There has been a lot of talk lately about reforming or abolishing the Senate in Canada. ( Where lately can be described as for the last 100 years or so) but the dumbest idea of them all comes from senator himself. Senator Hugh Segal.
Senator Segal suggests the whole idea of Senate abolition be put to the Canadian people in the form of a referendum.
This very idea shows why the senate should be abolished as Segal himself shows through his suggestion he has joined the long list of Senators who have lost their minds once they have entered the chamber.
In the early nineties I was an activist helping promote the document known as the Charlottetown Accord. I had the good fortune of getting my education on the document from Constitutional law expert and now Saskatchewan Chief Justice Robert G. Richards. Justice Richards ( A Liberal representative I might add) reviewed the document and gave it is seal of approval.
I was the tri party camapign manager entrusted with getting the team together from all supporting parties in the riding of Regina Wascana. Our riding was one of only two that voted in favor of the accord.
The problem with the result wasn’t that the accord was defeated but rather why it was defeated in the referendum.
If you recall during the period it was then Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney who led the charge.
I has serious and educational discussions with several of the major players in this exercise and one I throughly enjoy red the most was an interesting discussion I has on the way to the airport with former Prime Minister Joe Clark.
Clark had been through Regina and had just given one of his better speeches and I asked him the question of what he thought the outcome of the referendum would be. ( This was before the process had gotten very far along ). He told me in confidence that he thought we were going to lose.
I asked him why and told him that I thought the accord was great. He agreed and said the people won’t vote for or against the idea of the accord. They will vote to give Mulroney and the government a serious ‘poke in the eye”.
The night Mulroney gave the speech where he ripped the papers above his head to signify Canada being ripped apart,I gave thought to what Clark had told me.
When the results came in it was obvious why the accord lost,the people had ganged up on Mulroney and poked him square in the eye as Clark said they would.
This leads me back to Segal’s dumb idea.
With all the current goings on in the senate having a referendum will result not only in the current government getting poked in the eye but I would hazard a guess that that poke would be followed by a swift kick where it hurts the most.
The country would miss another golden opportunity to clean up the mess.
We can ill afford that!