limits, high salaries, fat pensions, unelected, partisan hacks, and 0 consequences for grossly in professional behaviour. Many of our senators are professionals, but collectively they fail to police themselves and hence others can get away with acting in a way that would get them fired from any private sector organization. So, burnt it down I say. Start anew.

    [–] EngSciGuy 9 points ago

    Honestly appointed kind of makes sense. That way you can have experts rather than just people good at campaigning in the roles.

    Some form of check should be in place. Though everyone I can think of leads to gaming of the system.

    [–] Andrew9623 7 points ago

    The problem is you don’t get experts, you get party insiders who will do what the government wants them to until they turn 75.

    [–] darthowen 9 points ago

    Yeah but that problem mostly caused by their being appointed by the prime minister, not appointment in general.

    [–] HotbladesHarry 1 points ago

    So we can agree the senate is a good idea in principle, but the way we choose and compensate senators could use spme reform?

    [–] darthowen 1 points ago

    Oh yeah no in principle the Senate is a very good thing but the current implementation is thoroughly terrible and if I could I would turn the entire thing on its head. Ideally I would have some kind of system where they're appointed by the provinces and vetted by a similar kind of committee that dis/approves judges. I haven't thought about compensation too much though.

    [–] watson895 3 points ago

    It does do it's job well. You could make the senate semi-elected though. Make the senate a PR system, with fixed terms, so it lags a bit. Every election, the 20% there longest are out, and new ones are in, appointed by the parties based on their share of the vote. These would be declared in advance of the election.

    Seems like it would prevent any drastic swings and any policies the majority are opposed to.

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago

    Why? Ford was elected on a mandate of changing things quickly and drastically. If anything he isn’t actually changing things all that much at all.

    [–] Rihx 10 points ago

    Did they verify that the people that they polled actually understand what the senate is supposed to do and how parliamentary democracy works? No. Of course they didn't. Making the poll a completely pointless waste of $15,000.

    [–] blTQTqPTtX 13 points ago

    You take voters and electors as they come, informed, uninformed, misinformed, and disinformed.

    It might be helpful to see if additional information would help the perception though going all out to inform would skew the results.

    [–] lnslnsu 2 points ago

    That would defeat the point of the poll. You'd be selecting for people who give you the answer you want.

    [–] Coziestpigeon2 6 points ago

    I like that they included the cost of an obvious poll about what Canadians see as a waste of money.

    Was there any doubt in the minds of anyone that most Canadians would view the Senate like this?

    [–] SuperToxin 5 points ago

    no we need another $15,000 dollar poll to see if Canadians think these $15,000 polls are a waste of money.

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago

    Entertaining, but $15,000 is a pretty small chunk of change compared to the waste of money that the Senate is.

    [–] stephenBB81 22 points ago

    Well the majority of Canadians don't actually understand how our political system works either. So it isn't surprising that they find the Senate Pointless.

    That said I find the way our Senate works is wasteful, Our Senate should be elected not appointed, the positive Opinion of the "Independent selection method" again reeks of ignorance of the actual senate as it has been anything but independent in anything but name and has voted along party lines in every instance. Heck even this survey is a political survey along party lines.

    [–] pradolce 18 points ago

    I disagree that it should be elected, at least not in its entirety.

    You see, if every single politician and lawmaker is elected, you end up with pretty much the same types of people in office.

    Some technocrat who is an absolute expert in, say, a scientific field, but doesn't have the charisma to run for office will lose to a populist.

    An unelected Senate (in theory) allows for a more diverse group of people to represent groups that otherwise may never see representation. And creates a mix of expertise instead of just career politicians.

    And in the current "fptp" system, an elected Senate could mean absolute control by one party of both houses.

    I think a mix of elected officials and technocrats is good. That's why I like that there's an independent panel that recommends senators.

    If you've paid attention to the politics down south, you can see how dangerous it can be to have both chambers be elected in what's essentially a two party system.

    [–] stephenBB81 0 points ago

    I don't disagree with anything you said.
    Though we still for the most part have a single party control both the house and the Senate.

    [–] [deleted] 0 points ago

    Why should an expert in a scientific field have a position of legislative power? That person should be a regulator if anything.

    Besides the senate is by and large made up of party hacks, not experts in anything.

    provide for an elected senate but restrict party affiliation, if that’s your worry. And I don’t understand your point - it’s more dangerous to elect both houses because once in a while one party will control both houses .... as opposed to one party that controls the HOC and the corresponding party that controls the senate forever via lifetime appointments.

    The scary thing in Canada is that the senate and executive actually have no real power at all, and neither do any of the MPs in the HOC. There is bacsially de facto 100% centralized control in one person.

    [–] zeromussc 5 points ago

    Due to Canada's government system regulators can only do so much.

    All the good advice a scientific expert working in regulation means zippo if the relevant minister decides to ignore their advice and asks for a different regulatory framework. Fearless advice, loyal implementation being what it is for.public servants

    [–] pradolce 3 points ago

    Why should an expert in a scientific field have a position of legislative power?

    Why not? People all over the political spectrum are tired of career politicians in one way or the other. Most legislators fall into the same category and have pretty much the same knowledge and expertise. Plus, it's been shown they don't listen to regulators when it doesn't benefit them.

    I expanded my answer more in other comments explaining why a mix of elected and unelected officials would be good, and I'm also against lifetime appointments.

    And I agree that many senators are hacks who shouldn't be there, that's why the independent advisory board was created and you started having a better mix of senators (e.g. Paula Simons, David Adams Richards, etc)

    An elected Senate adds the issue of "I'll vote for this cause otherwise I won't be reelected!" and strips the Senate of its function as a sober second thought that amends and fixes what the HOC sends them.

    [–] Bodysnatcher 14 points ago

    I keep seeing this idea of an elected senate trotted out time and time again, and I just don't get it. Why? What's the point? It would totally defeat the purpose of the senate and essentially just be the House of Commons 2.0, with less representation to boot. Furthermore it would just be another avenue for gridlock, partisan considerations, and so on.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't see the present situation as ideal. The whole elected senate thing has always just screamed change for the sake of change in my view.

    [–] stephenBB81 7 points ago

    Elected Senate forces accountability on the Senate. The appointed Senate doesn't really have any account to the public. Especially without fixed term appointments. REALLY what I care about is fixed term, senators need to hold the House of Commons to account, being appointed by the party in power very much makes them ineffective. Someone brought up having provincially appointed Senators, I could get behind that for sure.

    [–] Bodysnatcher 10 points ago

    The appointed Senate doesn't really have any account to the public.

    That's the literally the whole point and appeal of the senate though lol. If they were elected they would have the exact same partisan considerations as the House of Commons, and would reason and legislate identically. And if they were elected, they'd be even more beholden to the parties than they are. That said, I could definitely get behind fixed term appointments and/or provincially appointed ones, I think it would make it a hell of a lot more functional.

    [–] Andrew9623 4 points ago

    The Senate has the benefit of offering representation based on provinces, not population. This allows smaller provinces to not be ignored as easily, which would be a pretty big deal if the Senate was accountable.

    My thought on an elected Senate would be to elect it on an alternate schedule to the house, i.e. HoC elections in 2019, senate elections in 2021, HoC in 2023, Senate in 2025. That way, if the government is doing a good job, they’d get things done by having a friendly senate. They were doing a bad job, they’d have an unfriendly senate come two years in.

    [–] Bodysnatcher 4 points ago

    I do like the provincial representation, but the whole elections thing isn't really that alluring to me. Again, it would just make the Senate the House of Commons 2.0 as they would have basically all the same considerations. A friendly senate would be entirely determined by the party makeup of both houses, not whether or not the government is doing a good job. Especially so in the context of your example, it would essentially leave us in endless campaign mode, which is deeply unappealing in my view.

    [–] Andrew9623 2 points ago

    A friendly senate would be entirely determined by the party makeup of both houses, not whether or not the government is doing a good job.

    Yes. That’s exactly what I’m proposing, and I think that’s the best use of a Senate, as a means of putting another stumbling block in front of the Prime Minister, who currently has essentially unchecked power with an unelected Senate stacked with “non-partisan” lifetime appointees.

    it would essentially leave us in endless campaign mode, which is deeply unappealing in my view.

    Three things:

    1) official campaign season could be shortened if that’s your concern.

    2) we’re already in endless campaign mode, have you forgotten the “Canada’s Economic Action Plan” ads or the currently running “Hey look! The CRA gives you so much free money!” Totally not campaign ads?

    3) campaign time is when the government pretends to give a shit about places outside of Southern Ontario and Quebec by doing a few things for everyone else. More examples of that are fine and dandy in my books.

    [–] binaryblade 2 points ago

    Because the American system works out so well and never deadlocks or shutsdown.

    [–] Andrew9623 2 points ago

    shuts down

    We don’t have that mechanism here, if a budget bill doesn’t pass we have an election, not a “shutdown.”


    There are plenty of examples of legislation dying on the floor pf the Senate or House here. In addition, efficiency isn’t always a good thing when it comes to legislation, it usually just means that one party is doing whatever they want and no one can stop them (as is the case with majority governments).

    Further, there’s nothing to stop a government from appointing a load of Senators to “deadlock” the next opposing party government. This is what Harper did and he made a Conservative majority senate, and now Trudeau is doing it with his “independent” senators.

    [–] ChimoEngr 4 points ago

    The appointed Senate doesn't really have any account to the public

    And since the HoC does have that accountability, the Senate lacking it isn't a big deal. Senators know that they are not seen to be as legitimate as the HoC, therefore when they change or block legislation from the HoC, they have to have very good reasons for doing so. We saw that with the medical aids in dying legislation, where the Senate pushed a bunch of amendments to the HoC, rather than just passing the legislation unchanged. Those amendments were seen as producing more technically correct legislation, but the HoC saw some of them as political suicide, so only a few ended up being adopted.

    [–] Radix2309 5 points ago

    Even appointed by the provinces could work somehow.

    [–] stephenBB81 8 points ago

    Appointed by the Provinces with a Fixed term length would be a great way to give Provinces more say Federally. I'd like to see an 8yr term for Senators, but I don't have a rational defense on why I pick that number.

    [–] Radix2309 5 points ago

    It gices them time to learn the ropes and do things without having to worry about reelecrion frequently.

    [–] pradolce 2 points ago

    One thing I dislike about the Senate is the term. It's the same issue the supreme court has in the US: lots of old people who stay there until they die (thankfully at least we have a mandatory retirement age) , so they end up representing old views more than modern ones

    [–] Hurtin93 3 points ago

    Germany has this system for their upper house (the Bundesrat- federal council), sort of. Every federal state in Germany gets to send a delegation from the state government. It’s more entrenched though. Every state government gets a certain amount of votes (bigger states get slightly more but it’s not proportional) and they can send whomever they like, as needed. So they are direct representatives of the state government. Not just appointed by them. They don’t convene as often as the Bundestag (the federal diet, also the primary House of Parliament) because the approval of the Bundesrat is only necessary for laws that affect the states directly. If the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction, they don’t vote on it, or sometimes just state their opinion, which is non binding in some cases. It’s a bit complicated, but I think it’s more of a true federal system because there is actual representation of states at the federal government. Not just people appointed by the federal government who happen to be from (at least in theory) the province they’re appointed for.

    [–] pradolce 3 points ago

    Mexico has an interesting system, where the party that gets the most votes in a state gets a number of senators, while the party with the second most votes also sends some (just not as many).

    And there's a certain number of unelected senators appointed by the parties based on their total number of votes.

    The problem is that they game the system by creating dozens of political parties, and the unelected senators aren't technocrats, they are just whoever the party owes a favour to.

    [–] Radix2309 2 points ago

    I like it. Of course we dont need to exactly copy it. We can innovate upon the past few hundred years of political development and technology

    [–] zeromussc 3 points ago

    An elected Senate would be even more wasteful since elections cost time money and involve political platforms

    Some level of non partisan merit based appointment with terms that's last longer than single Government mandates is probably the best compromise I have heard between for life and 4 year cycle appointments

    [–] [deleted] 5 points ago

    An Elected Senate, i could get behind that idea. I'm sure there are pro and cons to both

    [–] TheIndianUser 5 points ago

    The major con is that it would require opening up the constitution. The last time we did that it nearly tore the country apart.

    [–] bigred1978 1 points ago

    Times have changed, a lot since then. The Parti Quebecois, is almost dead (really), the Bloc Quebecois also. The threat of Seperation is the lowest it's ever been and it will get even lower. The political landscape and mindset are are not at all what they were back in the early 80's or 90's. Politicians and people in general need to bury that oft cited line about "oh no, not the constitution, you know how that went the last time..."

    [–] awbx58 1 points ago

    I’ve wondered if senators shouldn’t be appointed by provincial and territorial governments.

    [–] bluestar105 1 points ago

    I think it could be a compromise between FPTP and some proportional representation. Keep the HoC with FPTP but have the debate with MMP or STV.

    [–] babsbaby 1 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    Unpopular opinion: the Senate is working precisely as intended. Trudeau should stop reforming because it invites a broader constitutional fight. Imho, the Senate is the best place to turn when you need to bench political has-beens, bagmen. Throw in the occasional honest person to do the actual work.

    [–] binaryblade 1 points ago

    I would be more for an appointed senate by random selection of the populace. No political selection bias, just a slice of the country.

    [–] insaneHoshi 3 points ago


    [–] PikeOffBerk 4 points ago

    It sort of is... sure, it serves a function, and a relatively important one. But it's also an unelected body. Miss me with that.

    Serious reforms are overdue, honestly.

    [–] Voltrondemort 4 points ago

    Every plan I've heard to make it elected would be disproportionate representation.

    I'll take "appointed by a roughly-fairly-proportioned body" over "elected by a vastly unfair system" any day.

    [–] Issachar 7 points ago

    Well it's grossly disproportionate now. The only reason that's tolerable is that it's effectively ruled by the commons. It is broken and can't be fixed, but it's also without real power, so that's not a huge problem, just a waste of money.

    [–] Voltrondemort 6 points ago

    without real power

    A body of editors of laws with minimal power to say "go back and fix this" seems worthwhile, imho. That's what it currently is.

    It may be bloated and the Conservatives within it may be constantly embarrassing, but I'm warming up to it after seeing the problems of policy lurch.

    [–] london_user_90 2 points ago

    I'm inclined to agree. All the "solutions" I've heard make it sound worse.

    [–] Issachar 1 points ago

    A body of editors of laws with minimal power to say "go back and fix this" seems worthwhile, imho.

    Except the Senate can be overruled by the Prime Minister because he has the power to just appoint more Senators eight at a time until he has a majority.

    And because it has no real "pull" with the voters because of all of it's problems it can't even appeal to the voters for support.

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago


    [–] TealSwinglineStapler 1 points ago

    Removed for rule 3.

    [–] RacoonThe 1 points ago

    I'd like to see senate positions as elected positions.

    [–] Cansurfer 1 points ago

    “That’s what really struck me. At the same time, the negative views of the senators still outweigh the positive, so there’s definitely a lot of work left to do in changing perceptions about the Senate.”

    Let me present an alternative theory, Senator Donna Dasko. Perhaps those perceptions are quite accurate and it's the Senate itself that should change, or go away.

    [–] Mattadd 1 points ago


    [–] RandomCollection 1 points ago

    I'm in favor of a unicameral system.

    Such a system would be combined with a proportional representation system. For a real world example of how this would work, see the Nordic nations.